Swearing, Farting, And Other Things I've Taught My Kids

by Jess Johnston
Jess Johnston

I had grand plans for the things I would teach my kids. I would teach them confidence, kindness, and a love for great books. I am still working on that, but in the meantime, I’ve taught them some other gems…


Yesterday on our way to church, my oldest son realized he’d forgotten something at home and hollered out a perfectly timed swear word. My husband and I looked at each other. I didn’t know whether to be stern or a little proud.

Husband: What?!

Kid: What?

Husband: What did you say?

Kid: What?

We do not have a swear jar in our family because I still need to be able to afford Costco runs and lattes. We don’t call them “bad words.” We call them “adult words” because swearing is an awesome perk of being a grown-up: wine, no bedtime, and swearing. I try to keep these words to myself, but one never knows when one will hit one’s head on a cupboard or get cut off in traffic.

I grew up in a conservative home where there was zero swearing. This resulted in pretty bad swearing anxiety for me in junior high. Like, how do you just slip in those words so nonchalantly? I had zero cursing chill. I’d do my best to drop a D-bomb whenever I could, but my friends would still say I never swore. Did they even know how hard I was trying?!

That will not be my kids’ future. Nope. They are being groomed for a very non-awkward transition into adulthood. You’re welcome, kids. When I do overhear them, I will raise my eyebrows and say, “Where did you hear that?!” And they will be all “Mom, come on.”


When I met my husband, he was thrown off by the fact that I never passed gas around him. I just knew in my heart he wasn’t ready for that. When I did finally break the barrier, he was horrified and has been wishing I would stop ever since. What did he think it would smell like, a field of daisies?

Growing up in my family, “toots” belonged in the bathroom only. I don’t think I was created for that lifestyle, mostly because of stomachaches. I’ve been becoming more and more free ever since.

Recently I was in a Ross and decided to let one out in the children’s clothing aisle. I calculated that it was a silent one.

It was not.

It rang like a siren through the store, echoing off of the walls with such force that I wanted to melt into the clearance rack. I panicked, then a moment of clarity.

My sweet 3-year-old was looking through the dresses. I bent down and said loudly, “Oh sweetie, do you need to go potty?”

It was not a proud moment for me.

But there are a few perks to motherhood, and this is one of them.

The point is, we are a free-form farting family. My kids have zero gas shame, which is really only a problem on road trips and in church.


I’m not what you might call a good dancer, but what I lack in skill, I make up for in passion. If my song comes on, it really doesn’t matter where I’m at — I gotta move, and the kids are the same way. We will spontaneously break out into dance in the car, in the grocery store, at the gas station, and on the sidewalk. It’s kind of like a flash mob, except the uncoordinated version.

My oldest son is the exception. He still thinks wrestling is the same as dancing, so he just starts attacking his brother and his brother starts yelling (that’s fun). He’s going to love mosh pits.


Sometimes I react and my brain catches up 30 seconds later. That results in saying sorry a lot. I used to feel bad about that until one time I overheard my two middle kids in the other room getting ready for school.

Him: Oaklee, move! You’re in the way!


Sorry, Oaklee, I shouldn’t have talked to you like that.

Her: I forgive you.

Suddenly I felt proud. None of us are perfect. Not me, not them, so apologizing well is an awesome tool to have.

So, we’re still reading great books and talking about confidence and kindness, but we’re also dancing and passing gas.

I love my little family exactly as we are — quirks and all.

This post originally appeared on Wonderoak.