There is something so satisfying about cursing. A crazy driver cuts you off; you stub your toe; or maybe you’re telling a funny anecdote to your friends. During these, and many other situations, an ‘oh dear’ or ‘meanie’ just won’t suffice. Sometimes only a curse word will do. But when many of us became parents, we tried to reduce our cursing. I know I did. I didn’t want my precious little angels picking up my bad habit. And I was quite successful for the first seven years. But in the last year, my love of swearing has returned. And with a vengeance.
Last weekend, while my daughter was doing her homework at the dining table, I was on the opposite side of the table chatting with Husband. He gave me some surprising news and my initial response was ‘F*ck me’. As soon as I said the words I looked at my eight-year old daughter, who was only a couple of feet away. I had hoped she was too engrossed in her homework. She was not. She smiled while still looking down at her paper. The secret was out. Mummy has a potty mouth.
I’ve spent a couple of days thinking it over. Should I return to the days of mouthing my curses? I stopped being able to spell the swear words when Moozles was five and I spelled out w-a-n-k-e-r and she asked, ‘Mummy, what’s a wanker?’. Cue my shame (though there was some pride at her spelling ability). Or should I become one of those people who uses pretend swears and says things like ‘fudge’ instead of ‘f*ck’? To be honest, those people are annoying. Fudge? Fudge? Fudge is a delicious sweet treat. It is not a word I want to use when I’ve tripped and landed flat on my face.
Does it make me a bad parent to want to drop the pretence? Sometimes I want to drop a curse word. Sometimes I want to say ALL the swear words. Do good, responsible parents hold back? Or are they better able to control themselves?
Perhaps honesty is the best policy. Maybe I should sit Moozles down and let her know that there are some words that only grown-ups are allowed to say. She might have heard a few of them already on the playground, besides from her mother’s mouth. Maybe I should stop pretending that I don’t curse. But how will that conversation start? Will I actually say ALL the words to my eight-year old? What if she repeats them to her four-year old brother? Or to all her school friends? What if we become the sweary household that every talks about? ‘Oh, those children are always cursing; what do you expect, their mother is American after all?!’
Or maybe my daughter will behave more maturely than me. Maybe she will surprise me. Who the f*ck knows.