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Swearing Around Kids

F*cking Kids! Do Bad Words Make Me a Bad Mom?

It was the start of what was sure to be an epically bad day. My 2-year-old son woke up at 6 a.m. after finally giving in to sleep at 9:30 the night before, grumpy and wet. The crazy scratch on his neck had become even more red and angry looking, ensuring a trip to the doctor was in our near future. My 5-year-old daughter followed him into my bed shortly after, starting the first of their countless battles of the day, this one titled, "But I want to be on the right side of Mommy." Apparently, my left side's cuddling abilities are far inferior.

I finally extracted myself from their warm bodies and flailing legs and arms to run to the bathroom, quickly discovering there was a physical reason I was already feeling so annoyed by them. (Of course, I would kill my husband if he suggested my period's affected my moods in the slightest.) An hour of nicely suggesting, then screaming at them to stop hitting each other, start getting dressed, stop emptying all the drawers in my bathroom, and start behaving themselves like humans instead of animals might have included a few of my favorite words, among them "f*cking hell," "goddamnit," "what the f*ck," and my go-to, "Jesus f*cking Christ." I swear I don't have anything but respect for God or Jesus; those phrases just feel f*cking good coming out of my mouth, like a tiny piece of my prebaby self might still be bubbling under the surface. Of course, I try to limit my potty talk around my kids, but sometimes, sh*t talk happens.

After another hour of trying to find time to make myself coffee, feeling guilty about all the cussing, offering to make my kids' favorite bacon to redeem myself, getting pissed because they refused to eat the bacon, eating four pieces of bacon myself, feeling guilty about that, then listening to my preschooler cry because all the bacon was gone, I told them I had to start some laundry (i.e. hide for five minutes). Unfortunately, the laundry room is adjacent to our basement play space, and within seconds, they found me and immediately started destroying yet another room in our house, while seemingly trying to kill each other in the process.

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"You guys are being absolutely terrible today," I yelled at them.

"Why, Mom?" my daughter shouted back at me. "Because we're acting like f*cking children?"

First, I asked her to repeat herself, astounded that she not only used one of my favorite words in proper context but also had made such a valid point. After all, they were just acting like small children. Wild? Yes. Abnormal? Not really. Well-played, little lady. Overcome by a combination of admiration and surprise at her statement, I couldn't stop myself from laughing, hard. I'm pretty sure that reaction will keep me off the short list for mother of the year (well, that combined with the fact that she obviously learned the worst of the cuss words from me). Soon, she started laughing, too, fully aware that she had said something slightly dangerous and definitely forbidden and apparently gotten away with it.

"Honey, I'm only laughing because you surprised me by saying that," I said, trying to collect myself and turn it into a teachable moment (for both of us). "That word is really not nice, and Mommy shouldn't say it, and you definitely shouldn't say it. I'm sorry you've heard me use it a few times this morning. Let's both try to not say it ever again, OK? I don't want either of us to get into trouble."

She seemed pretty on board with my idea, but of course, the whole thing was a lie. Give up swearing for good? Never. Instead, I went and texted a bunch of my mom friends, my husband, even my own mom about what happened, and they all thought it was hilarious, too. Sure, I'd like to have the self-control to never drop f-bombs in front of my kids, but honestly, I just don't think bad words are that big of a deal. And if that makes me a bad mom? I'm f*cking fine with that.

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