By Karen Green
I’ve just poured myself a big glass of water when, from behind me, one of my children calls to me. I swing around to see what’s going on and in the process, manage to knock over my glass of water.
I stop myself. It is my four-year-old daughter standing behind me, watching the water sluicing onto the floor.
“Sugar!” I exclaim, grabbing a towel. I have caught myself, but only because I am making a totally conscious effort to catch myself.
Usually, I just swear in front of the kids.
It’s true, I do. I’m not that bad, and I never swear at the kids, but swearing, as colourful punctuation, has always been a comfortable part of my personal vernacular. In fact, it never even really occurred to me that I shouldn’t swear in front of the kids until I heard other moms talking about how you shouldn’t swear in front of the kids, and then I felt bad because it seemed like I was the only mother that didn’t know that you shouldn’t swear in front of the kids.
Part of what I like about me as a mother is that the way I am as a mother is the way I am as a wife, a friend, a sister, a coworker. I don’t have a different tone of voice as a mother (seriously, I don’t), and I don’t have a different language as a mother. So the way I talk to—and around—my kids is the way I talk, period. And sometimes, I swear.
Except for a parroting incident or two when they were very young, I’ve never heard my children repeat any of the inappropriate words that they have heard me say. I feel like my kids understand that I am an adult, and there are some parts of language that are reserved for adults, in the same way that they would feel like I was being weird if I said something reserved for kids like, bumbum stinkypants.
On the other hand, maybe I’m just kidding myself, and should consider myself lucky that the school hasn’t told me to come get my kid from grade one because she called somebody a sh**head on the playground.
So I guess I’ll continue my efforts to clean out my potty mouth and set a good example, so my kids know that swearing is not polite for everyday, only in response to extremely shocking news and/or during Settlers of Catan marathons.
And if those efforts aren’t good enough? Fudge it.
Karen Green recently traded life in the biggest city in Canada for life in the biggest cornfield in Canada. Freed from her full-time job as a writer and editor, Karen now spends her time…writing and editing. And frolicking in the leaves with her two small girls. Karen is a speaker, the founder of Mom The Vote and the author of the blog, The Kids Are Alright, where she has been writing about the humorous and poignant moments of family life since 2005. She is thrilled to be a part of canadianfamily.ca.
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