Disclaimer: This post is not my usual G- to PG-rated post. Some colorful language is used in it. If you are easily offended by language, particularly the “F” word, then I suggest you not read on any further.
If asked what my favorite curse word is, I would answer quickly. I curse….a lot. But, and here’s the rub, I need to stop. After all, I’m a mom to two little girls. Usually, I’m good at keeping these words to myself, in my head or a whisper, but at times of great frustration (or bad drivers) the profanities tumble out of my mouth.
The day I realized I needed to curb my tendency to swear like a sailor was the day that my three-year-old yelled out a curse word. Even worse? In front of my husband. Gasp! My daughter has a potty mouth, just like Mommy. How did I let that happen? And the award for Worst Mother of the Year goes to me!
Oh, shit! My bright, sweet little three-year-old with an angelic face and brown curls to match just said, “Fuckin’ A.”
I look over from my overstuffed chair and see her frustrated with a toy.
“Ginny, don’t say that. It isn’t a nice thing to say,” I hear my husband explain to our precocious daughter. He then gave me an accusatory look that said, “I-know-she-didn’t-learn-that-from-me-since-I-never-curse.”
Of course, he’s right. She learned the offensive phrase from me; one of my favorites that I say under my breath when drivers piss me off; the drivers that will cut me off in traffic while my girls sit in their car seats happily unaware of the dangers on the road. At least I thought I said it under my breath.
“Oh, fuckin’ A!” Ginny repeats as she trips over a toy on her way into the kitchen.
“Ginny. We don’t say that word.” I assert with the hope that she won’t repeat this phrase again.
Part of me was proud, I’ll admit. She cursed in the right context. How could that not be a good thing? It showed she was grasping language and how it was used. She is brilliant!
Yeah, sure, my daughter shouldn’t have a potty mouth. She got it from me. My husband’s a saint (well, at least he thinks he is) because he never curses. I, however, have a tendency to swear like a sailor. So, the fact that it took her slightly over three years before using a curse word is remarkable; also impressive is that her first word was not a swear word. (Nor her sister’s, I might add.)
I’ve worked hard at keeping my potty mouth under control. It isn’t easy. I feel like I’m in rehab. I’ve tried substitutions: Fudge, Fragglerock, Bouncy balls, Snaggle tooth, Sheep, and Buckets, to name a few. But substitutions never work. They don’t give the same satisfaction coming out of the mouth as words like “Fuck,” “Damn,” “Shit,” and “That bastard!”
A few years ago, I contributed money to a swear jar during Lent. It was my attempt to give up swearing right before I gave birth to Ginny. I paid a lot of money to that swear jar, and never learned how not to swear. There was some improvement, though. Now, after years of sleep deprivation, dealing with an obstinate three-year-old and her two-year-old sister, my patience disappeared along with the full ability to filter my words.
I keep attempting to use substitutions no matter how crappy they are. Maybe I’ll find one that gives me satisfaction in a way that “Fuckin’ A” does. Only time will tell. Until then, I really need to whisper it so little ears won’t hear me.
It’s been a few weeks since Ginny used her new phrase, and she has not repeated it. I’m grateful. After all, she just started preschool at our Catholic Parish School. I can’t imagine what Sister Joan, the school principal and my former boss, would think if my daughter said that phrase in front of her. I’m not ready to be called to the principal’s office to discuss my preschooler’s potty mouth.
Then, last night, from the other side of the room, my husband and I heard Ginny exclaim,“This is freakin’ hard.”
My husband looked at me. I sighed and said, “Well, at least it isn’t fuckin’ this time.” He shook his head and said, “I guess.” Progress, I think.