I taught my five year old to swear.It wasn't on purpose that I did this great deed, just on accident. Like most of parenting, the stuff you plan on doesn't work and the stuff you suck at is the stuff they pick up on.
I told the five year old with the dirty mouth that she had to get in the back of the Suburban yesterday. We had an extra passenger and I had moved her seat. She said, "D@#n it! I don't want to sit back there."
"What did you say?!" I reply in shocked horror. (My virgin ears, you understand.)
"D@#n it, I don't want to sit back there," she replies. Matter of fact, mind you.
"You may not use those words. They are bad words," says horrified and indignant me.
"Why not? You say them," says my little smart a$$.
Blah, blah, blah. I don't even know how long this stupid conversation went on, but eventually she got in her friggin' seat.
Shocked? You must be. I am a Mormon housewife so I shouldn't be swearing at all. I have given up lots of bad habits, but the dirty language is one that stuck. I don't use all swear words, but the ones I like have become more frequent as I have gotten older, more tired, and my patience has worn thin.
The older two kids learned quickly that there were some things that mama said that they were not allowed to say. Oh, are you wondering how I dare be so hypocritical? It's easy. You should try it. In fact, you probably do it already. (Like most human beings, I assume that others are just as flawed as I am. I apologize for that accusation.)
Oh, but my five year old is number THREE. As you know, the third child of four is a rare breed. You could consider them a course in advanced parenting skills. I have written about her many times since she is the one that turned me into "that mom," many years ago.
The older kids I just told that they couldn't say "those words" and they seemed to understand. This one says, "Why not? You say it."
I must be able to control myself with the foul language since I sure don't throw it around when I am teaching a lesson at church or chatting with friends. And yet I continue to talk like this in front of my innocent children. Believe me, my language spilling out of their sweet little lips is a horror to behold. It is a shameful parenting moment. I won't even tell you about one of the first phrases my first born uttered. You would hate me. You may hate me already. I can't even blame you.
(Can we just pause for a moment and talk about those parents who tell their children that the "S" word is stupid, rather than the word that it actually is? I mean, seriously, are you trying to make me look bad? Because that really isn't fair. I have heard parents who act like "crap" and "poop" are bad words. "We say potty around here, OK honey."
My head may explode. Crap is the least of my worries. I shudder to think about the ice cold beads of sweat trickling down the lily white backs of these wonderful parents when my children talk about how pissed they are.
I may actually be making the world an uglier place.)
In my defense, my father is a sailor and I was probably 10 before I realized that "s@#t bird" wasn't a culturally normal term of endearment for one's children. I come by it honestly and (you probably respect me more already) and I don't even use the more fun and enjoyable forms of profanity that I learned as a youth.
Not really sure what I should do now. I guess I should stop swearing, especially now that the whole world knows about my dirty little habit. But man, habits are so hard to break. Especially the ones that live in your head. Even when I don't say naughty words I think them.
The best part of all is that I find profanity offensive and unprofessional and inappropriate. I will turn off a movie if there is too much. Yet here we are.
Being a parent really sucks sometimes, especially when your kids mirror the yuckiest parts of you. It is really kind of disturbing to see my hypocrisy shoved in my face, my bad moments shouted back at me, and my mistakes acted out again a few days later.
I guess this is one of the reasons why being a parent is such a powerful thing. I don't know if anything else in the world gives you the chance to grow, learn about yourself, and face your daemons the way that this does.
Photo credit: Alice Chaos / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA