“What the fuck!” I blurted out in front of my 15-year-old. “I told you to stop screwing around and start your fucking homework.”
Shit, I swore…out loud.
There were plenty of times when I have sworn at my kids in my mind – the way a character on a sitcom flashes to an alternate reality that shows what she would like to be doing instead of what she is actually doing. And of course, there have been the handful of times when I flipped my kids off after they left the room (yes, I’ve been mad enough to flip my kids off behind their backs). This time, however, I had lost all control of my mothering instincts and it slipped out.
I grew up in a house where my parents didn’t swear…at least not in English. It took me a while to learn the Greek swear words that were bandied about but even those were few and far between. When my mom threw out a swear word in English though, I knew I had gone too far.
I thought that maybe this is what happened here. My son certainly looked taken aback. I figured he would realize that he better buckle down and start his homework because I was really mad. Instead, he looked at me and said, “Really Mom? Is that appropriate?” And turned back to his computer.
Apparently swearing had lost it’s shock value.
Swearing has taken over our house a bit lately. Try as I may, my kids have adopted a “swear now, deal with the consequences later” mentality. I hear them swearing at their video games and computer screens, swearing at each other and swearing at their friends in that friendly “everyone calls their friends a dick, mom!” sort of way.
It makes me cringe.
I’ve explained that swearing is the mark of the unintelligent. “There are better words to express yourself,” I’ve said, and yet, here I was, whipping out the “F” word – not once but twice.
I remember when we first had our oldest, I swore (no pun intended) that I would never swear in front of him. I didn’t want anyone else to swear in front of him either. When my brothers-in-law said “shit” in front of him, I was so upset; not so upset, however, that I didn’t notice the big grin forming on my son’s face. I should have known then that I would be fighting a losing battle eventually.
Swearing started slowly in our house. A few “damns” here; a few “craps” there. My kids refused to believe that those counted as swear words and eventually I stopped challenging them. Then our oldest branched into the occasional “shit” followed by an “oops, sorry mom” and a sly grin. Again, I swooped in every time with a punishment or a dressing down but he knew he would wear me down eventually and I would stop calling him out on the use of the word.
Our youngest is not nearly as brazen. Sure, he swears at his brother when I’m not around (his brother makes sure to tell me what he said) but I’ve told my kids that if I don’t hear the word I can’t punish the offender.
I really knew that I had lost the cause when my youngest said, in front of me, the other day, “He is such a D-I-C-K”. At least he spelled it out.
Lately we’ve been trying a swear jar – it started with us charging the offenders $0.25 per swear word. It’s now up to $5.00. By the time our oldest graduates from college I think he’s going to owe us his first year’s paycheck.
As for my offenses, yes, I kicked in my $10.00 and I vowed to stop swearing…at least in English. I swear!