When I was about to be a mother five times over, it occurred to me that I should probably stop saying the "F" word so much, or - GASP - maybe even not at all. The thought intrigued me and I wondered if I could even do it. The "F" word had been a part of my vocabulary since I was five years old, when my older sister thought it would be SO FUNNY OMG to teach me to say "mother-fuckin', titty-suckin', two-balled son-of-a-bitch". She wasn't wrong, my dad choked back a snicker under the glaring eyes of my mother. My mom was less amused until I began referring to Kentucky Fried Chicken as "fuckin' chicken". That one had her choking on her cigarette smoke.
It was the early 80's and all of my memories that date back that far are swirling in a smokey haze. I don't remember my parents swearing all that much when I was growing up. I think it was the time in which they were raised; it just wasn't done. Instead they smoked and virtually ignored their children while we raised ourselves on TV dinners, inappropriate PG-13 movies, Classic Coke, no homework in grade school EVER, the dreaded bowl haircut and a whole lotta plaid polyester pants. It was kind of amazing.
Fast forward to my young adulthood. I had my first child when I was 20 and that somehow emboldened me to start swearing in front of my mom. One day, in otherwise polite conversation, I let fly the oh-so-vintage cock and I’m not sure if it was the context or if she was caught off guard by my candor. She. Was. Rolling. There is just something so wonderfully fun about a well-timed curse and, to my surprise, my mom welcomed this burgeoning mother-daughter dynamic. She’s been gone almost 12 years and that remains one of my fondest memories.
After contemplating the no fuck, shit, bastard lifestyle, I decided that I owed it to my children to at least give it a try. I worried that the good kids' parents wouldn't want their kids to hang around my kids if they knew just how often cunt passed my lips. I tried to tell myself that it wasn't so much a word-diet as a lifestyle change. Like most diets lifestyle changes, the first day went well. I breezed through all that life hurled at me that day because I had mentally prepared myself for the challenges of being pregnant, with an almost fully cooked ninja baby karate-chopping his way across my bladder and down my sciatica, surrounded by three kids under the age of five, and a sullen and moody teenager who had recently decided that I was the dumbest bitch on earth.
I didn't tell anyone about this thing I was going to do. It was more of a personal, spiritual journey to answer the question burning in my gullet: "am I mature enough to navigate life without the expletives?".
Some combination of pants-peeing, Sharpie-on-the-wall, kamikaze toddler bitching about I don't even know what sent me over the edge on day 8 and I let loose a bucket of fucks the likes of which my children had never heard before. It went on for a good five minutes at which time I stopped and looked at my childrens' wide-eyes filled with confusion and searching for some context as to just what the hell was happening with mommy. It was the swearing equivalent of falling off the Weight Watchers wagon, smacking my head on the wheel, and landing ass-up in a pile of Krispy Kremes.
It really was all for the best because a couple of years later, shit got really real in our family (which I hope to discuss more in the blog) and there were days when cuss words - and cuss words alone - gave me a measure of relief akin to watching an elephant at the zoo take a hot, steaming shit.
As my children have gotten older and we can have conversations about words, their various meanings, and the intent inherent in spoken and written language, I've found swearing to be an invaluable tool. I've even incorporated you motherfuckers into my parenting style. My theories will either be a huge success and I'll raise thoughtful children with thick skin who can navigate this world with humor, kindness and grateful intention or we will forever be known as That Family with Tourettes.
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