Being a parent is fab.
From the moment you pee on that stick and it blinks: “You’re up the duff”, life changes.
You promise yourself you are going to rock this parenting shizness.
First things first: Pregnancy. You will be a sweet, bohemian, earth-mother waif, all demure smiles and barely a bump.
You will not spend nine months eating everything in sight, until your gorging is so bad that your other half fears falling asleep, just in case you devour them too.
Once your baby arrives, you solemnly vow to be ‘Super-Mum’ in every aspect of the parenting game.
Will you breast feed? Hell ya! You will breastfeed until your child leaves home for university.
When you do eventually introduce solid foods, your little darling will only dine on homegrown, organic, ethically-sourced baby food that you puree at 6 am, in an ancient shamanic ritual to ensure your child lives a long, healthy life.
You definitely do not feed your kids jars of shit baby food, no longer giving a flying fuck about where it was made or canned, because it’s the only thing your child actually eats.
There’s no doubt about it. The adventure of being a parent is filled with many great expectations.
But here’s the kicker. From the minute you squeal “Holy Fuck! I’m going to have a baby” you set yourself up for failure.
Why? Because as parents, we are super-hard on ourselves. We set ourselves sky-high, ridiculous standards.
As for great expectations, I have them. Especially about language, specifically the ahem, colourful language that I use.
I have a rule: I don’t swear in front of my kids.
That is my great expectation. The reality is, when my eldest was a toddler, his favourite expression when he dropped something was “Up sakes!” (His father can take credit for that one).
Although it was always me at the park, who had to suffer the sneers from the smug Mummies: “Did your little one just say “FUCK SAKES?!!”
“No, but you just did. Please don’t swear in front of the children.”
Frankly, I was proud that the kid knew how to swear in the right context, even if he couldn’t quite pronounce ‘fuck’ properly.
But a couple of days ago, I read an article that kind of made me re-think all my fretting about dropping the odd f-bomb in front of the kids.
According to the article, Dr. Timothy Jay, a psychologist and all-round profanity professor, says that parents should just well, fuck their expectations on the curse front. Apparently, by the time kids are toddlers, boys know six curse words, and girls know eight. That number increases to 34 and 21 respectively by the time they are six. He reckons swearing is inherent to human nature, that letting off steam is natural to us all, no matter how old we are.
“I think it’s part of them learning about their emotions and emotional expression and how their parents handle emotion, so I think if you look at it as just part of being angry or frustrated or happy or surprised, that is all normal. That’s built into all of us.”
So the moral of the story is, bugger it. We’re all destined to swear anyway, so why fight it?
Why feel guilty if you let the odd ‘bad’ word slip out? It’s your fucking destiny to curse.
So if your kid is at the play-park, spraying cuss words all over the place, don’t slouch, be proud.
After all, as my five-year-old said the other day when she got frustrated:
“Oh dammit!” (Another one of her father’s).
Me: “You mustn’t say that. It’s not a very nice word.
Daughter (wide-eyed and innocent): Why not Mummy? I’m just practicing for when I’m a grown-up and I get frustrated.”
Damn straight darling, damn straight.
But If you need any further proof that swearing is actually good for you, check out these words of wisdom from George Carlin in the clip below. Go on, watch it. It’s fucking hilarious. And his flares are awesome.