I stopped swearing when my firstborn looked like he was becoming aware of his surroundings. Which even now at 15 years old isn't all that obvious... rim shot....

Anyway, I don't recall swearing a lot before I became A Mom. But I know I stopped.

When my son was in grade 1, so about six years old, a Lebanese boy joined his class. He knew no English, but wow did he learn quickly! A couple of months later, the after school group was tearing around the play structure, Moms talking on the benches. His older sister picked him up from school, but her English wasn't very good. As this boy raced by where I was standing he exclaimed "get-the-fuck-outta-here!". All smeared together like that: obviously learned phonetically.

Conversation stopped, dead. We looked over to his sister but she didn't react. Eventually one of the other Moms pulled him aside and explained to him that those words weren't good words to use (or something like that), and we all moved on. Giggling inside, truth be told.

There is power in those words, culturally based. I can swear in Quebec French, know one German cursive... but it justs doesn't feel as cathartic as letting loose a blue streak when I've stubbed my toe - again - on the corner of my bed in the middle of the night.

I happened to be using the German cursive when we were travelling through the UK in 2009, so I could swear safely around my 11and 10 yr old when I realized that the table next to us had a family of German diners at it. Who had heard me, and paused slightly in their conversation and glanced over to our table just every so slightly. Shit.

You know how they say that having kids makes you see your world through new eyes, right? And sometimes it also makes you question just why something is the way it is too. Like swearing. Once you get past the social impropriety they're just words.

Mine heard them on the playground at recess, that's where they learnt them they said. So years ago we had a discussion regarding the usage of the cursive. What the words mean ("ewwww"), what purpose those types of words serve* and when and where to use them. Or not use them (like around their grandparents cuz that'll only bring me grief). I think this is one of my favourite aspects of being a parent: questioning the status quo, why things are the way they are. Something I've been doing my whole life.

*a while after our initial conversation (and first of many), we saw an episode of Mythbusters. They tested the theory that swearing helps you deal with pain. And they declared it Confirmed.


  1. Very interesting. And I like the new layout.

    1. Thanks Mel! still tweaking... it needs something 'more' but I don't know quite what yet... (I feel like a chef) :D

  2. Confirmed. Nothing helps with pain, anger and frustration as a good, loud cuss. This post had me giggling a few times, especially picturing the German family wondering wtf? LOL