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I've always sworn like a sailor. But I assumed this nasty little habit would magically disappear when I had kids. From the day I brought my first baby home from the hospital, however, it was clear this wasn't to be so.
The toe-curling, nipple-bleeding pain of breastfeeding unleashed a string of F-bombs. A poopy diaper up the backside would, predictably, herald another mauvais mot that begins with an S and ends with a T. The day my toddler fell off the couch and broke his arm, I can't remember what I said in my panic. But I can guarantee you it wouldn't be fit to print in a family newspaper.
Let me be clear: My swearing is never directed at my kids. These are words between me, myself and I before launching into more age-appropriate ways of saying "please don't stand on the chair" or "please stop hitting your brother," or "for crying out loud, please just eat your friggin' carrots."
Truth be told, I'd always thought the kids weren't really listening to me anyway, so … what did it matter?
But then one day, as I watched my boys run circles around the house, fear that one of them was about to get hurt caused me to use a word I shouldn't have. Instantly, my five-year-old repeated the word back to me, giggling. I froze. Mea culpa. This was it. Chickens coming home to roost.
I did the only thing I could. I looked him straight in the eye and said: "Mommy used that word but it was wrong. Even grownups make mistakes, and I am going to try not to say that word again. And you can really, really never say that word. Okay?"
He looked at me for what felt like a long time before bursting into laughter and shouting, "Motherhugger!"
Cursing Caregiver is an Ontario mom.
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