I’m a Good Mom, I Swear!

swearThis year I made only one New Year’s resolution: Stop swearing in front of my children. I thus far rationalized my truck-driver-mom-mouth by likening swearing to driving or drinking alcohol. It’s just something they can’t do until they’re much older, or so I told them. Raising children to be adults who don’t swear didn’t even occur to me.

My decision didn’t seem especially problematic, as my kids accepted their fate. Sure I did hear an occasional “damn it” when, say, the Lego set they were building fell apart. But I gave them the death stare and they quickly switched gears. All was right in the world.

Then right before the holidays, my 5-year-old changed my mind. As he played a mean game of slug versus bad guy, I heard him say in his most impressive bad guy voice, “Fucking slugs.” The slugs must have won. Ugh … It wasn’t the fact that he used the f-bomb, though it’s pretty horrid to hear that word come from a 5 year-old’s mouth. It’s that he used it so appropriately; that’s what got me. Time to stop swearing in front of the kids.

It’s now the end of January and I’ve stuck to my resolution … for the most part. Now that I don’t swear in front of my kids, I’ll admit I feel more like an actual parent, as opposed to the one I’ve been pretending to be for the past eight-plus years. I’m mature; refined, even.  I’m the type of parent who insists on reasonable bed times and eating vegetables. I’m doing this!!!

Then I remember that as I sit here writing this, my kids are on their third hour of video games on their new Kindles. We’re having friends over tonight, so they’ll eat pizza – again – and go to bed at a woefully inappropriate hour. Tomorrow is Saturday and they’ll play more video games.  Then they’ll fight and I’ll scream at them, at which point I’ll remember that indeed I suck at this and won’t get better anytime in the near future.

My little experiment, however, has made me realize that, the older my kids get, the less I care about being a perfect parent. Yes, I swear in front of them. I’m the type of woman who loves to swear, so get over it. Yes, they have too much screen time and go to bed too late on the weekend. But most of the time they go to bed at a reasonable hour. They eat their vegetables and do their homework. More importantly, they’re happy, healthy kids who have a strong sense of themselves and treat others with kindness. I can’t be doing all that badly, right?

So fuck it. If I’m faking it, we’re all faking it. Let’s just stop pretending that we know what we’re doing by bragging about our parenting accomplishments: Johnny’s become an avid reader … in kindergarten; Timmy scored six goal at the last soccer game; Sophie absolutely devours sushi (“She can’t get enough of it!”). No offense, but I don’t give a shit. No one does, except you and maybe the grandparents. The only thing you achieve by bragging about your children to fellow parents is making them feel inadequate about their own children and/or parenting skills. Plus, you omitted that Johnny wets the bed, Sophie’s a mean girl and Timmy sucks at math.

Let’s stop the bragging, or at least admit the faults too. It’s okay if you swear in front of your kids or give them too much screen time. We all suck at this, so let’s be real – with ourselves and one another. Now that’s a resolution we should all make. Are you in???

5 responses to “I’m a Good Mom, I Swear!”

  1. ha ha ha.. yes, can't wait for your book… Consicious Unparenting… it will be a great read!

  2. Very well done. I couldn't of said it any better!

  3. WTF kim! Does that mean I have to stop swearing in your house too??

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