I have a confession to make. A not so shocking confession if you know me well. I use swear words. Like, I cuss on the regular.
This mommy says bad words.
Maybe that shocks you maybe it doesn't-either way that's not my intent. I am not only a lover of the written word, I enjoy a beautifully crafted spoken sentence as well. And my friends, I am here to tell you that sometimes this requires a word from the "not in mixed company" list. There are just some things that cannot be conveyed without a good old fashioned four letter word.
I've fought this for a long time. I've made goals like- no swearing for a week or a month only to fail miserably. I'm a Christian woman raised in the south. I've been told my whole life that people who swear have poor vocabularies or that it isn't "lady like." Well eff that noise. It may very well be that I'm not lady like in the traditional sense. I have strong opinions and strong emotions and I enjoy expressing them. Demure, reticent, prim and proper- probably not words that will ever be used to describe this mama. And I'm learning to embrace this.
For the record, I'm not talking about inserting an expletive after every other word. I'm speaking to one well placed exclamation when needed for emphasis. The kind that rolls off the tongue; oh so sweetly making your point. I'm also not talking about making other people uncomfortable. I feel out my audience. I don't want to swear in anger. I don't use grown up words around children.
(Ok that's not always true when it comes to my own little people. I have another confession to make: I am the reason my 6 year old said his first swear word. Yep. I'll be expecting my Mother of the Year award any day now. But I challenge anyone to play Wii Tennis with their husband, lose back to back matches and not cuss. )
We give words so much power. And rightfully so. I remember sitting in my tree house with my 4th grade classmate while he "taught me" a list of bad words. I remember saying them out loud and feeling like such a bad ass. The letters in them are no different from any others, but to my 10 year old mind, the way those letters were assembled was forbidden- and I loved it.
This power is not only reserved for words of the 4 letter variety. There is a war on "potty language" these days that I don't quite get. My son is six years old, and there is nothing funnier to a little boy than poop. Ok maybe farts and butts. When the baby lets one rip, his eyes light up with glee. When he talks about poop he can describe it in fascinated gory detail. While we have had the- not in public talk- because again, I don't want to make anyone else uncomfortable,
I allow potty talk in my home.
This might make me low class or trashy in many eyes, but I want my home to be the safe place he can say what he wants and not have to censor himself unnecessarily. I am not offended by these bodily functions and the humor they represent to my little man in training. I will not pull out the soap if he talks about a bowel movement. Please hear me when I say that I get this is my choice. I would never say that a mom who does not allow the word "poop" in her home is going overboard. Your home, your rules. We are the queens in our own castles. What I am saying is that I think we overemphasize the inherent evil in toilet talk and sometimes neglect truly hurtful speech. My son once got into big trouble in preschool for calling a little boy a "poop head" but when he was in turn called a "cracker", it wasn't as big of a deal. Feel how you want about that story but it seems backwards to me.
I believe that the truly powerful, hurtful words are the words spoken in hate. Strictly enforced in my home is an absolute embargo on words aimed to hurt another human being. Hateful speech due to someone's physical appearance, religion, gender, race,sexual orientation- unacceptable. Once those words are out, you can't take them back. And that person will forever remember them. Discipline deployed for speech like this will be in the "I brought you into this world and can take you out of it" category. My children will be raised to have respect for all human beings created in the image of God, and for the fact that speech reflecting anything different wounds those same humans. And in the process of teaching them this, I will continue swearing like a mother. Mom the f*ck on, y'all.