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Cursing in Front of the Kids

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Cursing is my bliss. It is my vice and my bliss. I get a sensational amount of joy, not just satisfaction but joy, from dropping the f-bomb.

Having four young daughters has proven to be a bit problematic for my foul word fondness. To keep my penchant for swearing in check, I decided the only way to avoid slipping a four-letter word into my conversation was to go cold turkey. I stopped cussing completely while pregnant with my first child. Once she was born, I was able to maintain and hold at bay the curse words that surged through my psyche.

Our second daughter, Camille came along and I was still carrying on as a non-offensive speaker. My husband and I taught the girls that the bad words were: Mean, stupid, ugly and hate. And to not use them unless they were really upset. Some days my oldest would come home from pre-school and tell me in a very small voice, that "Bella said the 's' word at school." My expression was one of shock, as I shook my head solemnly. Of course, the "s" word stood for "stupid" (as they got older, my daughters moved on to the 'sh' word, which stood for "shut-up").

When she was three, and very angry with her older sister, Camille yelled, "You're a mean-stupid-ugly-hate!" Her eyes instantly grew big, she slapped her hand over her mouth and began sobbing in traumatized shame—she had just strung together the worst four words existing in her toddler universe.

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My re-entry into profanity began after our twins were born in 2005. Four children under the age of seven and a husband who traveled as if he were sling shotting around the globe, and no family near by to help. It was at that point when I began my free fall back into the bad language. Except that it began in German.

"Scheiβe," pronounced sh-eye-zay, is German for "sh*t." We were living in Switzerland at the time and my girls spoke some German, but not that German. I felt it safe to utter "Scheiβe!" whenever a situation called for it, which was anytime I was:

*Parking the minivan in one of those tiny, European parking spaces

*Attempting to order meat from the xenophobic butcher

*Picking up clothes from the over-priced, surly dry cleaner

*Packing the girls' school bags

*Cramming laundry into our tiny European washing machine

*Forgetting a PTA meeting

*Helping with 2nd grade math homework

*Changing a diaper

[My daughters] went from believing that mommy spoke the words of angels to the realization that mommy cursed like a long-haul trucker with hemorrhoids.

But my cursing still went unnoticed to my sweet daughters' ears, and they remained linguistically pure.

Until we moved back to the States.

I remember the day it all came crashing down. The day my two older daughters, (then 13 and 11 years old) went from believing that mommy spoke the words of angels to the realization that mommy cursed like a long-haul trucker with hemorrhoids. We had been living in our new home state of North Carolina just a few months. We had great neighbors, were making fast friends—settling in quite nicely.

There was one young neighbor girl who was . . . high maintenance. You know what I mean, right? Very particular about the foods she ate (or refused to), always wanted to go first because she was the (uninvited) guest, pushed and pinched other children, yet screamed in pain if it was ever dished back to her. I'll call her Nelly (in honor of Nelly Olsen from Little House on the Prairie).

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My two oldest girls and I were standing inside looking out into our backyard, watching Nelly, eight years old, push my littlest daughter, Tess, four years old, down to the ground. Being a spitfire, Tess got up and pushed Nelly back. With a look of complete horror, Nelly got up and ran full speed from the backyard, into our house, screaming and crying as she ran straight through and out the front door. The three of us stood there in silence, and then I uttered, "What a f*cking baby."

I glanced up and saw the look of bewilderment on my two daughters' faces. And then it occurred to me—I had dropped the f-bomb out loud, not privately in my head as I had trained myself to do for the past 13 years. I held my gaze, level with theirs, and for a split second nothing was said then, "Mommy?" they exclaimed. And, I am not kidding about this, I responded immediately with, "Oh sh*t, did I just say that out loud?"

It's been a slick and speedy slope since that day two-and-a-half years ago. In front of the little girls (our twins), I have been able to keep myself under control with only an occasional "Scheiβe!" But the big girls have quickly become conditioned to my flowery language. "Dammit, sh*t and son-of-a-businessman!" have replaced "mean, stupid, ugly and hate."

I like to think of myself as a female Ozzy Osbourne character, (just without the money, fame and drug addiction) like a sort of bumbling, cursing mommy. I'm not so much proud of this trait, as I am resigned to it. Is it that I am in too deep now to turn back, or maybe, after more than a decade of squeaky-clean language, is it that I simply no longer want to hold back the f-bombs? Because cursing is my bliss.

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