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Spying on the Kids

Photograph by Getty Images

“Good morning, Mommy,” my son spoke sweetly into the phone as he and his brother walked to the bus stop before school.

Even though he’s 12 years old now, he’ll always be my baby. I can’t help but sigh as I remember the days when it was just me and him, him and me, in our tiny one-bedroom apartment two blocks from campus. He would bounce on my knee, and we'd sleep together in a twin-size bed or the pull-out sofa sleeper in the living room. My baby. My love. My perfect little angel.

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He’s grown into quite a young man, one whom I am proud of because of his leadership abilities, his talents and you know, just because he’s mine. On this chilly morning we exchange pleasantries, and I wish him well on his day. My younger son grabs the phone as we do a similar verbal exchange and I hang up, grinning as I snuggle back under the covers and pull my laptop back onto my lap to resume editing a video.

Ten minutes later my phone rings again and I smile wondering what my boys want to share with me this time.



All I hear are the crunching of leaves, cars whizzing by and silence, at first. They must have pocket dialed me. Cute. Instead of hanging up, I decide to listen to their conversation as they wait for the bus. The next words I hear nearly made me choke.

“Hey fat a%%.”

“What the f*&%?”

“You M&%#)@&()!”

I couldn’t keep up with the sentences my 12-year-old spoke because I became dizzy. I hung up, waited a moment and called back.

Where did he learn that language? There was only place—me.

“Hey, mommy.”

“Hey, baby. Who were you just trying to call?”

“No one.”

“Well you must have made a mistake because your phone dialed me and I heard everything you just said to your brother.”


“I am extremely disappointed. We’ll talk about this later,” I said and hung up.

Yes, I was disappointed. Where did he learn that language? There was only place—me.

I have a potty mouth. I do it for the fun and excitement of using words that are un-ladylike. I never use swear words directed toward my sons, but when I am joking around and being weird and distasteful, you’ll see a side of me that doesn’t match up with my persona. My sons usually laugh and shake their heads. They call me their ghetto mama, and it makes me laugh. I never thought they’d pick up my foul language even though, duh, if they pick up everything else, why wouldn’t they? At this point I didn’t know how to handle the situation, since I am the one who caused it.

RELATED: Cursing In Front of the Kids

Kids curse. I know that. I started using swear words when I was in 4th grade because it made me feel more grown up. I understand it. I accept it, but it didn’t take away from the fact that I am equipping them with a type of "wisdom" that would put any mother to shame.

Yes, very shameful. Shame on me. Damn.

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