BLOG: Shielding My Kids from Vulgarity & Other Exercises in Futility

My sister came to visit this weekend and inadvertently taught my kids some new swear words (sorry Big Sis but YES, you’re getting busted via blog). My girls suggested that we start a “Swear Jar” for her but I said NO because their Aunt is going through a painful divorce and can use whatever words she needs to get through it. My kids are old enough to know what a dirty word is anyhow (& the trouble they’ll get in if they use it) and honestly, I’m tired of trying to shield them from everything. It is POINTLESS.

Never was that more apparent than a recent trip we took to Big Bend. The girls were introduced to wonderful experiences like hiking and canoeing, but they also learned that a man will go to the bathroom ANYWHERE. We were dining al fresco at a funky (meaning WEIRD) restaurant in Terlingua when the lead-singer of the band sauntered outside. We were eating on the patio to escape his music anyhow because all of the songs sounded like Tarrantino dialogue, but I guess he decided the indoor bathroom was too close. He relieved himself so close to us that we could hear it hitting the ground and my daughters were MESMERIZED. Later, he and his band-mates met outside again to share a tiny & surprisingly pungent hand-rolled cigarette but thankfully, the girls didn’t ask about THAT.

We escaped back to our hotel room and started looking for a TV show we could all enjoy. My husband was scrolling through the channels when we came across a scene from what I guess was one of the later American Pie movies. It involved a naked Jason Biggs and a clear pan lid and that’s where the description has to end because it was awful. It was so freakish that my 6-year-old didn’t even GET it, but the 9-year-old started asking, “Why Mommy? Why would he do that? Why would ANYONE do that?” I still don’t have an answer for her.

Compared to that, my sister’s salty language is pretty tame. It’s only a matter of time before my girls take those bad words out for a test drive, anyhow. I was just thinking about my own first attempts at playground vulgarity and how delicious those words were. Well, until an older kid pointed out that the 2 words I was using didn’t go together & I would’ve known that if I wasn’t such an AMATEUR. That’s when my 9-year-old interrupted my thoughts with the most bizarre statement ever.

“But you NEVER swear Mom. I’ve NEVER heard you swear.”

The comment was so completely off-the-mark that I thought she was joking for a minute. But she wasn’t. My kids don’t hear me swear because a career in media has given me a decent (if not always reliable) filter and without realizing it, I use it at home. Then she said, “In fact, I think the worst word you’ve ever used is STUPID.”

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the nastiest word my kids have ever heard me utter is STUPID, and that’s a shock even to me. So when it comes to shielding my kids from dirty words and nastiness of all kinds, I might be losing multiple battles.

But f**k me, I may have just won the war.

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