I’m not a parent. I’ve helped raise my niece from infancy to four years of age, but I’m not yet a mother. (I know there’s really no comparison, but I feel the need to give myself a tiny bit of credit before I go off on this particular tangent.)
Now, I know non-parents have this habit of saying, “I’ll never do that when I’m a parent” in regards to any number of specific principles to which they may object, but I swear there is one that I will honor, so help me Bill Murray. See, I’m absolutely sure that I will make a great many sacrifices for my future child, but I’m also certain of something else: The word “fuck” will not be one of those sacrifices.
No. Fucking. Way.
I’ll be damned if I’m giving up “fuck” for anyone. It’s a great word. And by word, I mean words (because there are so many wonderful variations of it). Now, some of you may be thinking, What a trashy piece of shit mother you’re going to make, and that’s okay. You’re entitled to your judgmental fucking opinion and I kind of even fucking respect you for it. But hear me the fuck out for a second.
If I stop saying “fuck” (or any other “bad word,” for that matter) around my future kid, what I’m really saying is, “I think you’re going to do everything I do.” And that’s bullshit. Do I think it’s funny when a two-year-old says, “fuck”? Of course not. I mean, fuck yes I do, but I stifle my fucking laughter, compose myself, and correct the behavior just like you do until they’re not watching me anymore, at which point I turn to the nearest adult and talk about how hilarious that just was.
I said “fuck” constantly the whole time my niece was growing up. Now, I wasn’t directing the fucks towards her or anything. It’s not like I was like, “I don’t give a fuck if you don’t want to eat your fucking peas,” or anything like that, but I didn’t censor myself when I spoke to other adults in front of her, either.
And let me just say, first of all, this kid has the vocabulary of a fucking English professor, okay? Secondly, she is certainly not walking around going, “Fuck this,” and, “Fuck that,” capiche? The kid doesn’t drop f-bombs all over preschool because she’s not fucking stupid!
Over time, she’s learned that there are certain words and behaviors that are socially appropriate according to our very different age groups. I’m not going to declare in public my need to poop, and she’s not going to tell her friends she’s “tired as fuck” when she gets off work. Some things you do. Some things I do. We have an understanding.
Because here’s the bottom line: Who’s telling who what to do here? Is my kid dictating my language to me? Or do I expect my kid to be smart enough to catch on to social cues and go, “Okay, maybe I can’t say fuck, but I can crawl through these badass tunnels in this play gym. (Mom can’t do that shit.) I can’t say fuck but I can get pulled around the neighborhood in this sweet wagon. Mom might get to say fuck, but she also has to cook all of our meals.”
See, it’s a tradeoff. And in my world, you have to earn the right to add “fuck” to your vocabulary. My kid won’t have the right to take my fuck away any more than he’ll be able to give my fuckfree days of wondrous childhood back to me. So in a way, we’ll be even.
And let’s face it: If a kid does happen to slip up and release a fuck or two before the age of fuckness, guess how many kittens are going to die as a result, and guess how many fucks any rational person is really going to give about it? Right. None. So who fucking cares?