So here’s the thing. I swear. Like a motherfucker. Pretty much could make a sailor blush what with my f-bombs and whatnots.

I loves me an Anglo-Saxon curse word and think that fuck is like the little black dress of language: always appropriate, goes with everything, accessorizes nicely.

Long ago, waaaay before Go the Fuck to Sleep, on those days with babies when I was pretty much light years beyond the end of my rope, those days where you’re so fried you can’t really remember what it felt like to be an adult in conversation with other adults, what it felt like to have an actual shower of more than 2 minutes, to be free of spit-up and burp cloths and back-aches, gut-aches, shoulder-aches, wrist-aches–on those days, I had a particular lullaby I used to sing.

To whichever baby had sent me so close to the edge I could look over and see the abyss, I would sing, in the softest, sweetest, gentlest voice you can imagine, something along the lines of “you’ve ruined my life, I can’t do this any longer, fucking shit, what am I going to do, I am so tired, holy fucking shit what am I going to do please just stop crying for one goddamn hour…”

Okay – I wasn’t suicidal or PPD or infanticidal – I was just a standard-issue exhausted new mom. And I had a lot of love and support and everyone survived, so it’s okay.

I offer this story only to explain that me and swearing, we’re pretty much besties.

Here’s the thing, though. My babies are now old enough to hear my foul mouth and parrot it back, not in a oh-isn’t-that-cute-a-toddler-saying-“shit,” but with full force and understanding of the words coming from their mouths. And hearing my children’s sweet voices lilt around foul language is upsetting, to say the least.

So I had to stop. At least in front of them.

I’ve swallowed hard and reserved my love of four-letter words for solely adult company. Now, in front of the kids, I say “fudge” when something drops on the floor and breaks, or “holy cats,” or sometimes, “crap.”  But “fudge” has become my default word, when children are present. I figure they might know what I’m wishing I could say, but at least I’m not saying it.

Husband, however, disagrees with me. He says that the boys know I am saying “fudge” instead of “fuck,” and so I’m not really disguising anything or fooling anyone. I say I’m not trying to “fool” them, I’m just trying to ride herd on my fouler impulses. Husband is unconvinced.  He’s wrong, the fudge head.

I’m not sure what the boys think – they don’t say “fudge,” but I have heard Liam mutter “holy cats” under his breath (and, truth be told, he’s become fond of English-isms: bloody this and bloody that, and then “wanker.” We asked him to explain what wanker meant, and he insisted he didn’t know – but his dimples and embarrassed grin said otherwise: he does know but is too abashed to explain).

So what do you think? I should stop saying “fudge” and say…”fooey?” or “rats?” or “christ on a stick?”

Okay, that latter is probably an ix-nay.

But seriously – even if the kids know what I want to say, isn’t it better that they hear me not say it than that I let that f-bomb fly?

And by f-bomb, of course, I mean exploding fudge balls.

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