All of us think we’ll be perfect parents before we have children. We are sure that we will never curse, scream or hit. We will never serve anything other than organic food. We will never let the TV babysit our children for longer than 20 minutes a day (and what they watch is sure to be educational). The list goes on. From table manners to extra curricular activities our heads are filled with dreams of how we will raise our little ones to be better than the rest. My husband and I were no different.
While I was pregnant with my daughter, we got into a discussion about parenting. My husband and I talked about things like discipline, allowance and manners. Cursing also came up in the conversation. Since we really didn’t want our little princess to have the playground potty mouth, we decided to curb our language. Words that were considered profanity were to be omitted from our vocabulary, but others like ‘darn’ could be used in their place. We implemented this plan as soon as our little bundle of joy was brought home. We adhered to it diligently making sure to hold our tongues when we stubbed our toes and we were sure to use milder language when venting about our days.
Our determination faltered one day. One of us slipped up. I won’t name names, but one of us let a curse fly. Immediately it was pronounced a “one-time thing” that would never happen again. It couldn’t possibly hurt her in the long run. I mean we had only been home 2 days! She didn’t understand us yet anyway, and probably wouldn’t for another few months, at least. We would just stick to the plan and it would erase any damage done. In reality though, the days passed and the profanity crept back into our daily language exponentially. Needless to say, we aren’t curbing anything anymore. Our little girl is now one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘Dammit’ is her first word.
It’s not that we want her to know every curse in the book, believe me. It’s just that this part of our life was just too difficult to change. With so many other changes happening, we figured it would be OK for this one to fall by the wayside. You have to pick your battles, and this was just not one we wanted to fight. We reasoned that sometimes you need to really express yourself and adding a curse word could really help you make a statement. Besides, soon enough she would hear them anyway, right? And by the time that she becomes a teenager she will have more four-letter words in her vocabulary than anything else, so why bother? At least this way she would know how to use them properly.
We have now come to the conclusion that the ‘perfect parent’ is a myth. You do what you can with what you got and try not to loose your sanity on the way. If you can do it with a little bit of grace, you might even get a gold star next to your name. In the end, the only one that you really have to convince is yourself anyway.