The crazy people who design playgrounds seem to think that it is a totally awesome idea to put all of the seats in a 2 x 2 space. This means if you have ‘little dears’ the whole playground knows that they belong to you when they inevitably call you mum. Pretending they aren’t yours is futile..believe me I have tried.
Occasionally however it gives you the opportunity to sympathise with fellow parents when your child bashes another child over the head with a shovel or completely ignores you when you tell them it is time to leave. On Thursday last week, we thought we were in company of similar minded parents after a woman offered her been there done that smile when my brother huffed off from the playground on his scooter.
The woman piped up and said that she knew how frustrating children were (she had 3 of her own) and she was having issues with her eldest repeating things that she said. She began to tell us a story of how she had completely lost it at her one day and was completely ashamed because she had sworn at her. The daughter was now repeating this phrase to her sisters and she was horrified.
My mum and I listened and waited for her to reveal what this word was. I was feeling a little guilty that I had made a quick judgement based on her appearance that she wasn’t the kind of person who would use swear words. The woman continued to talk about her shame and said that she had told her daughter to…wait for it…shut up.
I waited for a few more seconds thinking that I had misheard..but not she repeated it and yes, the horrible, dreadful word she had used and her daughter was now using was ‘shut up’. My mum thought she had had a power nap and missed what the swear word was. We continued polite conversation with the woman until it was time for her to leave.
I looked at my mum and asked if she had heard the same thing I did..she had. We had a bit of a laugh about being bad parents because we regularly said the word fuck. I then said to her, I mistakenly thought I said it quietly, ‘Yeh I hate it when my kid calls me a cunt’. The giggles from a bloke standing nearby begs to differ though. It was a much better reaction than from the woman earlier in the week when I jokingly said I wanted to buy a massive wooden pole for a whacking stick.
Apparently swearing in the company of children is frowned upon. I say fuck that. How about we give kids a bit of credit, as well as our ability to parent them. We cannot shield our children from absolutely everything and then expect them to never do it.
DP and I swear like troopers…but I can count on one hand (ok maybe 1.5) how many times I have had to speak to DS about using swear words. Why? Because we have explained to him that they are mummy and daddy words and he accepts that. We don’t make a big deal out of it when he does say them and simply say ‘Remember those are mummy and daddy words’. Anything more and it turns into a game of how much of a reaction he can get out of us.
Do you swear around your children? How do you handle it when they let one slip?