Inappropriate Parenting Glorified

My Little Good Bad Boy

When words are coming out of my mouth, I feel a bit sloppy and loud. I find that my jokes fall on their heads (or are dropped on their heads right after birth) and I have a terrible time discerning at what volume I should be speaking. Speak over the loudness of life, or wait for it to be quiet? Is my laugh too much and what was that word…that word…that word? I have lackluster timing, and end up interrupting and even worse, speaking over people. Many times I wish for a verbal delete key because really, really did I just tell my son’s pediatrician that I have “Good Looking” tattooed on my ass? I mean, I don’t. But was that the comment I made?? (True story. I said those words. After he commented on my “Lucky” and “Loved” tattoos on my arms. It sounded f-u-n-n-y in my head and then not that funny 1/2 second later when Roan was rolling his eyes. And then I died one thousand times but the pediatrician laughed, mercifully.) Delete! Verbal White-Out!

Yet I continue to speak, unedited. Much to the chagrin of my eldest. See, Roan Call is a mighty mighty rule-follower. And the older he gets, the more he seems to be bent on defying me by not only being a blindingly good child, but by also becoming more aware of what a blindingly inappropriate mother I can be, at times. Let’s keep this in perspective though: I am not a particularly inclined to swear or be vulgar all that much. I have in my verbal cache an arsenal of special words I use only in extreme and dire circumstances. But my boy has been witness to said dire and extreme circumstances more than once, and is convinced that I am the only adult he knows who swears. He does not approve.

So this puts me in a thinking space that maybe only a weirdo like me would go to. Do I tell him he’s right, and that profanity has no place in an articulate and educated adult’s mouth? Or do I tell him the truth, that pretty much everyone ¬†swears or is inappropriate at least once in a while, and that guess what? It’s not that big of a deal. In fact, it’s even ok. But kids can’t do it and that’s that.

Seems confusing.

But what I think is dangerous and maybe even more confusing is the idea that right is right and wrong is wrong and that there is no in-between. Being raised in an ultra-religious home, I (maybe inadvertently) received the message that people were either good or bad. That if you started doing bad things, you were a bad person, and then your fate was sealed so the end. And this belief kind of sent me askew once I started testing the waters of bad behavior. It was the idea of, “Well, I’ve started behaving badly so I may as well keep on, but more! Now, move on over slightly bad behavior – here’s something meatier!”

I want my boy to at least get the idea that everyone has different sides. There aren’t really bad people. Just bad ideas. Ok, that’s probably not true. I know a few bad people. But the point is, I want him to open up his mind just a bit – to see that good people can do “bad” things, and still maintain their goodness. Most importantly, that when he eventually and inevitably lets himself down by making a decision he regrets, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad kid. It just means that he’s like his mama, someone who is wrong, inappropriate, slightly bad, and totally committed to being the best person possible. Then moving on.

I get this message to him by swearing in front of him on occasion, by being a little off-color on occasion, and by always trying to do right by the people I love. Backwards parenting, to be sure. But if Roan is any indication of how it’s working, I’m cool. So I will keep on talking to my iPhone robot named Siri and asking her if she’s “Siri-Ass” about the things she says. And Roan will keep hissing at me to stop. But in the future, he may look back at me and laugh. Which will be awesome because somebody besides me needs to.

9 thoughts on “Inappropriate Parenting Glorified

  1. YOu always made me laugh with your spot-on calling of higher ups in the corporate game some silly, silly names.
    over and over…. to their face!!!!! thank you!
    ohhh… don’t ever change! such a great memory that still makes me haaaaa! out loud.
    In that case, Roan would fully support, I imagine…
    xoxo

  2. Still dealing with the same issues with my 20 y.o. He thinks I am nuts…wait that may be a good thing?

  3. GREAT topic! i relate and think about this often– and i don’t even have kids! my foul-mouth filter has splotchy reliability and frankly swearing seems to be one of the only vices i have left! even though i’m waaay past adolescence, i think i still get a little charge out of swearing. i do try to be mindful, though and yet even then i’m not always successful. shocking, i know. and personally, i don’t rank swearing nearly has high on the “bad” list as sloppy grammar and spelling. now *that’s* nasty!

  4. I also have no children but, if I did, I’m pretty sure I’d swear around them constantly. I’d tell them there’s nothing inherently bad about any of those words but that there are sensitive people in the world who can be highly offended by them. If you use those words in public you’re probably going to end up offending someone and you might even get in trouble. I’ll always stand up for you if and when that happens but, if you piss off the wrong person, there might not be anything I can do about it. So, just be smart.

  5. You’re doing it right, Mama. Just keep showing him those many faceted humans and help him know we all have a little of everything in us somewhere and most of us are mostly okay. I remember emerging from the world of black and white I had so carefully crafted to realize, hey FUCK! It’s all fucking grey! OH.

  6. My almost four year old son is learning the “bad words” and usually catches himself when he says one by mistake (like when he is saying every word that rhymes with truck because he is learning about poems in preschool). But he also knows that sometimes people say bad words, but it doesn’t mean they are bad people. He also learned some advanced grown-up words and uses them correctly, but those he learns from his imaginary brothers in Mexico. The “bad words” are from his grandparents…

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