“So there he was dropping the F bomb at a party,” my friend was telling me, over a cup of coffee, about her son, my son’s best friend. “We gave him a choice: Tabasco or soap. He chose Tabasco.”
I looked at her and nodded in approval. I was the supportive parent/friend as she was putting it out there. Clearly she had reached her limit, and it was time to lay down the law. Music to my ears, of course. I’m all for extreme punishment. Alpha and I are old school: we spank our kids when the circumstances warrant it. It's always a challenge matching the punishment to the crime and I'm certain the kids would argue we've erred on the side of being too severe.
But there is a particular rub with the whole swearing thing. “I thought it was something you would do,” she smiled at me, “You inspire me Mara, really.”
That is when my eyes started to shift. It was hard to look her in the eyes. I took a gulp of my coffee hoping that the conversation would change. Because the swearing in my house has hit all-time highs. And what’s even worse? It’s with my full support; in fact, I'm the ring leader.
It all started in Schatzle class. We had killed ourselves, burned our buns, sprinted around the block, done an insane number of sit-ups and lunged until there was no way to lunge another lunge. Beet red in the face and tired as hell Jenny put that microphone on and started to lecture us about positivity.
Wake up in the morning, she advised us, jump out of bed and start your day right. So as we closed class we did a few inhales and exhales and I thought we were bringing it into prayer position for a Namaste when she shouted out, “FUCK IT ALL, I AM GOING TO HAVE A GREAT DAY.”
That night, over dinner, it came up. Schatzle, positivity and well, FUCK IT ALL I AM GOING TO HAVE A GREAT DAY. The kid’s jaws dropped to the floor as they listened to the story. Laughter ensued and all of us jumped from the table a little lighter.
“Guys, I have an idea…”I started in at clean up. “Why don’t we try that every morning and see if it works?”
“You mean using that word?” my kindergartener asked me. “The one that we are not supposed to use?”
“Yes, the F word. Use it every morning when you jump out of bed and tell me if it makes you feel better,” I said, throwing all caution to the wind.
The next morning, Alpha and I were fast asleep when we heard the rallying cry ring across the house. “FUCK IT ALL I AM GOING TO HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!” Alpha, who had missed the dinner session sat bolt upright in bed. “Did you hear that?” he asked me.
I started to giggle as we heard it repeated from each child. And then the laughter. That was last week. Now it has become the new morning ritual at the Peters house.
Over pancakes just this morning, a tired Olivia walked into the kitchen and quietly sat down at the table. “fuckitallIamgoingtohaveagreatday,” she mumbled in an unenergetic whisper.
“Where is the Tabasco sauce?” I asked Alpha. “Someone just used the F word in this house.” She quickly snapped her head up from her plate, shocked. She looked at my insistent face, and it registered quickly. Shouting at the top of her lungs, “FUCKITALLIAMGOINGTOHAVEAGREATDAY!” she burst into a huge smile.
“That’s better Liv,” I told her. “Don’t get me wrong here, you are lucky and privileged to be able to use the F word every morning. Treat it with respect.”
I couldn’t help but catch Alpha’s eye. The eyebrows were raised. Indeed, we are in unchartered waters. But one thing I know for sure. If we are going to do something, we do it well.
“We have to set some standards in the house,” I simply stated, flipping the pancakes.