kids

A mum asks if she should feel 'revolted' by her husband's behaviour towards their baby.

It’s a universal fact every parent knows – swearing is a necessary part of the most challenging years of your life: parenthood. If you’ve always been a sweary-type of person, f**k knows it’s hard to switch that sh*t off just to protect your precious cherub’s ears.

Yes, we all do it, but there is certainly a scale of context. Let me explain.

Mixing swearing and kids can be divided into three categories:

1. Swearing around your kids: for example, in the car with the kids in the back sleep, “Get out of the way you sh*tty driver!”

2. Swearing indirectly at your kids: for example, at 11pm, “For f**k’s sake, go to sleep!”

3. Swearing directly at your kids: for example, during a supermarket tantrum, “Mummy would really appreciate it if you stopped being a little d**khead.”

Despite these helpful categories, it’s not always easy to identify whether parents should be upset with themselves/another parent for use of foul language around their children. Which is why one mother posted in parenting group Mumsnet, asking if she was being unreasonable “to be revolted by husband swearing at their 9 week baby.”

The mum explains, “I heard my husband swearing at our nine week old baby because she had a bit of reflux, AIBU (am I being unreasonable) to be revolted by this?”

Later in the post, she gives further context:

“He said…’oh for f*s sake (then her name)’.  He had only been looking after her for a few minutes. We get plenty of sleep so no exhausted sleep deprived parents here.”

Many parents in the thread observed that being a parent is a frustrating experience, no matter how much sleep one gets. The majority also agreed the mum was being unreasonable as the father had not abused the child directly – and they saw the father’s words as firmly being in category two.

“Did he say ‘oh for fuck sake’ when getting covered in vomit, or did he call your DC [darling child] a little c*nt? There’s a bit of a difference,” a commenter noted, citing context as the key to deciding whether the mum’s reaction was unreasonable or not.

Some of the comments on the thread. Source: Mumsnet
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One parent admitted she "shouted 'why wont you just shut the fuck up' once at my son when he was 2 weeks old because he had been crying pretty much solidly day and night."

She admitted she was "ashamed of it, but obviously he didn't understand and won't remember." She added that the mum should cut the father some slack.

"Babies can be very intense, especially your first."

Others agreed with this, noting that new dads can find the experience as frustrating as many mothers do.

"I wonder if it's a type of stress?" asked one mum. "Most men it seems have very little knowledge of what it's like to have a baby around."

Another added, "New dads struggle too, but people aren't as quick to check on them as they are the mum."

Many other parents reassured the mum that either way, the baby won't remember if it is the occasional swearing in category two.

"At the moment your [darling daughter] won't know or care about swearing, so long as he spoke in a calm way and continued meeting her needs," a mother wrote. But she included the warning, "He has to know that it is not a good habit to get into - because one day it will come back and bite him on the arse."

The thread generally agreed that the most likely explanation of the dad's choice of words came from exhaustion, not ill-intentions. As this commenter observed, "He's probably knackered and had enough."

Indeed...knackered to b*ggery.

Do you swear at your children? Tell us in the comments below.

If you'd like to hear more from Nama Winston, see her stories here, and subscribe to her weekly Mamamia Parents newsletter here.

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