Watching your words

Sometimes it is very hard to restrain from the odd bout of bad language.

I have been informed that I need to swear more. It is a well accepted truism that many journalists swear a lot, particularly after they have just put the phone down to someone who they appear to have been being extremely nice to – usually someone in PR. Perhaps subconsciously I have been reeling in the swearing due to being in the proximity of small people. It is, however, almost impossible not to swear on occasion when children are present, eg, in traffic jams.

When we used to live in London and I had a complicated morning routine of dropping off three children at three different locations [school, nursery and childminder] before parking miles from the station and running to get the train it was particularly difficult to refrain from the odd curse. Especially when the local water company decided to dig up all the roads to lay new pipes, which seemed to take them nigh on a year. Indeed, I remember getting caught in one traffic jam and being pre-empted by my youngest daughter. "It’s f***it, isn’t it, Mummy?" she said very matter of factly. It was indeed one of those moments.
I also recall bonkers daughter running for the smoke alarm at one point with the tea towel and waving it around as if she was doing some strange dance. As part of the bizarre routine she began chanting "s**t, s**t, s**t’, as if it was some magical incantation to get the smoke alarm, which was particularly sensitive, to turn off. She had clearly seen me do the same strange dance on many occasions.
It helps also to have a Spanish partner which means you know all kinds of very colourful phrases, which tend mainly to refer to your or someone else’s mother. He was using them last night, for instance, during the Barcelona Arsenal game…
I have mentioned these occasions to some people, who seem to take them in the spirit intended, but I have to admit I feel some parents might be offended that I even admit to swearing at all. I can understand if they are religious – although I have been to several religious schools in my time and they have the best forms of swearing out. Mainly, though, these are the kind of parents who like to believe that everything to do with children is kind of chocolate-boxy and sweet. These are the kind of parents who generally only have one [small] child and do not work full time. Give them time, I think.

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