Small people hear everything.  And quite often repeat everything they hear.  Usually to random strangers or the next door neighbour.  And usually it’s something highly embarrassing that you didn’t want the neighbours to know.  Especially when it’s something you said about them.  Then there’s swearing.
Most parents I know try not to swear in front of their small people to avoid the mortification of a three year old dropping the f-bomb in the library.  

There are two common swearing avoidance methods used by parents:

  1. Bite tongue really hard and hope you don’t draw blood
  2. Develop a new swearing vocabulary with words such as ‘fudge’ and ‘oh deary me’  


No matter how shiny your perfect parent halo is there are times when swearing is simply unavoidable. Once that expletive has exited your mouth you have two options.  

  1. Deny all knowledge of where your small person heard such foul language
  2. Blame the small people’s Uncle
Warning: This post contains swearing.  Obviously as it’s about swearing!

Here are my top 5 causes of loosing your shit and swearing in front of the children.



1 Stubbing your toe

I do this a lot.  Normally at really inconvenient times such as on the way out of the nursery when I’ve just got the little one to sleep.  I find it impossible to not have something audible omit from my mouth when I have occurred such an injury and am hopping about the room in agony.  Shit shit and holy shit.

2 World Book Day

I am not a ‘crafty’ mum by any stretch of the imagination.  And World Book Day presents itself with so many reasons to swear.
  • Finding out about World Book Day
  • Finding out about World Book Day with 24 hours notice
  • Searching e-bay for World Book Day costumes
  • Not finding anything suitable and realising you are going to have to ‘fashion’ something yourself
  • All those perfect Pintrest mums
  • Stabbing yourself 20 times with the needle
  • Admiring your finished master piece and realising it’s a contender for a top Pintrest fail.  Nailed it.  Not.
  • Your child refusing to wear the costume it took you hours to make and insisting Batman is an appropriate costume for World Book Day
  • The knowledge that you will go through this all again next year



3 The Next Sale

It’s enough to make grown men cry.  Why am I up so early?  Why is what I want always too high for me to reach? How come they have every size but the one I want?  Why is everyone in here rabid and crazy?  And the real question and reason for the swearing, why did I think it would be a good idea to bring the small people?  Rookie Mistake.  Get out of my bloody way.  
A very close contender to the Next sale is shopping for school shoes at the end of August.  Here you will be surrounded by red faced, tongue biting parents.  Someone is going to loose it, any minute now. Cover the ears of all small people in the vicinity.


4 Lego

Standing on it.  The only pain worse is child birth.  Why does this always happen when you are carrying a ton of stuff?  Or the baby?!  Then there is trying to find the missing bits, needle and haystack come to mind.  What about when you’ve finished building the master piece and your small person instantly drops it.  Or of course there are the Lego wedged up the nose incidents.  What about the cost of entry to Lego Land?  Lego makes you swear.  It should come with a warning or something.  “Great for building imaginations and vocabulary of the vulgar nature”

5 Driving

Nothing makes me want to yell Wanker more than someone cutting me up or pulling out in front of me.  Not to mention the drivers who have no idea what an indicator is for.  Then there are the arse-holes with no kids in the car using all the family spaces.  And that’s just what’s going on outside of the car.  Inside, “Are we nearly there yet” is on it’s fiftieth rendition, we’ve just hit a traffic jam, and the snacks have run out.  F**k! 
Family Space
This list is by no means exhaustive.  Other causes of profanity are not limited to; trapping your finger in the high chair straps, being woken by a rogue toy singing in the middle of the night and scaring the crap out of you, being clouted over the head by a plastic toy, and receiving a text from your husband saying he is stuck at the office and can’t get home for bath-time.
Disclaimer: I am not a foul mouthed Mummy.  I couldn’t bring myself to type f**k without ** just in case my mum reads this!  Although I confess I once shouted “Wanker” really loud at an idiot driver who caused me to do an emergency stop.  When the big one asked me what a wanker was, I told him I said “Tanker not Wanker” and proceeded to make up a song along the lines of “Look at that big tanker.” There was no tanker.
What has caused you to have a momentary slip of the tongue in front of the small people?
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Claire Kirby

31 Comments on Top 5 Causes of Swearing in Front of Children

  1. Haha! My husband and I tell each other to press off! But it didn’t stop one of our sons first phrases being “oh shit!” When he dropped something! Oops x

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  3. It is hard sometimes not to swear – anything that takes me by surprise (in an unpleasant way) is more likely to result in a swear word or two slipping through the net. I’ve got a little better at not swearing in the car but if someone pulls out in front of me unexpectedly or does something really stupid and/or dangerous then it still comes out. I’ve yet to experience the “delight” of stepping on Lego in bare feet but I can see how that would result in an expletive or two!

  4. Love it 🙂 I really really try hard not to swear but sometimes, as you say, it’s unavoidable. Any from of pain is definitely up there. But the one for me that really sticks out is when you’ve been woken up once in the night and you have just dozed off again and you get reawaken up. There’s an eff bomb or two there I can tell you (I’m very precious about sleep!) Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

  5. It was the tanker that got me! I proper guffawed at that one. My daughter thinks duck is an exclamation of displeasure. I am generally very potty mouthed, the air around me is frequently blue. Its one of the elements of respectable parenting I find hardest. Fortunately I now work for a tarmacing company and get to Eff and Jeff all day at work! Hurrah. I bloody love your posts.

  6. Mine is when I put stuff down, then someone, usually a small child or my husband “helpfully” moves it. Or when a child announces “I need a poo” 30 seconds before we have to leave the house before school…
    Great list!

  7. I’m sorry but I can’t control it.. my kids are assholes and have turned me into the incredible hulk. The older 2 don’t swear and use flip and sugar to express dismay but my almost 3 year old is Father Jack… he screams fuck in the most inappropriate places but I’m ignoring it hoping that without an audience he’ll get bored. #fridayfrolics

  8. I am quite a sweary mum, but somehow SOMEHOW, have managed to not say anything super-sweary in front of the kiddies (so far) (touch wood). The closest so far is when I was talking about my son being a “little bugger” to a friend, within ear shot of my daughter, but I managed to convince her I was saying “little brother”.

    My husband always has a go at me about my swearing, but funnily enough it was HIM that called another driver a dick the other day in the car, that our almost-4 year old has been repeating ever since ;).

  9. Oh dear, I think we have all been guilty of those! I’ve discovered beads are a close runner up to Lego in the hurting the foot stakes. Also really really bad for the hoover. Spilled drinks/food is another one. Drinks in particular as they always go over the stack of school paperwork I’ve been meaning to deal with. Funny post, I can really identify! Becky x #FridayFrolics

  10. I swear far more often now that I have kids than I ever used to. I guess my patience has been stretched to its limit (and, let’s face it, beyond) so many times it just won’t snap back to size anymore. I do try to modify my swears to be G-rated when the kids are around, but once they’re safely in bed I find myself cursing like a sailor. My worst swearing trigger in front of them is the effing smoke alarm going off while I’m trying to get blinking dinner on the gosh darn table. STUPID FRIGGIN THING, THERE’D BETTER BE A REAL FIRE SOME DAY THAT IT’S GOING TO SAVE US ALL FROM, TO MAKE UP FOR ALL THESE FALSE ALARMS!!!…. Sorry…#fridayfrolics

  11. I’ve got a confession. I’m a potty mouthed mum. Just typing this comment something popped up causing my phone to crash at which point I shouted “fucks sake you fucking piece of shit! Luckily my son is at school! If he hears me swearing he actually informs me I’ve said a naughty word and I have to apologise profusely. Sad state of affairs when your child is more mature than you! He’s 4. Loving the wanker/tanker thing though! I might try that one!

  12. I’ve got a confession. I’m a potty mouthed mum. Just typing this comment something popped up causing my phone to crash at which point I shouted “fucks sake you fucking piece of shit! Luckily my son is at school! If he hears me swearing he actually informs me I’ve said a naughty word and I have to apologise profusely. Sad state of affairs when your child is more mature than you! He’s 4. Loving the wanker/tanker thing though! I might try that one!

  13. Ha! Love it – the NEXT sale – so true. I’m terrible with the driving and the swearing, I don’t even realise I’m doing it. I’m swearing at people aggrressivley but i mutter under my breath and I forget he’s there! #effitfridays

  14. Haha, hilarious! Stubbing toe is the worst, I am such a baby when that happens. A’s not old enough for the LEGO yet but I know that will just about kill me off. Ahhhh. #effitfriday

  15. Haha love it! I’m really going to have to make up a whole new vocabulary when my little one gets old enough to understand! I despise those w****kers who park in the family parking spaces! I think that Uncle’s going to have a lot to answer for 😉 #TwinklyTuesday

  16. I am not generally a swearer except when it comes to either using a computer or putting chriistmas decorations up, so it is with complete shame that I admit here both my sons learnt to say the word Bollox at a very early age, usually when they couldnt get a toy to do what they wanted. #TwinklyTuesday

  17. LOL, absolutely hilarious!! I’m a sweater by nature, but try and curb my language in front of the kids… It’s not possible 100% though, as you say, no one has a perfectly shiny parenting halo!! I did encounter some vile swearing at the swimming pool yesterday though, that even shocked me tbh… Hats uncalled for, even if the water was fucking freezing!! #thetruthabout

  18. Too funny! I think anything driving related is fair game. I once had my (then) 2 year old singing “bugger bugger bugger” to himself after a particularly stressful parking incident. Six year old seems to say “oh God” every five seconds lately which his father classes as swearing but I don’t – so difficult to bite your tongue in those moments of pain or stress. Thanks for linking! #thetruthabout

  19. Driving!! Yea yea yes!!! I always forget about the small person in the back. I have zero patience for the tossers on the road and always either swear or come very close. Great post; tanker made me laugh xx #thetruthabout

  20. This post actually made me LOL! I too try not to swear in front of the kids, I even give random strangers the death glare if they swear in font of them but this morning I found that someone had taken my sons scooter from in front of my door and put it in the bin area and couldn’t help a loud WTF followed by FFS my kids were like what was that mummy? There was no real way to explain that one so I basically moaned at them for us being late for school (when we weren’t) aaarh problem solved until one of them decides to shout WTF in somewhere really ‘appropriate’ like a church or something and leave me mortified.

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