Yeah. I got that. The slamming door, thump of the tossed bags, thud of the shoes flying at the shoe bin….No….I thought she was going to walk in spewing rainbows and unicorn shit.

“So….what has you pissed?” My daughter sat down on the floor in front of me and told me the story of her day, peppered with a stream of obscenities and tears. I listened until she stopped talking. She got up and gave me a hug. I said, “Feel better?” She wiped her tears, “Not really, but maybe a little. I’m still pissed!” She stalked off with a little less umph in her stomps.

My newish mom friend sitting near me stared bug-eyed at this entire interaction. Her jaw was slack, her eyes wary, and her knee was jumping up and down. “What just happened?” she asked. “Huh?” I know what’s coming. I play dumb.

“Does she always talk like that? I mean – with THOSE words? The swearing?” ‘I don’t know. As long as she tells me what’s up – I don’t care how she tells me…if she swears, I don’t care. Just so she talks to me.”

“Hmmmm.” She is thoughtfully quiet. I’m prepared to defend myself – again. Sigh.

“My kids can say “fat” viciously and get in trouble way faster than if they use “fuck” properly. We don’t censor language. I mean we don’t allow random swearing verbal barf – but at the end of the day – I don’t care. They’re just words.”

We sit quietly. It’s slightly uncomfortable for her. I just wait. “And she tells you stuff? Like… talks to you?” Yes. My kids talk to me. They tell me way more than I want to know sometimes, but if you listen to the small stuff, you get the big. And if they can come to you with the really big stuff, it’s a win. A huge win.

I don’t take it lightly that my children confide in me. I don’t always understand but I’ll always listen. And trust me – you can’t bleach your brain. There are things I wish I didn’t know but I refuse to silence the conversation. I want them to keep asking me questions – normal, uncomfortable ones, inappropriate ones – just plain wrong ones. But I swear…it really works. These conversations lead to education for each of us. Know better, do better. Screw up with me, practice saying the hard stuff with me. Let me learn to be a better parent with you. It’s a two-way street.

Calmly I answer her. “Yes. They tell me the important stuff. At least sometimes they do.” God – I hate being judged and I’m preparing myself further to defend my decisions. She relaxes, leans back and uses my favorite phrase. “Tell me more.” I smile. “Hellz yeah!”

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