Don't take life too serious.

Is It Wrong To Swear In My Kids Journals?


There is something about confessing in the journal I keep for my daughter, that I flipped her off as she headed upstairs for nap, that is so satisfying. I’m sure it violates a parental ethics rule in one of those “wear your baby”/ “breastfeed until they’re ten” parenting books, but it’s so gratifying.  Just hear me out.

When I find the time to write in my kid’s journals, it’s usually prompted by something they did that caused my heart to burst, cracked me up laughing or caused me to swear under my breath. It’s the things that have me swearing, that have me questioning, how honest I should be in their journals.

Even though I know their ears won’t be as small and pure by the time they’re reading it, I feel a slight tug of guilt admitting that I considered letting the lady at the grocery store take the little man home today. In my defense, five minutes prior to this, he kicked me so hard in the shin, I was hopping around like a damn fool, trying not to shout every cuss word in my head at the time. He did this merely because he didn’t want to sit in the cart.

It was the same guilt, flicking me in the ear, when I gave the four yr old the finger, as she headed up for nap. In my defense, she told me that she was hungry because, “you didn’t make a very good lunch, Momma.”  Really?  There are starving children in Africa kid, get over it!

The whole purpose of starting a journal for my daughter was to give her a way to know more about her life than what she can recall.  My side of things really.  It started out as such a love story to my baby girl. Now, though, her quirks and strengths and her strong-headed personality has come in to play.

I can’t find it in me to just write, “We made dinner together tonight”, when in reality what happened was I opened the can of biscuits and she opened up a can of crazy!  She burst in to hysterical tears (like Sammy on Days of Our Lives kind of tears) and her pretty little head just looked like it was going to pop off, she was so mad. All because she wanted to open the can. I stood there looking at her speechless.  Are you freakin’ kidding me?

Click book to hear it read by Samuel L. Jackson. Hilarious.
Click book to hear it read by Samuel L. Jackson. Hilarious.

I think my intentions in writing these journals has grown. I want them to understand that parenting is tough. I want them to see the highs and lows. I want them to laugh at themselves and their Momma. It is my hope, that when they read them, they get to know themselves and me a little better. I try to use the sadness I carry from never really knowing my own mother, to push me in writing the full truths.

It’s funny how those journals have evolved since starting each of them. They remain to be a love story to my children and I continue to document each milestone and growing inch with love. However, I feel like the struggles are worth documenting too – the black eyes, the full-on attitude, the tantrums, the tears, the desperation for a hot seconds worth of quiet, my challenges with each of them as a mother –  who is really just winging it.




40 thoughts on “Is It Wrong To Swear In My Kids Journals?”

  1. I think the journal is a good idea, but how they react to your honesty really depends on the people they turn out to be, I think.

    As for the age you give it to them…18 seems appropriate since you could theoretically write in said journal until that day.

    1. Good point, TD. I would love to think they will grown in to adults that see the compassion, love and truth in these journals. …and appreciate it!!!!

    1. Thanks Guapo. It’s something I enjoy doing and wish I had more time to do. I know very little about my own mother, this is where the idea came from. I agree with waiting until they are adults. I don’t think they would appreciate it until then. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. First of all I find it really sweet that you take time to write journals for your kids. And I think it is perfectly fine to cuss here and there sometimes. Kids can flip you off real good at times. If my mom wrote it for me I would have wanted it now,(I’m turning 19 this April) because I think I’m mature enough to handle all the bitter sweet details but at the end of the day level of maturity and understanding varies from person to person.
    As far as appreciating it is concerned, o heck they should appreciate it, If I were you I’d sell it to them ! lol Just kidding 🙂

    Just know that you are doing the best you can.
    Love, Zee.

    1. Thanks for that Zee. I think 19 is a good age…I think I would have really appreciated something like this at that point too.

      The part about selling it to them was hysterical!

      Just another quick thought…19 was one of my favorite years so far…enjoy and take advantage of your youth and wide-eyed wonder. 🙂

      1. Although I was INITIALLY kidding about the selling part but if they give you a hard time there somewhere you have got the ultimate weapon to threaten them with !
        Tell them that you are going to publish it and spread it in their entire school ! (YES I’M THAT EVIL, Muwahaha >:D Oh You can thanks me later! 😀 )

        On a serious note, Thank you Dawn. I’m trying to make best of it. Can’t believe my this is my last teen year 😥 *Sniff*

  3. I think they will appreciate to know the truth. Good or bad. The whitewashed history people tell of their lives always falls flat to me. I would want to know the flaws and imperfections.

    1. Me too. Knowing my daughter, only at (almost) five, I know she will appreciate it. She is a sucker for nostalgia like her Momma. I’m sure my son will too.

  4. This is an amazing thing you’re doing. I would literally sell my soul to be able to go back in time to do this for my three kids…. Who are all teenagers/adults now. And the swearing? If it’s part of who you are and how you felt at the time, then hell to the yes include it. The other day my youngest son, who is 17, said to me, ” when I read your blogs, i just hear you talking in my head”. He HEARS me TALKING—- with all my inflections and sighs and laughter and EMOTIONS. He says it’s the best part of reading them.

    1. Sorry—I’m on my stupid ifuck, err phone. It did something weird.

      Anyway, he will HEAR me talking every time he reads my blogs. For the rest of his life. Just like your kids will hear you talking to them via those journals. So be the only self you can be; good, bad, swearing, loving, funny, sad, and emotional!!!! Because that’s who you are and that’s what they’ll HEAR in their head as they read. Forever.

      And that is FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Probably one of the best comments I’ve ever received. Cheers to you Momma. You actually gave me a kick in the ass to keep on it more. It’s hard to put one more thing on my list to stay on top of…but I have to with this one! I started my daughters while I was pregnant with her…I started my sons when he was 10 mths old.!! Typical, right?

        I love the idea of them hearing me almost reading them to them. I can’t tell you what I would give for that from my own mother, who I barely really knew.

        So swear, laugh, cry and tell it like it is, is what I will keep on doing. Thank you so much for your comment. It pretty much changed my day 🙂

      2. Awwww, I’m glad. I actually didn’t realize how much hearing that from my son meant to me until I replied to your comment!!! We will both keep rocking on and writing so one day out kids can still hear us when we are gone. I will do the journaling thing if I ever have grand kids though! And I guess it’s never to late to start with my own…..

      3. No, it’s never too late. I think journaling for grandkids is just as or even more special. I can imagine how differently one sees things when you are looking at grandkids vs. your own.

  5. OMG Dawn! My 40 year old (childless) son gave my daughter and her husband “Go the F**k to Sleep” in honor of my granddaughters. We all enjoyed it immensely! (We’re probably a bit warped.) That said, probably swearing in their journals is a bit much, simply because they may share them with others when they are older and you won’t be there to provide the context. I think we can keep things real without the swear words…at least in print! But I love your honest feelings. If more mothers (and fathers) realized that it is really okay to not like everything their kids do every second, there would be less inadequate-feeling parents in this world! – Fawn

    1. We’re a “warped” kind of family too, for sure. I like your advice…it makes sense. I suppose the vulgarities aren’t always necessary 🙂

  6. i think it’s great. it will be a treasure for them not generic happy, but real. i think of my blog that way a lot. giving them insight into their mother is a gift.

    1. (I was just reading and commenting on your blog!)

      Agreed. I tend to think of my blog that way too. In all honesty, I don’t write in their journals as much as I used to before I started blogging. My blog will definitely open their eyes to who I am as a person and not just their Mom. For better or worse! 🙂

    1. LOL. I do believe she is!!! I quit watching it in high school as well. But we used to make such fun of her automatic tears. That image just popped in my head as I was writing this.

  7. I have been wanting to write my boys each a letter, once a year since the day they were born. But I haven’t. And i knowww I’ve missed a bunch of stuff that should have been written down. Something about it scares me… like facing my own mortality or something. I know-jen’s a little cray cray. lol i love the journal idea! I might have to start one. Maybe beginning them each with a letter. thanks for the encouragement even though you had no idea how it would help me! 🙂

    1. Keeping up a journal for the kids is something I love to hate. I’m mad at myself when I don’t keep up on it but then when I do, I complain about it just being one more thing to do. I wish both journals were more of at least a week to week caption of their lives but honestly, it’s not. It used to be…now I’m happy to write once or twice a month in them. I’m good with that. I do write random things in them sometimes to try to trigger a memory for when I sit down to write, let me tell you, I never remember with the hell I was thinking. I can just imagine the kids trying to figure out random things like “mad shitter” and “toilet” written at the top of the page.

      Writing these journals can be scary. You know how kids call you out of things, well these journals are kind of like that. My kids know me and will know (hopefully) if I am bullshitting them with “every thing coming out like roses” kind of language. I understand thinking that may make me a little cray cray (it felt so good to say that…my husband hates when I say it. lol) but it works for them and me I suppose. I say get going on them!

  8. Oh you have to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth 🙂 If it were me, I would love to hear stories of my Mom flipping me off. I’m sure I deserved it 🙂

  9. Great idea to keep a journal for your kids.

    To your question though, remember it is their journal, about their life, not your life. Keep the swear words out and keep it about the kids, what they do, their accomplishments, their progress. If you want to put in swear words to tell how frustrated YOU get, write your own journal and put it in there.

    1. I see it differently. I think the frustration shows more accurately their life. The actual swearing in their journals doesn’t really occur that often, it was more a reference to documenting the frustrations of parenting.

      I know very little about either or my parents. Knowing anything at all would help to fill a huge gap in my heart and I think the opportunity to tell my kids the good and bad is both relevant and important. It is their journals but a huge part of their lives is me…this is my gift about OUR lives together.

  10. Keep writing in them. When my 20 yo was small, I kept a small calendar (this was before the digital age) and vowed to write a snippet about his life each day. Well, that didn’t last long but how neat if it had. Nothing public like a blog post. Just the private reflections of my journey through motherhood.

  11. I love this idea, and I wish I had thought to do it. It’s too late for me. Hopefully they’ll love these journals when they are old enough. Speaking for myself, I’d have loved to get something like this from my own parents.

    1. I hear ya! I would give anything for something like this from either of my parents. I know my kids will appreciate it…I just need to stay committed to it. It’s kind of like taking your own bags to the grocery store, once you start doing it, you feel guilty when you don’t. odd, I know…rough day and I am on glass number two of a fantastic Pinot Noir my husband found. 🙂

  12. Keep writing the good, the bad, and the ugly. And make sure you create a copy for your future self. My 14 year old son loves to hear stories of his past transgressions and my true reactions to them, most of which he was not exposed to. (I wish I had kept a record for him.) And if your children become parents themselves, I can imagine them reading your truthful journals and feeling comforted knowing a loving parent is human, and it is okay to feel frustrated and pissed off as the situation demands. Great post!

    1. Being a Mom now without a Mom, I feel almost an urgency to do this for them. I’d give my {insert anything really} to have something like this from my own Mother. I never thought about creating a copy for myself. That is something I should definitely do. Although, I do kind of see my blog as just that. I know some day they may read this too but I write more as “me” and not “Mom” on here.

      Thanks for reading and writing such a sweet comment. It’s truly appreciated.

  13. When I remember my childhood, I got the impression my mom always had a blast taking us kids everywhere with her. But when I became a parent, and tried to do all the things my mom did for me, I didn’t have much fun. When I ask her if she hid her stress or anger or resentment, she says she doesn’t remember. It would’ve been nice if she had written something down.

    Lots of funny stuff in this post, too. Enjoyable read.

  14. I agree with you, 100%. Capturing real life has so much value for truly knowing who you are and where you come from. Milestones and humble-brags to share in holiday cards are great, but if the rest of it isn’t there, then most of it’s missing. Great post!

  15. Oh my goodness. I hate to say it, but I used to throw tantrums over not getting to do things like push the elevator button or the shopping cart, and I know I loved opening the biscuit cans, so that could have been me too… Very cool idea to journal your joint story with them!

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