Is It Ever OK to Say Terrible Things About Your Baby?


tantrumLet me just say it’s great to blow off steam. We can’t always be appropriate, and among good friends, it is incredibly refreshing to be able to say “holy freaking crap, my child is driving me around the bend.”
This is quite the trend lately, what with the popularity of Go the F to Sleep, Moms Who Drink and Swear, and Mommy Wants Vodka. We’ve given ourselves permission to be imperfect, and that is great. Hell, I’ve been known to refer to my baby as an asshole when she was colicky and I was teetering on the edge of sanity.
I just wonder if sometimes we overdo it.
Here’s the sitch: A friend of mine forwarded me an email that was sent to a public email list -- the one for parents in my neighborhood. The title was “Parenting a 6-year-old douchebag.” Maybe it’s because my babies are still babies, but ... to me, that crossed a line.

I should stress that I do have history with this mom. She is actually one of the moderators of the list, which means she was one of a very small group who scolded me when I made a joke on the list that bedazzled maternity clothes could cause gay babies. I was told that this was “hate speech” and kicked off the list.
This same woman complained that her kindergartener was “a major douchebag” and went on to call her “a whiny, manipulative, mercurial, tantrum-prone little s**t.” Several friends of mine forwarded me the email and asked, “Didn’t she kick you off the list for hate speech?” They also forwarded me the responses, most of which said things like, “Oh, you are soooo funny!” “I just spit my tea!” and even “I know just what you mean!”
Now, my older child has tantrums that are somewhat unbelievable. She’s kicked me in the boob, and some days there’s nothing I can say that doesn’t result in shrieks of protest. The little one has her moments, too. But the one thing I try very hard not to do is take any of it seriously or personally.
My stepkids can annoy me, too, and I have on occasion referred to them in not-so-flattering terms. And? I would die if they heard me do that. Because they didn’t ask to have a stepmom, they didn’t ask for their parents to divorce, and they certainly didn’t ask for the hormonal changes that sometimes kick them into high-stress mode.
Of course, that’s the salient point here, right? This mom isn’t saying, “You are a douchebag” to her daughter, she is thinking, “Shut up you douchebag” when her kid acts out. Well, sure, who doesn’t have moments of doing that.
I just wonder if it’s wise to announce that to the world. Not that the daughter’s going to go back and read the email 20 years from now and judge her exasperated mother. More that -- the more you indulge that kind of sentiment, the more it’s going to come through in how you relate to that person. If you think “I hate you,” your face is going to show “I hate you,” even if your lips are somehow saying “I love you.” I mean, duh, right?
On the other hand, there’s Louis CK, the standup comic who now has a half-hour comedy show on FX. This show is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and he’s one of the few comics who have actually made myself pee laughing. And he has called his kids (NSFW) terrible things! And it's funny!
Here’s the difference: (a) He doesn’t say those things anymore, actually. He thought better of it after he divorced his kids’ mom and got into a better mental state. (b) He’s a professional comedian, not a desperate housewife trying to be funny. (c) He tells other stories that show he's kind of awesome. (d) He never kicked me off an email list.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m just too fussy. Moms, help me out: When is it okay to blow off steam and call your kid a little sh*t -- and when do you realize you need to dial it back, button your lip, and realize that the douchebag doesn’t fall far from the tree?
Have you ever called your kid a nasty name? Did you regret it, or was it all in good fun?

Image via Mishbradley/Flickr

baby development, colic & crying, time for mom


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LDurk LDurk

On multiple times, I have referred to my 4 month old as "such a little sh*t."  I may even put it in an email to my best friend.  But to send that out to a group, when you have no idea if someone may think it's hilarious to bring that up in a few years and tell poor said child that her mommy thought she was a d-bag is over the line in my book.  We all need to vent sometimes, but never in a mediumthat can come back to bite you in the @ss.

elibee elibee

No, sorry, not to be high-horsey but I have not called my kids names, silently or otherwise, no matter what. I will call them things that refer to their sometimes totally frustrating behaviour - and trust me, they can be wild - like oh you little so-and-so or monkey or you horrible child but in a really ironic and funny way, usually while laughing (perhaps hysterically or through gritted teeth, but nonetheless laughing). Oh and BTW I think that book Go the F to Sleep is abhorrent and the author needs a huge smack. Now him, yeah, I call him names...

hutch... hutchfam2007

I have called my daughter names IN MY HEAD. I think its crossing the line when you verbalize it!

UmmTalal UmmTalal

I think its horriable to ever call your name kids regardless if you mean it or not. A parent should be the last one ruining their self esteem. Sure we all think things but saying it out loud or to others is crossing the line to me.

MRMama MRMama

no, because we waited and struggled for 8 years to have her. 

zandh... zandhmom2

I have never in my mind or out loud called either of my kids nasty names.  I personally try not to call anyone names period. 

justa... justacherry

The closest I've come is "Christ, you're freaking annoying!" I haven't crossed that line yet, but I'm pretty sure a few choice words may slip out during their teen years.

mommix4 mommix4

I have 4 kids ages 13,11,6and 5 and I've never once called or thought about calling them a nasty word. I've told them they're snots or being whiny, but why would you call your child a bad name or even think it in your head? I guess I'm missing something?

Petra Marie

YES!! yes it is! just like saying, "my husband is a dick" you can say your kids are being little assholes. please dont let ppl tell u youre a bad mom. those are the bitches who spend 24 hrs a day with their kids and who also get their self esteem from raising them.

Petra Marie

and i would put it anywhere cuz i doubt he will look it up later and say "i was an asshole?". i would tell him, "yes, that day you were a little asshole."

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