Right, listen up. I’m gonna give y’all a piece of advice, and I need you to take heed. Here ‘tis: chill out, motherfuckers. Cool your jets, rest your laurels (not a thing), take a chill pill. Just – you know – lighten up a little bit.
I say this with your very, very best interests at heart. I worry about you guys. I worry that you’re forgetting how to laugh. I worry that you’re getting so bogged down with the relentless bullshit of parenthood (and the relentless bullshit of other parents) that you’re forgetting to have fun.
I’ve written about this before; there’s nothing new in my suggestion to appreciate the silly moments and the little things. What is new, perhaps, is my advice to stop acting so, I dunno, adult. Yes, that’s it. Stop being such a grown-up, grown-ups. Start being a dickhead, dickheads.
It’s fun being a dickhead. Trust me, I’m the world expert on being a dickhead. I swear, and I fuck up, and I make a spectacular arse of myself on an almost daily basis, but above all, I laugh. I laugh way more than I cry (thank you, Prozac!), and enjoy family life far more than I lament it (thank you, Prozac!). We’re a very chilled out family (thank you, Prozac!) and we don’t take ourselves particularly seriously.
We also swear a lot.
I have reason to believe that swearing and happiness go hand-in-hand. Honestly. I call my children dickheads, and dozy twats, and – just this morning, in a curious outburst – numpty bollocks. They, in turn, call each other dickheads, and dozy twats, and – come tomorrow, I’m almost certain – numpty bollocks. For anyone who takes issue with me calling my children dozy twats, come round here and try and play Guess Who with my daughter. You’ll see that “dozy twat” is actually a very forgiving description. We don’t actually call each other arseholes, but only because arsehole isn’t a word we use in our family, just as we don’t use fart, or moist. It’s not that we’re morally opposed to those words, we just don’t like them.
I understand that this is not for everyone. I understand that the thought of calling your child a dickhead – and they in turn calling their older brother a dickhead – is completely preposterous to some of you. “But it’s so derogatory! So degrading! So disrespectful!”
In our house, these words are said with love, and a twinkle. The twinkle is important. We don’t snarl offensive terms such as: “You stupid, fat-arsed cunt.” Even I draw the line at, “You stupid, fat-arsed cunt.” We don’t hurt, and we don’t offend. We say the words that have been deemed acceptable in our strange, slightly dysfunctional family. Dickhead is a term of endearment in this gang. Twat, similarly. In fairness, I’ve only just learned that twat means fanny, so my apologies if this seems an odd way to refer to your only daughter. I thought twot meant fanny, so there you go.
We are – as you may have surmised by now – a fairly easy-going family. We’re not liberal – oh no, no, no – we have rules, and regulations, and rigid-as-fuck bedtimes, but we know how to take the piss out of each other. Perhaps this is a British thing, perhaps it’s a slack-arse parent thing, I don’t know, but gentle mockery is what we do. Like I say, we take the piss. When Alice has a “hangry” tantrum, we roar with laughter and tell her she’s adopted. When Frankie weeps over his forgotten library book, Paul threatens to Hulk-smash him.
There’s no room for sensitive little flowers in this family. We’re fierce, and we’re funny, and we’re foul-mouthed, but above all, we’re family. None of us are in any doubt as to how much each other is loved. Love is the overriding emotion in this family. We love and we are loved, fiercely. We are confident in our love, and sure of our devotion. I believe that this will, in turn, build resilience in my children. Resilience is a bit of a buzzword, no? A bit Maggie Dent? It’s a thing though. It’s an important thing. But honestly, I believe that if my kids aren’t cushioned at home – if they’re not wrapped up in clean-spoken cotton wool – then they’ll be better, more resilient adults, with a wicked sense of humour. On that you have my fucking word.
So: if you don’t like our swearing, then so be it, but frankly? I don’t give a flying fuck.