Home > Parenting, Silly > Road rage takes a spill! (or: “How parenting is making me a better driver”)

Road rage takes a spill! (or: “How parenting is making me a better driver”)

Swearing is good for you.

OK, that might be a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s true that swearing may sometimes be beneficial (Why Swearing Helps Ease Pain: Benefits of Curse Words – TIME).

Does this mean I’m ready to send my toddler to pirate school? Nope. Am I going to teach him my favorite pain-relieving curse words? Also nope. That’s because, unlike most adults, he’s a ways out from knowing when it’s OK to drop the F-bomb and when it’s going to earn him (or his mom!) a scolding.

As you know if you read this entry, I’ve inadvertently dropped the F-bomb in my son’s presence. Li’l D latched on to it and repeated it the same enthusiastic way he’d exclaim, “Puppy!”

After that, I knew it was time to start really watching what comes out of my mouth. That’s easy when I’m not driving. I just don’t curse. But when I’m driving?

Did you see that donkey-!@#!@#?! Or that DOUCHEBAGAMUS EXTREMUS?! And look at that foo–yo, you need to drive with your ass on the seat, not at the steering wheel!

I may step into the car all smiles, but my very vocal dark side takes over the instant I turn the car key. (My significant other, Ba.D., has asked me if I’m Italian. I don’t believe so.)

After the F-bomb incident, I’m trying to avoid cursing in the car. Simply trying not to swear isn’t very useful; as my friend Tara often says, “Hope is not a strategy.” Where there’s no strategy, there’s a high probability of failure. So I had to find an actual strategy to address not only the cursing that’s the product of my road rage but also the rage itself.

Have you ever watched ice skating? The judges don’t get ticked off at contestants for flubbing a spin. They rate the performance, state the basis for their rating (“your face wasn’t supposed to touch the ice there, am I right?”) and move on.

I decided to be like those guys. The contest I’m judging? The bad driving contest.

Instead of taking personal offense to the shenanigans of my fellow drivers, I now assess and rate them the same way an ice skating judge might. For example:

  1. Nice! That was almost a legal move!
  2. I can’t give you a “10″ on that bike lane takeover because only the right third of your car is in the bike lane. Sorry!
  3. Outmaneuvered in today’s competition by the driver in the left lane. That was an absolutely stunning three-red-light-run!

I still have to bite my tongue occasionally, but mostly I call this strategy a success. By converting road rage to road mirth, I’m not only postponing my son’s pirate days, I’m avoiding a heart attack and/or prison time for face-punching (or worse).

Because, really? What says “I love you” like staying out of jail for your little guy?

This was among posts accidentally deleted from this blog.
Reposted 6/20/15

Categories: Parenting, Silly Tags: , ,
  1. June 20, 2015 at 8:55 am

    “…he’s a ways out from knowing when it’s OK to drop the F-bomb…”
    Working with teenagers I spend a great deal of time explaining why some language isn’t “school or work appropriate.”

    • June 20, 2015 at 9:06 am

      D just dropped the S-bomb at school. I know I accidentally said “a-hole” in front of him recently (leading him to demonstrate his knowledge of the “real” word, which–how?! where?!), but I’m not sure when or where he heard that. We’re having a discussion similar to the ones you describe with him now.

      The F-bomb thing was from a song, by the way. I was singing along to Paul and Storm in the style of Aaron Neville. The song ends with an expletive, which I sang cheerfully … before realizing what I’d just sung.

  2. June 20, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Seriously… this crappy temp job I have (or recently had), I developed a trucker’s mouth over the years I was there. F bombs, the F-word was never my word (I used to have to watch the word damn-it in front of the kids.) That’s now tame to what now flies out of my mouth. My 11-year-old constantly corrects me, “Don’t swear mom.” That’s right. You’re right.

    Before this past job, when the kids were toddlers, one time my son latched onto the word damnit. “Oh, you misunderstood mommy, the word is DANG it.” That worked twice/three times? Then my son said “That’s not what you said, mom.” with his crinkled forehead and brow thinking intently… “you didn’t say that.”

    • June 20, 2015 at 9:10 am

      LOL! I used to swear super sparingly, both in speaking and writing. Then two things happened:

      (1) My friend Mack explained, compellingly, that a writer need use ALL her words. In her company, I discovered swearing was fun.

      (2) I started driving in L.A. Heh.

      • June 20, 2015 at 9:45 am

        Yes, it takes us by surprise, doesn’t it? I’m forever trying to censor myself now. I told the kids, feel free to bring it to my attention. And my son does. I try. I really do. Now that I’m out of the “stress situation” of that temp job… hopefully, I won’t really have issue. I used to work for a law firm that had a “potty mouth” jar. Every bad word, you had to deposit a buck. Eventually, they would go to lunch when the pot grew large. 🙂

  3. June 20, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    I had to trade in my driving criticisms when I realized my kids were going to repeat inappropriate that things I mutter under my breath like, well, I cannot repeat it. No swears, but not friendly. So instead I started everything with a fruit. That somehow stopped any pointed comment and instead silly things came out. To this day “Bananapants!” makes us all laugh.

  1. June 21, 2015 at 5:17 am

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