by mssinglemama on January 13, 2009

Guilt. It’s a bitch.

Later this afternoon we headed to the doctor, only because his cough and the fever combined threw me for a loop.

We brought Handy Manny in his cute little backpack and as soon as Doctor Man arrived Benjamin started chatting him up telling him all about Manny and his tools.

“Wow. You have quite a talker here,” Doctor Man said.

I had figured as much because he never stops talking but I don’t check up on these things. I don’t compare my child to others or read the mommy books. I’m usually just satisfied that he’s alive, eating, sleeping and abundantly happy. But, with all of this talking emerges a new reality – Mommy’s words are now, more than ever, his number one source of fresh material.

After a clean bill of health from the doctor (a minor miracle) we headed out to the parking lot where Benjamin refused to hold my hand. While I coaxed him along in the bitter cold, prodding and pleading for him to hurry up he ignored me and started dashing in circles – teasing me. Then these words flew out of my mouth, “C’mon you butt face.”

Yes. I am admitting publicly that I actually called my own child a butt face.

Believe me, I am as horrified as you are.

Or are you? Is this a carefully kept motherly secret? Do we all slip up every once in a while? Not that you all call your children a butt face, but I can’t be the only one who let’s bad names fly. Mine is probably the most embarrassing though.

Here’s my excuse.

I have five brothers and sisters. Needless to say during my childhood, the names flew as often as the punches. Butt face was one of our favorites. And I have not used that phrase since then… in fact, it’s safe to say I haven’t uttered the word butt face in over 16 years. So why the sudden resurgence?

It could be that I am an incredibly awful mother or, the more plausible, that I sometimes communicate with Benjamin like I would my younger brother. We are alone 80% of the time, the two of us. We surround ourselves with friends and family as often as possible but ultimately it’s just Benjamin and I.

A happy and sometimes grumpy little pair.

This is by far one of my greatest challenges a single parent – learning how to balance it all. To be the fun parent and the tough parent all wrapped up into one.

Until I figure that one out I think working on my mommy language is top on the list. I promise, no more butt face – but I can’t promise I won’t mumble it under my breath.

More reading.

  • Love at First Sight (in which I ponder the hard core reality that I may never find my “soul mate” and in which Benjamin thanks me for the sky. Check out the comments on this one – some were critical but pointed.)
  • Breaking points (this week’s post I wrote for – new material on the yucky things Benjamin does that push me over the edge).
  • You Complete Me – an awesome post on this very topic by Ian of Single Parent Dad


To make up for calling him a butt face we pulled over to watch a train this afternoon… I think his obssession is growing on me. Trains are pretty cool.

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Mind your language « Bad MuthaBlogger
January 16, 2009 at 10:19 pm

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Wondermom January 13, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Yikes! I haven’t called the kiddos “butt face” yet but Squirt did yell out “Dammit Brother!” the other day. I usually try to blame these things on Daddy but that one’s all mine. I think he was just testing the waters…I didn’t react and he hasn’t said it again. Just imagine if you had two of them repeating every slip you make…Pork Chop doesn’t talk too much yet, but he is more and more by the minute. I’m just going to start duct taping my mouth when I get out of bed in the morning because that’s the ONLY way I’m going to stay out of trouble! None of my secrets are safe anymore!


Bad Mummy January 13, 2009 at 11:05 pm

The Mook over heard me say ‘no sh!t’ to a friend one night and turned it into a song…noshit, noshit, noshit. Thankfully it didn’t stick in her head for long.

I find that her language and diction is beyond the levels of other kids her age and put it down to the single parent/only child dynamic. I mean, I don’t have an adult to talk to at dinner, so I talk to her. She gets to hear about my day and I try and narrate our more boring activities (stuck in traffic, waiting in line, riding the streetcar, grocery shopping) and she’s simply picking it up.

It’s only a matter of time before she starts with the sarcasm.


Bridgette January 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Hahaha well buttface isn’t so bad so you shouldn’t feel so horrible. There are worse names to call a kid and I’ll probably slip up and call mine buttface a time or two.

My childs father calls his other son “little fucker”. Very pleasant right? I’ll be danged if he calls our baby that! lol


Kelly2 January 14, 2009 at 12:29 am

We’ve all slipped from time to time. Mine are 6 and 8 yrs old and I’ve allowed some doozies to slip out- I guess working with a bunch of construction guys rubs off some. It’s always fun when they repeat every last word you said either to the rest of the family or to complete strangers in line at the grocery store.

I ratted out my Mom when I was three- spilled my milk in my high chair and let loose with an “oh shit!” My Dad just looked at my Mom and they both laughed. So the prior generation did it too.

Don’t beat yourself up at all. It can lead to some funny stories for later on- write them down in the babybook when (not if) they do happen.


Pixie MAMA January 14, 2009 at 12:34 am

you’re fine, yes watch it but I can think of close to a 1000 things that are more damaging. My 6 year old son and 2 1/2 year old daughter are really into potty talk now. My little girl will run into the bathroom so she can be allowed to yell peepy face potty head of the top of her lungs. ( my rule pottie talk in the WC) and the other day I caught myself caling her poopy face come here….. that was 3 weeks ago and my son still holds it over my head.

But u know u r a great mom…and let’s be real we all slip… these are the small ones…hopefully we steer away from the big ones like telling them what an asshole their dad can be . I have done ok so far on that. and that’s why I can give me self some slack with the small stuff.

Just don’t let B ever feel your guilt…honest appology and move on.
like the world should be



L. January 14, 2009 at 2:06 am

I say keep on with the butt faces! I call my 5.5 many things whilst I verbally prod and poke her through the day, I reckon it keeps things playful and light and kind of inoculates her a bit from teasing – she doesn’t automatically assume if she’s called a name that it is mean spirited cause I do it in a friendly way that often gets her smiling and cooperating.

My favourite at the moment is “crankosaur” for the whinge, and when she was a toddler, I called her “a little terrorist”, rather than a little terror hahaha! Oh well, I amuse myself!


SingleParentDad January 14, 2009 at 3:11 am

Shut-up butt face!

That’s a fairly conservative slip in my book, a good one by the way. While I try to limit my ‘industrial language’ around my son, I think they will be exposed to it, and it is best that you are in control, and can explain why it is not good to use it, perhaps by telling yourself off.

I have been pretty proud of my own control these last four years, but have made the odd pretty horrendous slip. Like when we used to have to drive past a school to get to playgroup, there would always be a load of parents fannying around, and generally getting in the way. My son asked my about one of the delays we suffered, and I replied without thinking, ‘It’s because all these people are f***ing around’. Whoopsy. Luckily, never repeated.

And the balance/guilt thing was going to be my next blog post, expect a link.


Tricia January 14, 2009 at 5:33 am

My eleven-year-old and I always call each other ‘dork’ or ‘doofus’…I don’t think we’ve ever used ‘butt face’…’butthead’ is more this family’s style. He understands that it’s all in good fun, and he’s learned the nuances of when to use such names and when not to. When the time is right for such antics, we’ve busted a gut with each other over the crazy insults we’ve come up with.

And he’s a very well-adjusted, very mature, very AWESOME kid. I know I don’t have to tell you this…just make sure that you keep letting Benjamin know how awesome he is in those serious, non-butt-face-appropriate moments, and all should be well.

But I also have a two-year-old…so once again I’m in the same boat as you are, having to worry about how it’s received and dished out from such sweet little lips.


Laura January 14, 2009 at 5:53 am

When our frustration level has peeked unsavory phrases slip out. We have all done it in one form or another. All three of mine have felt the wrath of my tongue on occasion. If I feel I over stepped the line I do apologize and in turn all three have learned that sometimes they have to apologize as well.

The one thing I have always tried to do is reference their behavior and not the individual. Such as “Stop acting like a _____”. Many words have been placed in that blank :).


LTP January 14, 2009 at 7:06 am

Don’t beat yourself up too badly over “buttface”….not so bad in the grand scheme of things. What you do probably need to watch for–as some other folks have mentioned–is your conversational language or stuff you say (not directed at him)–once the talking starts to flow, they just become a sponge and will repeat everything.

Once, in traffic, someone cut me off and I said “Asshole!”….2 seconds later Henry says “asshole!”–yikes! I “corrected” him and said, “No honey…APPLEhole!”–it worked.

Currently I’ve been listening to Kings of Leon and of course their single on the radio, Sex on Fire, is on it–and Will loves the song–they both do really. Anyway, Henry asked me what they were saying and I said “She’s on Fire”…after listening to it, he said that wasn’t right. I played dumb….”really? oh, well maybe they’re saying ‘your set is on fire'”…..that one worked.

Anyway, my point is that we can’t stop living our lives and being who we are just b/c of our children–we just have to edit a little along the way!


MFilet January 14, 2009 at 7:17 am

I think it is funny and “ok”. There are worse things that you could have called your son or worse things you could have done, really there are. Don’t sweat it.

It is ironic that you brought up “balancing it all” as a single parent. It is one of the hardest things too do! For me it is losing my patience and wishing someone was there to tell me to relax, instead of having to tell myself…ahhhh, the joys of single parenthood, lol


JOLENE January 14, 2009 at 7:17 am

I work in a man based company. (98 men vs 2 women) so to say my launguage is worse then a trucker when I am at work is an understatement. When I started here two years ago I struggled with seperating my work and home talk so there were a few times when I do believe that I called my kids things I probably shouldn’t have but, you know what… it’s ok. We are single mom’s and as much as I would love for the world to believe that I am a perfect super mom, I’m not and I make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up over butt-face.


Kati January 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

That is hilarious. You could have called him a lot worse than butt face. My son is obsessed with trains right now too. For the first time in my life I do not mind getting stopped by a train. My son goes nuts.

You’re doing a great job, stop worrying.


Dawn January 14, 2009 at 8:29 am

Ohh .. trains are big. Elaborate expressions of life and adventure. Lately, everything on the planet is a symbol.

My first born was such a genius. I didn’t recognize it until my second son came along. I worried that son number two was behind … my gages were off. Second son was not behind in any definition. First born was above norm. Whatever ‘norm’ means?!

I’m so glad you share real moments here as a woman whose a mommy and bring light to these nuances you experience in life, these tiny clues and insights. They matter so much.


Tricia January 14, 2009 at 8:30 am

Hi! I found your website through Matt’s. I love your writing, humor and most of all your refreshing take on being a single mother. I am a single Mom to two kids and it is more than a full time job. I have a similar story to your friend Mia – my heart went out to her – after twelve years of marriage, my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. His words. It just hurts me for her, that she is at the beginning of this journey, but she will make it and she will be a better mother for it. (well, I am sometimes! 🙂

As for your comment to your son, that made me laugh. Some days things come out of my mouth that I can’t believe I said. Children forget. And forgive. (Thank God mine do anyway..) And your statement was actually funny, not harmful!

Thanks for your blog. I’ll keep reading. It’s good to know there are other Moms out there (albeit a little younger than me) who are struggling with the same issues as I do. I think we’re amazing, even though there are days when I feel like crying with the responsibility. 🙂 Nice to “meet” you!


T January 14, 2009 at 8:36 am

Ha! Sorry that I had to laugh at that. Butt face. That’s hilarious. You couldn’t laugh at yourself for letting that slip after the frustrating being-pulled-in-two-different-directions day you’d been having?

Thankfully you have a blog where you can admit this and see that you are not alone! We all slip, Alaina. We’re doing this on our own! Of course our limits will be tested and we’ll mess up… but gosh there are much worse things you could have said.

I’ve actually dropped f-bombs around my kids. Oops!

Funny, I wrote a similar post today about how our kids are exposed to things at an early age because we’re single parents. And how we have to fulfill so many roles… without beating ourselves up with guilt.

He’s healthy and happy. And you are too! You’re doing great!


jenn January 14, 2009 at 9:28 am

Sometimes I tell Shiloh that she’s mommy’s little brat (in a friendly way, not when I’m mad). The other day someone asked her what her name is and she said, “I’m Mommy’s little brat.” Oops. Haha. Sometimes it’s bad when they talk really well.

And I understand the guilt when the baby is sick. I feel guilty for missing work, but guilty for wishing I could be at work, guilty for not giving Shiloh my undivided attention… It’s a vicious cycle.


Zoeyjane January 14, 2009 at 10:15 am

I call Isobel a punk – again, in a loving way, not when angry. Unfortunately, she has taken to calling strangers in line a Starbucks the same, if they’re being flirty with her. At least I can blame her father for the fact that ‘oh f**f’ (in proper context) was her first two-word combo at 9 months.

I only swear in french 😛


Ali January 14, 2009 at 10:27 am

Ah ha ha ha! I have totally done this…and believe me, you will likely have moments where worse comes out of your mouth, at least I sure have. Forgive and forget…move on…celebrate that you and B have such direct, to-the-point communication.

When T was little we used to constantly play the “compound word game” where you trade off naming compound words. First time I had my boyfriend around him and we were driving someplace, playing the game T starts with doghouse, eyelash, etc. and then all of a sudden it is his turn and he blurts out….”ASSHOLE! ”

He was four. I about wrecked the car I was laughing so hard.

I said, “excuse me, what did you just say?” and without skipping a beat, he responded, “DUMPTRUCK!”

Now nine, we still play, and will at times take a “time out” to play a couple minutes of “naughty compound word” and it is hysterical. It always starts with my retelling him the story of the dumptruck/asshole episode and it sends him into a great fit of the giggles.

It’s a great way to allow him to say these ‘forbidden’ words, but keep them at bay in the context of normal conversation.


mssinglemama January 14, 2009 at 11:17 am

To the thought that we are NOT super heroes… check out that post I wrote for WeTV.

I think this is my manifesto.

And you’re all a bunch of a bunch of butt faces! Ha! I love you all. Thanks for reminding me that I’m allowed to screw up.


Kelly January 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm

LOL, buttface. It could have been a lot worse! I totally get what you mean about the dynamic between the two of you being more like siblings sometimes. It’s the same thing with my 12 yo daughter and I. I’ve called her a brat many times, but in a joking way,. I think it’s just easy to feel more comfortable with them when it’s just you two, and I definitely find things coming out of my mouth that I might regret because I got TOO comfortable.


Wyliekat January 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I’m worse than a parent who calls their child buttface. I’m the parent who thinks it’s hysterically funny that someone called their child buttface. ;-}


Christine January 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I’m pretty sure “Butt face” has come out of my mouth over the years. My boys are 15 & 13 now and I know that plenty of words have come out of my mouth some worse some not so much. LOL! I think it’s a single mom thing, but also a mom of boys thing! Although, I remember my mom being embarrased when I was about 5 or 6 and said her favorite cuss phrase “Damn Damn double Damn!” I think I would have gotten a little spank had it not been funny!

keep up the great work.. no one’s perfect, but as long as we love them and do the best we can, it’s all good in the end!


J-Fo January 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Does it make me a bad parent to admit that I just laughed hysterically over this?

You’re good. Benjamin’s lucky. The end.


O Solo Mama January 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Hilarious. Simone calls me “Tushie” all the time. If she’s in a good mood she calls me “Tushie-rocks”.


Aprille January 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Eh, your not a bad mom. We have all done it at least half a million times. Only once is not so bad. Just explain to your son that mommy said something bad and then put yourself in time out. Time out is wonderful! as a parent. Your son will see that naughty words have consequences, will be very adament about time out and you get 5 minutes of quiet in your room! 🙂


Jojo's Mama January 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Oh That’s Not Bad at All!

I have a mouth of a sailor, and I find myself explaining to Jojo’s that, what Mommy just said is only for Adults to say, quite to often, But I’m working on it… I too have a problem separating Friend from Mom, and even though He’s only three, he’s like my BFF, so I often talk to him like my lil buddy and not my son.

And it’s been like that since I gave birth to him… Really! When I was in Labor, As I was pushing and screaming, I actually Screamed out ” GET THIS CREACHOR OUT OF ME!” How awful was that huh?? LOL…

So Butt Face is Nothing…


cyndi January 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Eh, I spilled a feshly opened can of Coke in my car once and started yelling SHIT SHIT SHIT! Before I remembered the N-Man was sitting in the backseat. He looked at me and yelled SIT and started giggling! What are ya gonna do? I think we all slip up at some point and do it so don’t be so hard on yourself.

Maybe the eyelash donor will just use the new car to drive himself home.


littlemansmom January 14, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Butt face! What a scream! No worries angel…worse will come out eventually! LOL…If it’s any consolation my dad used to lovingly (and I mean quite lovingly from the heart because he is truly a great dad) call my youngest sister ‘rat faced child’….I was his ‘golden retriever’….yep…coulda been worse!


Laura January 14, 2009 at 10:51 pm

My kids and I often name call – I grew up in a house where our real names were rarely used – my dad still calls me weird and wonderful names!!

So sometimes when I trying to drag us all out the door a name or two may be said – they just call me something back and we all laugh!

It happens!


Heather January 15, 2009 at 6:48 am

My dad always used to threaten to sell us to the gypsies…but that’s about it. I don’t have personal experience with this yet!!

I also wanted to let you know that I tagged you for an award…check out my latest post. 🙂



melanie @ don't expect much January 15, 2009 at 12:35 pm

butt face is derogatory? {{scratching from my mommy vocab pronto}} live and learn… 😉

I love reading your story as far as the “almost absent” parent is concerned… we have lots in common… I’m ashamed to say it’s nice to know there is someone out there going through the same stupid acts by irresponsible men…


Star January 15, 2009 at 11:05 pm

In the movie “Happy Feet” the penguins say something like “See you later rubber butt” to the seal and that’s what I use. Not only is it sort of acceptable and was deemed acceptable by a kids movie writer but it also makes both of us crack up diffusing the situation that prompted me to say it in the first place 😉 Here’s to you are yours, rubber butt. 😉


Ann January 16, 2009 at 6:57 am

That’s not bad. Sometimes I joke around with my boys and call them poo-poo head.

And they laugh and say, “Mom, you’re silly!” But they know not to call others names because it’s not nice.

Can’t be as bad as naming your child, “Adolf Hitler”.


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