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July 31, 2021

What's With All the Swearing Mommy Bloggers?

What gives? Is the blogosphere some sort of 5th-grade playground where we need to impress each other with how cool we can be by throwing in the F-word every few paragraphs?

As a journalist for magazines and newspapers for the past 14 years, I've always enjoyed the challenge of coming up with (or at least trying to come up with) just the right word to describe something in an article. And for the publications I work with, profanity isn't an option.

But now that I've been blogging on Parent Talk Today for a year, I've had a chance to check out a LOT of so-called mommy blogs. (I hate the term, but that's what everyone seems to want to call them.) Many are creative, fun, informative and even addictive. But a surprising number of them are written by women who apparently find the need to swear like sailors.

I recently attended the BlogHer conference in San Francisco, and in a final "community keynote," 20 or so women bloggers (and one guy) got up on stage, in front of about a thousand people in a huge ballroom, and read their favorite blog post. (The posts were chosen by a committee in advance. And these weren't all mommy bloggers on stage, but many were.)

Sure enough, a few of the posts contained some pretty raw language. And in looking around the room, I saw mixed reactions. Personally, I was just sad that these otherwise truly talented writers had settled for cheap shock value.

In so many blogs that I've read lately, it just seems as if the writers are taking the lazy way out. But, using the currently popular acronym, WTF do I know?

Yes, yes, yes. Free speech. Freedom of expression. The ability to share our true feelings in our blogs and to tell it like it is. It's all important. But why the potty mouth? Is it necessary?

Hey, sometimes I let loose with a swear word or two in my daily life. (Lately, they seem to be reserved for people who run stop signs.) I'm not advocating that we all become Pollyanna here. But when it comes to writing articles and this blog, I have too much respect for my audience to go there.

So please tell me, if you're a mommy blogger who likes to turn the blogesphere blue fairly frequently: What's the attraction in including the F word (and, in some cases, much more) in your posts?


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I'm truly deflated by the cheap and vulgar talk all around us. Sorry, but there is rarely an excuse for using blue language, and it's becoming increasingly meaningless when it becomes so commonplace. I wonder if these mom bloggers ever wonder, or even care, how their own foul mouths are influencing their own kids? Do they want to hear their kids speaking this way? Obviously kids copy what they hear, and how sad for our society that gutter talk is becoming "the way it is." It doesn't have to be that way.

Hmmm...I'm not a mommy blogger in the truest sense of the term, but I do blog about my life and experiences. I don't use blue language in my posts (though I sometimes use it in real life...). I find it a little bit jarring when I see it in other blogs. It always disrupts the flow of what I'm reading.

I can see circumstances where it might be used, but to use it as a space-filler, to up the cool ante or simply as an adjective feels unnecessary to me. But that's just me.

Judy, you make a great point. And what happens when the blogger's kids get older and start reading some of the posts Mom wrote when they were young? They'll be sooo proud.

Dara, you're right. It disrupts the flow, and I do think many of these women re trying to up the cool ante. (Back to 5th grade again...) Well put!

Even though my regular writing genre is humor, I find nothing funny about gutter talk. And as a mom (of four) I'm even more concerned about how it debases our society. I even wrote two special, downloadable reports on how to keep young kids from picking up the swearing habit, as well as one geared for parents of teens to help discourage them once the habit has begun, and they are available on the store page of my web site. I interviewed many experts for this, including the man who runs the "Cuss Control" web site and educational program. I just hope people get fed up with this and want to really try for a "kinder, gentler" society.

Not a mommy blogger but I have a pregnancy blog so I do read mommy blogs off and on. I agree with you so very much.

I feel much the same way about comedy. I'm not above swearing; I definitely do it myself. But, to swear for the sake of it - what's funny about that? I feel the same way about the mommy blogs that do that. Unless they have really compelling information or are very entertaining, I don't go back.

Judy, I love that there's a "cuss control" website! Who knew? Thanks for letting us know about your downloadable reports for parents, too. Very cool.

Marijke, I don't tend to go back to those, either. And yet... some of the mommy blogs that are SO successful, are raking in the big bucks, etc. are full of profanity. Go figure.

I am an editor of a publication. I also believe that so-called "blue" language is inappropriate——99.99% of the time. But sometimes, and very rarely, the occasion calls for exactly such a word. But it has to be reserved for that special time and an appropriate place or it loses its punch. While I wouldn't publish it in my magazine, I could see the potential of putting it my blog. Never say never.

Okay, so I'll be the voice of mild dissent. I think that blogs should be raw and open. To me, blogging is a medium unlike so many others that are scrubbed of emotion and truth. Most of us use salty language from time to time IRL. Why not in our blogs?

I disagree that profanity is necessarily the mark of a lazy writer. Sometimes, maybe. More often than not, possibly. But there are times when a well-placed expletive drives home a point like nothing else. It is jarring. That's the point.

I get what you're saying, Kathy, Dara, and Judy. But, who among us -- immersed in the nicey-nice world of play dates, boo-boos, Laurie Berkner songs, and Sesame Street -- hasn't wanted to scream, just once, "Oh, EFF OFF, Elmo!" at that screechy little voice that so grinds the nerves? :)

I have a couple of blogs and I'm about to comb thru them to look for the "blue" language. I have to say I'm with Gwen here. One of my favorite words is the F word, although I do reserve it for when it's particularly apt. You will get attention with that one for sure. And a blog is one of those places that when you're completely immersed in all things Mommy and "sweet" you just want to talk like a grown up (sailor) and say all the words you were dying to scream all day. It's kind of like that one girlfriend you have where you can completely confide in and say, "If I hear the word Mommy one more time I'm going to lose it." She knows you still love your kids.. you're just getting it out. I'm ok with that. Now, if they swore like this in front of my kids, we'd have a problem. But, on the blogosphere? I'm ok with that too. Mom's have too many freakin' "perfect" demands on them--it's nice to know we don't REALLY have to be perfect. It's just too fking hard sometimes. :)

What has happened to ‘eloquence’ in our communication? To me stooping to profanities to add punch to a line falls into the same category as four year olds entertaining themselves with potty words.

I'm actually a big fan of the f-word. I love it. I rarely say it out loud but it is in heavy rotation in my head. I don't think less of a blogger (mommy or otherwise) if she drops an f-bomb at an appropriate time. If it's every other word I don't care for it, because it's such a magnificent, special word to me, and should be treated as such. I don't find it offensive though.

I don't think I've used it in my blog, but I don't rule out doing so if the time is just right.

Glad to see you raise the issue! I think you hit it on the head with the "cheap shock value" --and it's not just swearing, it's a general vulgarity. It's part of the ex-rock-star-mommies-who-drink sensibility in which the oversharing and lazy language come off more like a pathetic attempt to hang onto look-at-me hipsterness than like candor and heartbreaking honesty.

It's what happens in world where editors are moot. Is that bad or good? A little of both, I'd say.

Sure people are free to say whatever they want on their own blogs. Have at it. What's really shocking is how many readers aren't bugged, judging by the readership size of some of the bigger offenders.

Then again, mothers walk around looking like abject slobs and curse in public in front of kids these days so you could call it a reflection of general societal degeneration!

Now, flame away!

I am torn on this one. I actually posted on my blog recently that sometimes I feel like my blog will never be really popular/well-read because I'm not particularly edgy on it, don't drop the f-bomb, etc. I just don't feel comfortable going there on my blog, even though I've been known to cuss in real life (a lot, sometimes, in certain company). I have read some blogs in which the cussing is forced, unnecessary and makes me squirm...but for some writers it almost seems like a fine art. It's like stand-up comedy: I've seen comics who toss around the F-word without discernment, and it's annoying. But then I watch someone like George Carlin, and crack up...something about his useage is so perfectly timed, used to punctuate a point...it just WORKS!

So there's my &#*&##@ non-answer.

I don't know...cussing if used creatively is fine by me.

And I have a terrible potty mouth..but worse in real life than on line.

My kids are young and THEY tell me not to say bad words..

I do not think a child would think any less of their parents for using bad words..specially when older reading the stuff.

Rude for rude sake..no...but if it works..why not?

I do agree that like the sullen youths and potty mouthed rappers...f-bombs don't really cause much fuss when used over and over and over..so then yes creativity is required.

Your comments strike home with me! I wrote a sex and aging book and continue to write a sex and aging blog. Even talking about sex, I keep the language respectful -- I don't want to risk offending my audience as we talk about intimate matters.

My book was reviewed by one (young) reviewer who peppered and salted her review with street language. I was so embarrassed because the review made it sound like the language was mine.

But talking about mommies: A friend of mine was in the car with her 4- or 5-year-old son when a car cut her off, and she resorted to the language that felt appropriate in the moment. Her child objected, "Please, Mommy, no s--- or f--- words, just drive!"

I agree with you one hundred percent.

It's not just blogs. I was reading articles on a website and noting that the articles with the most number of hits were the ones with "blue" language--especially when used in the headline. You have to wonder if the F-word and the S-word have become the best way to get attention.

I can see WHY it would get attention. People are drawn to what we're "not supposed" to do or say or be.

I used the title "Wet Dreams" for one of my posts on my travel blog recently (http://www.thephoenixtraveler.com) and was told by a fellow blogger off-list, "Wow, you should get a lot of hits with that one." Then someone else told me how offended they were with the title.


I'm not a fan of cuss words. I only use them when I'm RRRREALLY angry, and that's so rare. But that's how I associate such language. I learned that as a child. So you can see, it's just perspective. You can't know what the sensibilities are of all your readers. But, when used appropriately and not just for the sake of attracting readers, I think cuss words and other phrases with double meaning can work--and can be fun. Overused, however, or used out of anger, can be uncomfortable and pointless for the reader. You really do want to keep the reader in mind.

What do you think?


I'm very careful not to curse on my web site, because I have a following of tween girls, including my nurse, who read it because they think it's funny. I warn that one of my blogs is PG-13, but I still tend to bleep out the @#$! and the !$@@.

Besides, the only time I really feel compelled to curse is when talking about cancer, which deserves it, frankly.


that's just what I was thinking. I used to write for a cancer magazine and it was the one place I allowed the F-bomb to fly -- because the interviewed women really felt it and it felt right. Let's face it, dying is a major &$#%

Blogs I think ought to have 'tude, but if you're a mommy, you need to remember: What if your kids use your computer, find your blog? What are they learning from you?

I appreciate the point that some are offended by the language. But I do get sort of offended myself by the point of "what if your kids see it?" How is that specific to "mom bloggers?" How many bloggers are out there who happen to be parents but are men? Do we ask the same question of them? If it just an issue of "mommy" is in the blog title?

Also, if my kids are old enough to be cruising the internet (and it's my responsibility to make sure that they're not doing it before they're mature enough) they certainly will know that Mom occasionally curses. I never cursed around my kids when they were young and learning to talk.

But by the time they're old enough (in my opinion) to be web-surfing, around age 11, we're sort of in a different place. These days if I stub my toe I don't try too hard to swallow the profanity.

Quite honestly, I don't curse (as far as I remember) on my blog, but there are other things on that I could make the same argument about. I have a blog entry about a statue of a monkey who appears to be masturbating. If my kid came across that and had a question we'd discuss that. I don't worry specifically about my kids seeing what I write as long as I'm proud of it myself. If I'm not willing to stand by I don't hit post.


Good post. I'm bothered by the same concerns. My guess is some moms use that kind of language because they see blogging as a place to vent. They may not use that language out loud.

Let's face it. Moms have a big influence on the state of society because we have the most influence on the next generation, good and bad. As we used to say, "When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" We have power. What we say has power and influence.

I don't like the term mommy blog either. I like to say parent blog. But that doesn't sound good. Any suggestions?

Hahaha. I wrote "nurse" when I meant niece. I spend too much time in doctor's offices.

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