For the heck of joy!

by Sara Marchessault

I swear in front of my kids.

There, I said it.

And honestly for every time I actually swear, there are probably ten times that I catch myself before sharing an expletive that I know for sure would get me a phone call from the preschool should either of my two children repeat it.

I know I’m not the only mother out there who deals with this. As late 70’s babies, my peers and I were brought up in a world where we reap the benefits of the blood, sweat, and tears that other women shed for us in the name of feminism. We can vote. We can work and demand high salaries. We don’t have to quit our jobs when we get married or have babies. And we can swear, go out to bars, and stay single for as long as we damn well please. Smiling girl

However, should you decide to go down the road of motherhood, a few things change as you realize you are being watched and listened to all of the time. Swearing is one of them.

My husband switched gears like a champ. Almost as if a secret part of him was tired of having a mouth like a sailor and really wanted to say cutsie phrases like “jeez Louise” and “For the love of Pete!”

Thankfully he transitioned when our daughter was a baby. She has been declaring “For the love of Pete!” in both frustration and her own song and dance version since she was about fifteen months old.

I have managed to water down from a healthy, loud WTF to “what the hell?” and more recently “what the heck?” My husband thinks heck is okay. The preschool teachers might not be thrilled, but they may decide not to call about this word.

We recently learned it doesn’t matter if they would call upon hearing the word “heck” or not. Our daughter has created her own way to use the word “heck” and it’s so ridiculously adorable that it distracts adults from feeling like they need to nip it in the bud.

“For the heck of joy!”

That’s it, her very own combination of “what the heck” and “for the love of Pete!” Not sure where the “joy” comes from, but it’s a word she knows and likes, and can read and spell on her own.

Lately we’ve heard, “Mommy, what, for the heck of joy, is this?” as she points to a picture of a pizza shaped piñata in a food magazine. And of course,  “Jude, what for the heck of Joy do you think you’re doing?”

Yup, it’s pretty funny.

How about you? What are the words and phrases your kids have come up with? Share with us on Facebook here.

Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb: Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit or

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.