The tough questions parents face

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life90 Comments


I will be the first to admit that at times, my language usage is, how does one say, less than stellar.

But over the years, I’ve continued to try finding new ways to say old things—things that aren’t meant for 8- or 12-year-old ears. You follow, yes?

For example, I do not like to take the Lord’s name in vain. That said, I grew up in a house where you might have thought my first and middle name was, in fact, Jesus Christ, followed by a third name, Cathy. (Hi Mom and Dad! I love you!)

So my solution to this inappropriate but partially engrained "expletive" is that if and when it slips out, I simply add, in a much calmer tone, "… our Lord and Saviour." Somehow, I feel that is setting a better, more humane example and reaffirming a Zielske belief: don’t sully the name of Sweet Baby Jesus.

But one of the times when it’s hard to control my loose tongue is when I’m driving. Don’t get the wrong image of me; I’m not some road rage filled jerk hurling f-bombs at every passer by, but I really have a hard time with one aspect of driving: people’s lack of depth perception at four-way stops.

Now to me, the process is painfully clear. You stop, and quickly assess the situation: who got there first? Duh. But it seems that most drivers today have lost their ability to do this at four-way stops all across this great land of ours. And when this happens, it causes me to utter my most favorite of tame expletives in the following manner:

"It’s YOUR turn, dick weed!"

Now, if you break dick weed down, it’s not really a bad thing to say. Because if you were to take it one step closer to literal, it would be "penis wild plant growing where it’s not wanted." And I’m sorry, but that is SO not offensive. But then again, it’s also not as catchy.

I realize using a term like dick weed is possibly an unhealthy way to express the anger I feel at that moment, waiting for people to figure it out and just GO already. But really, most of the time, those people are NEVER going to hear me say it, so where’s the harm? Plus, this phrase is much more innocuous, than say, #$%@#& #&%#er. And it very likely won’t cause irreparable harm to my childrens’ budding collective sense of justice or decorum.

So last night, while driving home with the kids from Cole’s baseball game (where they handed the other team their heads on a 10-and-under platter), Cole asked two things: 1) Mom, can we go to Dairy Queen? and 2) Is it okay if I say dick weed?

After the laughter in the car died down, I basically just broke it all down for the kids, much as I have done here, pointing out that if you put it on par with saying "penis wild plant growing where it’s not wanted," it’s not THAT bad of a thing to say, considering today’s alternatives. And that really, let’s face it, it IS kind of funny. And all of this reaffirmed the answer I supplied:

"Just please don’t ever use it at school. "


Have a great weekend, blog readers. Also, some of you had questions about how classes at Big Picture work. There is a great faq that might answer a lot of those questions. Also, some of you asked if it would be a good class for digital scrapbookers, and my answer is: absolutely. This is a class about design, not on product or how you choose to assemble your projects.

Cathy ZielskeThe tough questions parents face

90 Comments on “The tough questions parents face”

  1. #1
    Julie Mitchell from Canada

    Who’s on first? Am I on first? I just may be first. Your post made me smile. I’ve often said that to my boys, “just don’t say it in school”!! So did you go to Dairy Queen? Love the photo. Made me smile. Have a great week-end. Canada Day for us next week!!

  2. #4
    Paula Barber

    Now THAT is the funniest thing I have read in a while. Thank you for the morning chuckle.

    You know, I think JC Cathy Z has a nice ring to it. If you were to need a good “Rapper” name for some reason.

  3. #5

    This is pretty good I have to say, great way to smooth that over. I too have a little problem with innappropriate terminology in front of my kids although I only have a 3 year old who is capable of repeating at this time. Our moment came when I had learned that our 3 year old picked up my term of “crotch” when her dad was playing with her and pinched her bottom that this line then blurted out “Dad leave my crotch alone” yes lets NOT say that in public.

  4. #6

    Oh.My.God. I can’t tell you how much I love coming to your blog. If this was real life we would so be friends, and I would refer to you affectionately, as I do so many of my friends, as a twitty bitch. I have no idea what it is to be twitty, but when they lose 10 pounds and I don’t, that’s how I congratulate them. Welcome to our club 🙂

  5. #8

    Thank you, thank you, Cathy, for giving me an explanation for when I slip and call another driver a dick-weed, and my daughter asks what it means! Thus far, I had been stumped, and just told her that it was something that only grown-ups could say when they were angry, LOL!

  6. #10
    Michele G

    I have a problem of letting words slip in the car also. My only way of explaining it to the kids is to say ‘you have to be 18 in order to swear’. While I know in 6 short years I will be in trouble, but for now I can swear and not feel so bad!

  7. #11

    honey you know I luv ya, but your son better not call my son a DW, ever. I’d be offended and that’s not to say I don’t use the occasional expletive.

    “who got there first?”

    and speaking as one who has a student driver in the house… it whoever stops first and then the person to THAT person’s right… frequently people just go at whoever stopped first, it’s so annoying…

    ok now, I’m done MUAH

  8. #12

    LOVE IT. I have given my son SO many of those less than stellar, yet oh-so-not-so-bad little gems (such as “colder than a witches titty” and “Oh for Gods sake, can’t we just…”). When Aiden asks about saying them himself, my reply is “This word/phrase is a little rude. Not as rude as some things you could say. But I don’t recommend saying it in front of your teacher or other random adults.” Of course, I guess that might make him the hit of the playground saying back the rude things his mother taught him.

  9. #13

    You crack me up! I too am a mommy with potty mouth while I am driving. I really try to behave but some people are just idiots, to be nice. I learned a new phrase for a dick head that isn’t so obvious to kids. Call them a Richard Noggin. I thought that was cute so when the hubby ticks me off in front of the kids I just call him that and they have no clue. Have a great weekend!

  10. #14

    “Oh for Jesus…” was a bad habit I passed onto my daughter…We both decided it wasn’t “nice” so being Minnesota Twins fans, we now say “oh for Joe Mauer..” (he’s the cute catcher my dd has had a crush on for the past 3 years) Its the little things, right?? 🙂

  11. #15
    katie scott

    I say “goodness gracious” instead of the f-word now (well at least most of the time). I also say God Bless America instead of OMG, or sometimes, Oh My God Bless America.

    My sister Jenny has a super funny story about when her boy, River, was a little one – he asked her if it was ok to say “Duck Head” because he’d heard his Daddy say it in the car. And she said technically it was ok but probably not at school (like you did). And then River said “But its not ok to say F*** Head right?” I think he was 3 or 4 at the time.

  12. #16

    That is classic. I laughed so hard! It kinda reminded me of me!

    Regarding the Class. I can’t wait!! I took Stacy’s Library of Memories class and the Photo class and I can’t wait for yours!! I have both your books and I LOVE them. Hopefully I will “get it”. It all makes perfect sense when I’m reading but when I try to implement on a page…not so great. I’ll be waiting for sign up! Thanks for making my day!!

  13. #17

    reminds me when my grown son was about Cole’s age he asked if he could say a cuss word. we said sure, preparing our ears for the worst. all he said was, “get the hell out of here!” I tell you – if I’d been given permission to say one cuss word it would have been THE cuss word.
    Dick weed. I love it!

  14. #18
    Jen D.

    The tears of laughter are rolling down my face! I, too am guilty of letting inappropriate words slip in front of my boys. I actually put myself in time out the other day to show my oldest that I was wrong – and the chance to sit down -but he doesn’t need that info.! I used to teach and was so afraid I’d slip in front of my students – my solution was to make up my own curse word that way if I slipped the kids wouldn’t understand what I meant but I would! Have a great weekend! Looking forward to your class on BPS!

  15. #19
    Kat (Lovebug Kat)

    That is too funny!
    How is that we both use the same word “dick weed” to describe the exact same situation??
    How freaking complicated is it to count to 4 and figure out when it is your turn? Geesh…..
    I am diligently working to clean up my driving language and have taken to making up words, which can be fun, but hard to explain to 1st grade teachers when your 6 old repeats them (things like pufferduck and duck dodger can be so easily misinterpreted or mispronounced) YIKES-A-BEE! LOL

  16. #20
    Heather H.

    I have some choice language I’ve been trying to tone down in the car also. Because my son is 2 I don’t want him to think that HE is the one I’m yelling at! I really don’t want him thinking his name is “dillhole”.

  17. #21

    Being the mom of three boys I can totally relate! My husband is usually the one giving permission and saying “dont say it at school or around girls.” Thanks for the laugh today!

  18. #22

    You made my day, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. I am going to scrap a page about the “penis wild plant growing where it’s not wanted.”

  19. #23
    Sandra @ The Memory Workshop

    hahahaha! As a fellow (mild) potty mouth parent (and offspring of some potty mouthed parents and grandparents), I can totally relate.

    We try hard, we really do. But the efforts are wasted when your 2 and a half year old says, “Crist sakes Dad!” We decided she’d had one too many sleepovers at Grandma’s, sitting on Grandma’s lap while she attempted to navigate the internet. Apparently there’s a learning curve to online poker.

  20. #24
    Kelli Johnson

    there are so many reasons to love you…let me count the ways:
    1. brutal honesty! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.
    2. Healthy reasons to use profanity.
    3. a very basic definition of the term “Dick weed” and your right it honestly can’t offend!

    I shared this with my husband who I expect will be passing this on to his guy’s group!

  21. #27

    I personally cannot WAIT to see Robin’s page. Quoting Robin:
    ” I am going to scrap a page about the “penis wild plant growing where it’s not wanted.”

    Thank you for some wonderful Friday humor (I was suffering from layout saturation anyway!)

  22. #28

    I have taken to saying “Dill Weed” still has the “di..” but doesn’t make me think of male genitalia, lol

  23. #29

    Okay. First of all, at least he asked permission! Second, my story: My dad’s name is Richard. He calls himself Dick. I won’t even get into the years of teenage humiliation I endured as my dad would thrust out his hand to people and exclaim, “Hi! I’m Dick!”


    Now, as an adult, I usually don’t call people “dicks.” Except when I’m telling my dad a story about idiot drivers or cashiers and then, I almost ALWAYS say, “He was such a DICK!!!….ohhh, sorry Dad!”

    End of story. I feel better now. Cleansed really. Thanks Cathy!

  24. #30

    Ha, you made me laugh..I have come up with a few of my own words to use around the kiddos like “popsicles”, “Son of a Barbie” “Farfignugen” “Crimony” and more.

  25. #31
    sue Treiber

    I love coming up with creative swear words. With an 8 & 10 year old, you have to if you don’t want them to sound like sailors.
    My son was really into ‘weiner’ for awhile, unitl I called it ‘twig and berries’ which he found way funnier and always ellicits a laugh from any eavesdropping adult. God bless Mike Meyers.
    As for sailors, we watch a lot of ‘Deadliest Catch’ at my house. I doubt there isn’t a term my kids haven’t heard!

  26. #32

    hahahahahahaha! That one is classic!!! I am finding myself say “crapsticks” a lot. I have to watch it around my nieces and nephews, because I don’t even WANT to try and define THAT one!

    I used to work in a kids’ group home, and we would discipline for bad words spoken by putting the offendor on a “time out” for a few minutes. Well, one day, I was driving a van full of them, and (given the state of drivers), let the “s” word out. well, the kids went nuts over that. so…just to be fair, I let them put ME on a time-out when we got back to the house.

  27. #33

    That is too funny!!! I also have a slight problem with “word enhancers”….or so my husband tells me:-) It always seems to happen in the car, and my words aren’t nearly as nice as dickweed!!!!

  28. #34
    Lorrie Spotts

    hahahahahahaha!!! Yesterday my neighbor and I were discussing this exact topic. She has used “Jesus Christ” through her lifetime and cannot break the habit. So, after she heard her first born use this when she was only 2, she decided to add “loves the little children” and now everyone can say that anywhere. I am lucky. My habit always only talks of a “Good Lord” and how bad can that be taken?

  29. #36

    My most frequently used, slightly softened curse is “arse biscuit”. It cracks my twelve year old up every time it slips out of my mouth. Thankfully I haven’t heard it slip out of HIS mouth yet.

  30. #37

    no offense here….but now when ever i will say or hear “dick weed” i will think of you. you crack me up!

  31. #38

    i’m married to a dick…ummm, I mean a richard, so i can’t really use that term.
    but oh how i wish his parents had named him something different or had the good sense to call him rich or rick…geez, what the hell were they thinking?
    but then when my clueless mother-in-law wanted to name their second son, peter, my father-in-law had the good sense to realize that having kids named dick and peter would not be a good thing. why he didn’t think of that in the first place is a mystery?!
    funny thing is, we named one of our kids peter…but he goes by pete.

  32. #39

    Oh Cathy, I love you – here I was a few weeks ago, my 8 year old in the back seat…and somebody completely took me by surprise, one of these California transplants who can’t drive in the Seattle drizzle, and an f-bomb slipped out. My girl, in the back seat, quite calmly: “ummm….Mom? I’m not so sure F@#% is a word…”

  33. #41
    Angie S

    So as I think about the word “dickweed” as you discribed it(which is a term I also use on occasional). I would assume this is mostly voiced to a male driver (well I do anyway). What would be a term we could use for a female driver that gets under our skin??? LOL

    p.s. wonderful blog post!!!!

  34. #42

    Oh my gosh! I use the term dickweed all the time. I never had anyone ask me what it meant, but I love your definition. I never heard anyone else use it and don’t recall when I started to use it; only that I couldn’t use any stronger language. As for your class, count me in!

  35. #45
    Beth McCaa

    you make me laugh. HARD. 🙂 you should get a load of the drivers in florida. talk about bad depth perception. you should hear the things that come out of my mouth when an 85 year old waits until the last possible second to pull out in front of me when he’s only been watching my car come toward him for the last 500 feet.

  36. #46

    LOL! About dick weed being better than ^#$%^ ^%$^&er.

    I mutter under my breath sometimes when watching the news, “Ah, shut the F up.” And I say F and not F***.

    My DD, all of 4 years of age, was so exasperated at her older brother one day, she said, “Shut the…” brief pause…”…D up!” My mother was not impressed, even if she did choose the wrong letter.

  37. #47

    That made me laugh so hard I nearly wet myself! Hilarious! My favorite family expletive is from my grandma (may she rest in peace) – “Oh fer heavenly shits”. Yes, she is from northern MN hence the “oh fer” & you may use that one whenever you like. 🙂

  38. #49

    This was just so funny. Mainly because this is exactly how “Jack weinner” got it’s start in our car. Too too funny. Thanks I needed that! (My kids have used Jack weinner – it was hard not to laugh when the teacher called me in… ah, the joys!)

  39. #50
    Kim Pitcher

    Your timing is perfect! Just last night my boy said a bad word. It started with an “F”! I got mad and tried to leave an impression, but it didn’t work because I head him say it slyly to his sister today. Anyway, I read this earlier at work today and started laughing because it was so fitting. My co-worker asked what I was laughing about so I told him what happened and read a bit of your post and he thought it was pretty funny too.

    BTW, I say dick wad. so I guess that would be penis in chewed up and spit out gum or something. lol!

  40. #51
    Kim Pitcher

    Your timing is perfect! Just last night my boy said a bad word. It started with an “F”! I got mad and tried to leave an impression, but it didn’t work because I head him say it slyly to his sister today. Anyway, I read this earlier at work today and started laughing because it was so fitting. My co-worker asked what I was laughing about so I told him what happened and read a bit of your post and he thought it was pretty funny too.

    BTW, I say dick wad. so I guess that would be penis in chewed up and spit out gum or something. lol!

  41. #53

    I have a 6 year old daughter who would catch you and call you on it if you said a bad word. My Mother in law called someone a butthead while driving and my daughter told her that wasn’t nice to say. I call people “bibby boppy boos” like in Cinderella…so if she repeats after me, I don’t get phone calls from teachers or daycare! Usually she starts singing the song in the back seat and has no idea why she has that song in her head!

  42. #54

    that was so funny. thanks for the laugh! i like to say jack nut. its sounds like it gonna be bad, but its not. and you get the whole name calling out of your system. we have little ears around our house that like to say EVERY-THING so we have to be pretty careful!

  43. #56

    In the words of my 3 yo…oh my JOSH! You are hysterical…love the dick weed reference…I (full armed potty mouth ready to erupt) have been forced to edit my vocabulary of rated-R curse words for 9 years (age of child 1.0)…it’s so hard!!! Especially now that he’s 9…I only wish my younger two weren’t 5 and 3 and I could use some age appropriate curses…also thank you for letting me write (say in my head) dick weed. I already feel better.

  44. #57

    Oh Cathy, you are SOOOOO funny. I, too, find myself talking to other drivers who have no chance of hearing me! I know this, because my 3 year old pointed out to me that I wasn’t speaking loud enough…bless her.
    Great explanation of your word, too. Must remember that one.

  45. #59

    I refer to the four-way stop as the Minnesota IQ Test.

    My favorite alternatives to dickweed lately include:


    I have anger issues.

  46. #60

    my dear best friend calls her ex-husband Richard Noggin – break it down…it’s the nicer way to say what she really wants to!!

  47. #61

    HaHa!!! Too funny!
    When my older brother was about 3, he called my mother a f*cker head. Being the nurse that she is, she clincally explained what “f*ck” meant and all the of male/female details of it, to take the mistique away from the bad word. After patiently waiting through the explanation, my brother calmly told her “Ok then, Momma, you’re a vagina head!” Outta the mouths of babes!

  48. #62

    Ass-hat — that’s what we call the women drivers. “Easy there, ass-hat.” Or “It’s your turn, ass-hat.”

    Unfortunately I myself have mastered the art of making “You freaking MORON!” sound like the most hideous curse ever uttered, and now my son wants to know if he can say “moron.” And “not at school” is always my standard reply. I can’t wait till he calls ME a moron.

  49. #63
    jennifer Compton

    seriously. could you stop it? my bladder is old and apparently not as firm as it used to be. (a firm bladder?)

    but it does make me feel better about saying *fart knocker* in front of my daughter. it really helps when *F* makes it’s way through your lips.

  50. #65

    Oh, I love this post, so funny and so familiar! One particular moment that comes to mind involved my husband saying “Jesus” out loud, not realising our 2 year old was in the room – to which little Callum retorted “I’m not Jesus!”
    I have to add that this was one of the only times I’ve heard my husband say that word and what a choice time!

  51. #66

    My kids have heard worse, unfortunately, and now I’m trying to decide if they can use “frak.” ‘Cause Battlestar Galactica has simply taught me how to be profane in a public setting. 😉

  52. #68

    ok cathy…rofl does not do this justice!! i am rolling on the floor laughing hysterically with streams of tears flowing down my cheeks!!
    i am also the mother of a now 10 year old boy that loves to say what mom says (ie: uh-oh!); it could be worse, he could be copying dad! i love your blog! your stories are so similar to mine at times!

  53. #71

    I have now started running into my kiddos saying my adjustment to “Shut UP!” I say, “Shut your mouth!” I thought this was pretty tame until the other day when I hear dd yell, “Shut your mouth!!!” at her little bro……We are now both trying to stop saying that.!

  54. #73
    Kim M

    We try to stick with “Tartar sauce” or “dill week”…not quite as satisfying, but it works.

  55. #76

    Ah, yes! Cursing in front of the children. Deal with it everyday especially since hubby is from Jersey (part of the vernacular). I live in an upper scale gated community and apparently the rule is the person with the most expensive car has the right of way! Pisses me off and leads me into temptation every day. Don’t feel you are lone sweetie!

  56. #77

    Love this! I recently was on a field trip with my Brownie Troop and in the car called another driver a “butt head” before I could stop myself….oops…only my child laughed…she is used to much worse! heaven only knows what they told their mothers…

  57. #78
    Amy H

    Holy crap this made me laugh! I called my husband in to read it to him and even he cracked up. That is so familiar in our house 🙂 I just could never describe it as funny as you do. You are a very talented writer!!

  58. #79

    Hey Cathy, maybe Dick Weed is a tourist. My visit visit to the US I was totally confused by this “who arrived first and who goes first” rule. I don’t think that happens anywhere else in the world. I said to my US friend who was driving, “but how do you know when it is your turn”. She said “you just do”. I guess Dick Weed’s do not. LOL

  59. #82

    OMG……..(**warning-do not read this if you’re easily offended!**)…but Larry the Cable guy says the problem with planting the Dickweeds next to the Pussy Willows is that you end up with a bunch of Kumquats! (Ewwwwwwwwww…sorry…sorry…sorry…just had to share!)

  60. #83

    you are my kind of Mama. We can’t always control what we say in the heat of the moment but can reflect back and say “I was right in saying what I said, That driver was a @#$%$, but don’t repeat it to anyone younger then you!”
    thanks for the early morning chuckle.

  61. #84

    OMG – you totally made diet Coke come out of my nose and made me laugh out loud…and at work, yet, when i should NOT have been surfing!!

    my swear story: the nephew was playing Yaztee with his mom, and doing very well, when it was his turn to roll. as he did, he said, while shaking the dice, ‘mommy, i’m gonna kick your assss, er BUTT.’

    he’s 7.

    when he saw mommy’s face, the butt came out really quick. but when mommy told him that unless she was a donkey, that was a bad word, he burst out crying and ran upstairs, upset that he called his mommy an ass.

    not that mommy’s brothers haven’t done it before.

  62. #85

    thanks – I seriously needed that laugh! Reminds me of my then nearly 2yr old daughter who upon hearing the smoke detector going off, exclaimed “oh F…, oh F…” to which I replied, that’s not very nice (thinking, did I teach her that). She thought for a second and announced “oh crap!”. Much proud – one v.proud mamma moment.

  63. #86
    Dori Anvinson

    Cathy – You make me smile and/or laugh out loud every day. Today was no exception. I read your post outloud to my coworkers – one of whom thought his name growing up was – God Dammit Larry! : )

    Have a great day!

    Dori in Northern Minnesota

  64. #88

    I can honestly tell you that nothing is ever really a bad word until you hear a kid say it. Then it sounds like the worst thing ever. I used to say Schnikeys instead of Shit, but the moment my 9 yr old ss said it. I stopped. I also say Son of a – and I don’t finish it. Have the kid say that and I am completely embarrassed. So now I just don’t cuss around kids (as often as humanly possible).

  65. #89
    L. in South Carolina

    OMG! For the longest, I thought I was the only one who uses the term dick weed. I too suffer from a serious bout of road rage, and that term….along with others….appears quite often. =D

    You Go Girl!!!

  66. #90

    I found this website looking to see if anyone had referred to their ex as dick wad…. but I love the explanation of dick weed even better. And better yet- I can STILL refer to him as DW and get away with it!

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