*Originally published May 18, 2021

When my 4-year-old son, Ryan, started repeating some of the inappropriate language that he would hear, I made an effort to nip it in the bud, immediately!

It wasn’t his fault, of course.

Ah hem….

It was mine.


I have a potty mouth like you wouldn’t believe!


You didn’t expect to hear that about me, huh?

Well, it’s true.

And I know, for a fact, that there are other parents out there that just can’t shake the swearing thing.

It’s a habit that is hard to break.

The Realization

Before, when Ryan would repeat an inappropriate word, I would tell him not to say that word.

But he didn’t understand why he couldn’t say it and mama could.

(Mama shouldn’t!)

And then, I would be stuck trying to explain why he shouldn’t say it, even though I was in no mood, at the moment, to be doing that.

I finally realized that I should allow him some “swear” words, but ones that would be more appropriate for him to say.

And not just the typical, “darn,” “dog-gone,” or “fooey.”

Something…much closer to what mama was saying.

Mama Word/Ryan Word

The next time that he let a dirty word pop out of his mouth, I told my son that that (the swear word that he repeated) was a “mama word.”

Then, I made up something quickly to replace it.

Something that he could say and ONLY he could say.

Something special just for him.

So, when I said, “Holy sh**”

And he repeated, “Holy sh**”

I said, “Ryan, that is a Mama Word. Only mama can say that. You can say, “Holy shirt.”

“Hoh-wee-shirt?!” he asked.

“Yup! Holy shirt.”


Now, whenever I let one slip, he states his special word instead of stating mine!

What is really cute is when I repeat his word.

I might say, “Yeah, Ryan, you’re right! Holy shirt!”

He says, “No, mama, that’s a Ryan Word. You can’t say that.”

Seeing how well this worked, I started to put more thought into these!

In order to prepare me for future slip-ups, I have come up with replacement words for most of our adult swear words.

Replacement Words

Here is the list, in case you are a swearaholic, like me, and would like to try the same with your little ones!

Here it goes:

  1. Holy Sh** = Holy Shirt!

  2. That Pisses Me Off! = That Pickles Me Off!

  3. Son of a B**** = Son of a Witch!

  4. God D*** It = Got Sandwich! (Emphasize the word “Got.” It helps!)

  5. Mother F***** = Mother Frogger!

  6. Damn = Sand!

  7. Damn It =  Sandwich!

  8. A** = App!

  9. A**hole = Apple!

  10. H*** = House! 

  11. Jesus Ch**** = Cheese and Crust!

  12. F*** = Frog!

  13. What the F***! = What the Frog!

  14. What the H*** is going on! = What in the House is going on!

If you are a really bad swearer, and you string swear words together (like I do when I am really heated), you can replace them all just the same.

For example, if you say (okay, you might want to cover your ears here!):

“God D***, mother f*******, a**hole!”


Go ahead.

Criticize and judge me.

Tell me that I am the worst mother in the world!

Go on!


Mind you, I do not purposely say these in front of my kids.

I usually mumble them to myself.

But, sometimes, if we are in the car and someone pulls out in front of me and almost gets us killed, then I am saying it!

With a blare of the horn, too, I might add!

So, there.

Are you done criticizing me now?

Can I move on?


String Example:

Ok, so for the example above, you can say:

“Got Sand, Mother Frogger, Apple!”

And it is all in the way that you place the inflection on certain parts of the words.

Go ahead and try it!

“GOT Sand, Mother Frogger, Ap-PLE!”


Does that make you feel better?

Now, what is even better here is if you can learn to replace THE swear words with THESE swear words yourself!

But that’s a lot of work.

And pretty quick thinking in the moment.

Plus, if you are swearing in the first place, the last thing that you probably even care about is trying to remember to say “the right thing.”

But, at least you can teach these to your kids so that they don’t get sent to the principal’s office at school or you don’t get called into the classroom after school for a “talk.”

In fact, if your children are a little older, you can write these on a white board and post it in the kitchen as a reminder of the special words that they can say.

If you are looking for a great board this way, you can find one here!

*Some of the links within this post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase an item, I receive a small compensation from certain items.

Fair Warning!

I might add, however, that these words do sound quite a bit like the swear words.

So, be prepared for some looks!

Since the start of the pandemic, we only eat with relatives outside in our garage and at a great distance.

The one day, we were eating dinner at our table (6 feet from all of the other tables and relatives).

My son dropped a piece of his cake and shouted, “Holy shirt!”

Everyone stopped and looked!

I was not embarrassed at all by it because I knew that he did not say what they thought that he said!

I simply replied, “He said ‘holy shirt.'”

And then I went on to explain the new swear word policy in our home and my family seemed satisfied with my response.

They went on eating.

So, word of warning…

You may want to prepare yourself for such instances.

Hope this Helps!

Regardless, I hope that this helps you and your family, since you more than likely cannot help yourself if a nasty word comes flying out of your mouth when little ears are around.

Oh sh**!

I mean, “oh shirt!”

I forgot to take the trash out!


I mean, “Sand.”

Well, see what I mean?


I guess I better sign off now before I insult someone…

See ya!

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