Best friends can talk to each other about anything. No subject is off limits, from sex, work, relationships, fashion, and health worries, to money problems or just gossiping about other friends or the latest celebrity scandal. However, despite this exhaustive list, there are actually moments when you need to censor your conversations. In particular, there are things you shouldn't say to your BFF in front of your kids.
It's true that things change when you have kids. I have had some crazy weekends away with my amazing friends but, now that I'm a mom, some of the rules have changed. Of course, I still find a way to let my hair down and have fun with my crew, but some of my habits or preferences have been tweaked in order to facilitate this new role I have in life.
For instance I, personally, prefer not to drink to excess anymore, as hangovers and toddlers really don't mix. I also prefer to wait to meet up with friends until after my son has gone to sleep, just so I know he is settled before I leave. When it comes to the sort of conversations I have in front of my son, there have been changes there, too. For one, my cuss words have had to be put on hold (that is, unless I want to hear him parrot back every potty word). I also make sure not to utter the following sentences in his presence, even if I am talking to my bestie:
"That Celebrity Is Such A...."
People feel more at ease criticizing celebrities than "real people." However, if you want to raise a kid that rejects bullying tactics, in all forms, you'll need to avoid modeling that behavior, whether or not you know the victim.
"I Hate My Body"
Most of us have uttered the odd negative comment about our body or weight before, especially to a trusted friend. However, when we do this in front of our children, we are pushing the message that our bodies have to look a certain way in order to have value, and start a cycle of self-hate and shame.
Instead of talking negatively about yourself, start saying good things about your body in front of your child, like, "Look how strong I am" and, "I am a fast runner" or, "I like my hair." These statements are powerful and positive.
"My Husband Is Driving Me Crazy"
Your BFF is the perfect person to b*tch to when it comes to your partner. She's been there through everything, and probably knows your partner well. She can allow you to vent about any problems you are having, or just let off some steam about the usual issues of parenting and having a relationship. Just don't have this conversation in front of your kids. It's disrespectful to your partner and could scare your children, especially if their minds leap to the worst case scenario and start to think a break up or divorce is inevitable.
"Having Kids Is So Hard"
Yeah it is, and we all know that. However, when you say that in front of your kids, it can hurt them and make them feel like they are responsible for your unhappiness.
"Remember That One Time We Were So Drunk!"
Retelling stories about your wild nights out isn't really the right topic for little kids to overhear. Some parents decide to be open with their children about their drink or drug use, hoping their candor will allow their kids to be able to communicate with them about their own possible use.
However, while I'm not one to knock anyone's personal parenting style, I think overhearing your exploits is not a structured discussion. It can also trivialize the issue when you hear about it as a fond memory and devoid of any larger context.
"I Wish I Could Wear That!"
For the record, anyone can wear anything. They're just clothes, not special talents, so you don't need to have "a certain body" in order to wear a certain article of clothing. By lamenting all the things you think you can't wear, because you don't think your body fits into some predetermined ideal of how a woman should look, reinforces unrealistic notions of beauty and self-worth.
"We're So Broke"
It's a good thing for children to understand that money is finite and that we all need to make budget decisions and weigh our wants and needs carefully. However, if you despair that you are broke or don't have any money in front of your children and on a constant basis, you may worry them about things they don't have control over.
"She Is Such A..."
Gossiping about your other friends in front of your kids spreads a poisonous and critical message (and, to mention, makes you look really two-faced). Your child may also wonder what you say about them when they're not around, too.
"I Hate My Job"
It's perfectly acceptable to show your children that you have challenges or bad days at work. No one is perfect and work is, well, called work for a reason.
However, when you say you "hate" your job, it could make your child feel insecure about the family finances and presume that you are unhappy, which could upset them.
"The Teacher Is Useless"
As a former teacher, I can tell you there is nothing more disheartening than hearing "My mom says..." followed by a list of your faults.
If your child is having a tough time with a new teacher, book an appointment to talk it through. It doesn't help the two of them to develop a strong relationship if you are running her down and undermining her authority in the classroom.
The golden rule for deciding which things you can discuss in front of your children, is to spare them topics about adult issues. Money, relationship problems, and big issues of body image and shaming are not within their remit to fix or change, so just change the subject and make an adult-only date to discuss those particular topics at a later date.