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Why I swear by Go the F*k to Sleep

Sometimes nothing can relieve your exhaustion and exasperation like a good f-bomb.

Like when you trip over 20 Barbies left on the stairs. Or when your kids wake you up at dawn on the one day of the week you get to sleep in.

Although I try to keep my curse words to a minimum (thus retaining their super powers to shock and awe), I have been known to blurt out a few of Lenny Bruce's favorites on occasion.

Just because it f*kin feels good.

Which is why I suspect the potty-mouthed picture book Go the F*k to Sleep has become such a hit, even before its speeded-up June 14 release date.

We know we're supposed to be kind to our kids. We love our kids. But that doesn't mean we don't feel like ripping the heads off their teddy bears sometimes.

With his irreverent bedtime book for parents, Go the F*k to Sleep author Adam Mansbach may have started a whole new genre of WTF Children's Lit for the frustrated fraternity of silent, suffering grown ups out there. Prime prospective titles: Shit or Get Off the Pot, Who Gives a F*k Where Waldo Is? Suck It Up and Do Your Homework and the teen-targeted Wake the F*k Up, It's Noon Already.

It's everything we want to say but can't.

All the kids in day care are in dreamland. The froggie has made its last leap. Hell no, you can't go to the bathroom. You know where you can go? The f*k to sleep.

Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker (How the Mind Works, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language) contends that swearing involves ancient parts of the brain that formed along with our first human language. Our response to certain swear words is emotional and involuntary because their connotations for us are stored in different parts of the brain. He points to the fact that brain-damaged patients who lose the power of articulate speech often retain the ability to curse like a sailor.

There is now scientific proof that cursing enables people to tolerate pain better (NeuroReport, 2009). Studies at Britain's Keele University found that repetitive use of swear words can make you feel better by having a "pain lessening effect."

Nothing is more painful than a parent who tries to claim the last slice of day to herself, only to come up against the whining, the crying, the begging, the one-more-glass-of-water tripping that stands between her and that novel, movie or cool pillow.

I'm not advocating reading this book to young kids. But I wouldn't hide it from the older ones, either. In our pursuit of being Model Mom, we sometimes forget that one of the best lessons we can teach our kids is that we're all human. Nobody, not even mom, is perfect. We lose our patience. We get angry. We curse.

I laughed when I read this book. If anything can make you feel better than swearing, it's laughter. And if that saves one more teddy bear in the world then I guess Go the F*K to Sleep deserves to be a bestseller.

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