Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First it was cocktails and now it's marijuana?

Oh wouldn't Meredith Vieira love to get her graspy judgmental paws on this one: "I'm a Better Mother When Stoned," by LJ Wilson (pseudonym) currently up at Babble (along with caveat that Babble doesn't endorse alcohol or illegal drug use while parenting).

The only problem is I'm afraid I might end up nodding along with her as she rasps out a smug and self-righteous snarky comment that slams all parents who toke a dubie while parenting.

Wilson writes

I've been a weekend pot smoker since I was about eighteen. As a new mother, I continued the indulgence, but only when I was out and my son had a babysitter. I swore I'd never be stoned around my kid. And that plan worked for two and a half years, right up until one morning when my toddler waged a concerted campaign to fray each of my nerves.


My first moment of disbelief was that it took two and a half years for her child to fray her nerves. That's some laid back well-behaved kid! Or some laid back mom. Hard to say. Maybe she's just happy in general from the nectar of the ganja.

I'm trying not to be flip.

Because the next portion is what really boggled my mind: she got in the car, drove to the mall, and furtively took a toke off her one-hitter in the trunk.

My second moment of lack of suspension of disbelief was that after such a frazzled day one toke unfurrowed her brow and gave her enough of a high to last at least a couple of hours. Methinks this is the power of placebo.

She then took her toddler on a Pinkie Dinkie Floyd tour of the mall, complete with sensual enjoyment of rock candy.

When the munchies set in, she and her toddler headed back to the car. Meet my third moment of disbelief: under the influence of enough marijuana to call herself high she drove home, with her toddler in the car, no less.

The bottom line for me was how much I identified with the rest of the story that was bracketed within the controversial dope. I, too, have had many days that I wished for a magical mystery cure to unfurrow my brow and help me find the joy in my day and children. Stress is easy to find when you're a mom. It's much harder to remember perspective, and catch a spark of rainbow in the brief life of a bubble while your children laugh and try to capture the elusive spheres.

So I definitely was with Wilson when she wrote

I now believe that — in addition to doing all I can to raise him to be a decent and responsible human being — I need to, from time to time, get down on his level and really see what he sees, to rediscover pleasures like crayons or the sandbox.

When laundry, work, phone calls, personal hobbies, errands, and household chores call my name all day, I've had to find my way to letting it all go so I can sit awkwardly on a tiny chair and pretend to eat a plastic hamburger patty meant to be a chocolate cookie in this tea-n-lemonade party my daughter spent a half an hour setting up. And smile. Like a Miss America pageant entrant.

If I stop and savor the moment, just be, just right there, at that table---the sound of three people pretend chewing plastic toy food, pretend slurping imaginary tea, an occasional muffled giggle, an obligatory belch, dancing eyes in little faces, hands forgetting their prissy poses for a moment then snapping back to with darting glance to see if the etiquette breach was observed---it can be enjoyable. At least for a moment.

Instead of the fast path via drugs, I found it through careful awareness. This takes time, thought, mindfulness. But it's natural, free, and legal.

Wilson's dependence on drugs for carefree parenting is seriously concerning, especially as it is prettily hidden in eloquent writing and exceptional rationalization. Who doesn't want to be a relaxed and loving parent?

We're evolved, aren't we, so we shouldn't care how someone gets there, right? Different paths, same journey?

Not so much.

It's a murky line, and I don't mean to dispute marijuana versus alcohol right now, but bottom line: marijuana is illegal. It is a mind and response altering substance.

However, as I said, it's more the author's dependence on drugs to be what she perceives Her Best Mothering Self. She mentions no other coping mechanisms or tools; just marijuana. Pot is apparently her only path to relaxing and blocking so she can provide undistracted positive attention to her son

In an ideal world, I'd be able to do all of these things without the help of an herb. But the world isn't ideal. It's full of overflowing laundry hampers, dirty dishes and unanswered email. Pot's much-maligned a motivational properties I would term an enticement to "single-tasking." Erecting a temporary smokescreen is a way to block out the demands that take my attention away from my child.

She's right: we need to tune out these distractions and focus on our kids now and again.

I just have the feeling most of us manage it without having to smoke marijuana. And I worry that this encourages fretful moms who feel out of balance that pot is the way to go.

It comes from a good place (desire to be a good mother) but uses a bad path to get there.

Let me know what you think about smoking pot to parent (which is different than smoking pot on the weekends with friends or past bedtime, etc, not that I'm advocating those, just pulling out the red herrings upfront).

Also, do you think this article about pot smoking is a true story, or a fictionalized account to make a point and create controversy?

Note: This article has been sk*rt'd! Come vote! Thanks!

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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Snoskred said...

Having lived with a habitual pot smoker who claimed he was not addicted, it was not a problem, everything was just fine and peachy yet at the same time he would do nothing that he needed to do - everything from paint the house to cook dinner to fix the car fell directly to me - and considering that the marijuana use alone was enough to convince me I needed to leave, him slapping me around just gave me the much needed push, I can only say this.


This woman should be arrested and sent to rehab, and her kids placed with somebody responsible. End of story.

This one really makes me mad, Julie. :(

It was bad enough that I had to be exposed to it, but kids? Come ON?

The drugs are totally messing with her brain - her sense of right and wrong is out the window, and she thinks it is a benefit not to be able to multi task? FFS?


River said...

Everything snoskred said is so true. You cannot possibly know exactly what you are doing when your mind is in an altered state. Children deserve 100% attention from the current caregiver. If you need a break hand them over to a carer while you get that break and regroup your coping skills.

Cecilieaux said...

It is obviously a fictionalized account, if not outright fiction. I found it mildly funny, but -- again, obviously -- not exactly a primer on parenting, with which I am no longer concerned (this will happen to you, too).

Decades since my last ... what did you call it? "Dubie"? ... I am convinced that we are all in altered states of mind most of the time.

Otherwise explain how we commit the folly of marriage, or how women after going through labor once willingly submit to another, or how men allow themselves to be robotized enough to kill other human beings in the organized ritual called war?

kim said...

When I drink around my kids I drink responsibly. I think getting stoned or drunk around your kids is just wrong and stupid.

slouching mom said...

Yeah, you said it:

Good result (to be in the moment when with your kids) --

bad way to achieve it.

Mary Alice said...

Hummmm...could it be that her laundry hamper and sink is overflowing BECAUSE she is stoned? I know if I have a single glass of wine with dinner, I could really care less if the dishes get done. I feel laid back at the moment, the following morning as I stare at the unwashed pasta platter, I feel ANNOYED. I suppose if I were habitually trying to escape life I would down another glass on the spot.

How sad that she finds life (and children) so stressful that she cannot be present and in an unaltered state of mind.

Kyla said...

I agree; good result, definitely the wrong way to achieve it.

It is a hard one to argue, because it will come down to the alcohol/marijuana argument again. I've said before that I don't have a problem with cocktails around kiddos, as long as it is done responsibly. On any occassion I've had a drink around my children it has been singular in nature and I'm very aware of my tolerance. This weekend, when we had a couple more than that, the kids were in bed and we had a designated grown-up, just in case. I think that if she is smoking enough pot to alter her parenting, that isn't all it is altering. It can't be likened to a single glass of wine. I'd never get drunk and then parent, which is more what is being discussed if you take the pot/alcohol question out of it. If you wouldn't parent drunk, then you shouldn't parent stoned. Both are equally wrong, even if you take legality out of the question.

mcewen said...

Golly, that's an option that didn't occur to me and believe me when I say that I've considered just about everything! or so I thought.

It certainly gives me an uneasy very feeling as generally I'm take the approach the 'anything goes if it works for you.'

Since you can't often step into anyone's shoes, I find that this approach gives me the most peace of mind, but that option gives me the shivers.
Best wishes

Bitsy Parker said...

You handled this subject matter well. I'm impressed because I expected you to take the short-cut and bludgeon Token' Tammy, but you took your time and surgically dismantled this subject. Good writing - not preachy. Now, the stage is set for preachy comments.

BTW, I would like to add my preachy-ness and say, "What the hell is Token' Tammy thinking!!!"

Getting high is great fun...in college. You can't race like lighting to the high chair as Baby Bootsie is falling and rescue her before her precious soft head smashes against the ground.

A high mind is too busy mulling over the texture of potato chips to make sure Bootsie's face isn't submerged in bathtub water.

I don't like to begrudge Token' Tammy some downtime, but let's be honest. Motherhood ain't easy and what makes it great is when you buck-up and handle it.

kaliroz said...

Dude, there have been moments when, had herbage had been around, I might have considered a toke or two.

I was a pretty hardcore smoker for a couple of years in my early twenties. Don't do it anymore. All it took was a toke for me to be high as a kite. I can have a drink and not be drunk but I cannot toke and not be stoned. I think that's the big difference between having a drink around a child and having a toke.

And, Julie, I totally agree with you about the having to get down to your child's level sometimes. I'm really bad at that. Yesterday was an example of a day when maybe I should've.

We all go through trying times as parents ... but medicating ourselves to get through them doesn't make us better parents. It helps us avoid parenting, really. I mean ... parenting stoned? How much is she missing?

So much of what Tokin' Tammy wrote I could relate to. Really. Except the getting stoned to parent bit.

I hope this is just fiction to illustrate how daunting parenting can be. But part of me doesn't think it's entirely fictional.

Tere said...

I think I'm a pretty liberal, open-minded person, but smoking pot to parent (distinction noted) does not sit well with me. There's too much of a risk (as evidenced in driving while high) to seriously harm your child or someone else's child (or just someone else). Sorry, it's just irresponsible.

I am constantly seeking both the magical cure to unfurrow my brow and to stop and savor the moment. I agree that it takes a lot of careful awareness - I am constantly stopping myself, shutting all the distractions and personal desires (to read a magazine, to veg out, to enjoy a hobby) just so I can really be there for Max and see the world through his eyes.

It's not easy, and I fail many times. But I never thought parenting would be easy or convenient, so I'm o.k. with it. Being inebriated in any way in order to parent is just a big, cheap cop-out.

crunchycarpets said...

self medication....we seem to turn to things like this or alcohol or prescribed drugs pretty quickly these days.

Deep breath and perspective seem harder to come by these days.

And when a person works so hard at rationalizing it....makes me wonder too.

I would have preferred the person to sound a BIT guilty. To have questioned her actions despite any positive results.

We are all trying....it is hardwork....we all have our moments....I don't think this is the best way to go out it.

Jeff said...

I don't smoke pot, at least not in the last 20 years, and I don't condone what she does either. But if I hear what she's saying (that she needs help relaxing and calming down), it doesn't sound a whole lot different than people who need the same kind of help by taking Prozac or Paxil so they focus and can deal with the stress of parenthood - and that's totally accepted and extremely common among millions of people.

All I'm saying is, maybe it's "status" of the medication that's getting the black eye, rather than the medication itself.

thailandchani said...

At the risk of sounding judgmental, too, I can only say that I think drinking or drugging around your kids is stupid and reprehensible.

Maybe learning better coping skills is the answer?



Snoskred said...

The problem is that people think marijuana is not a harmful drug. They think it's just as fine as alcohol and cigarettes. They think they can smoke marijuana once a week and it'll be fine - but what happens is they start smoking it twice a week, three times a week, until it gets to every day and they have to have it both in the morning and at night.

I saw it happen to someone I loved and nobody would take it seriously or help me. Oh, it's just marijuana, they said. It's not harmful. He may not have been able to die from an overdose of it, but believe me it was harmful.


rebecca said...

I'm with Jeff on this one. I don't really like how pot makes me feel, but I like how my five o'clock Sam Adams makes me feel! I also like how meditation and yoga make me feel, and know that when I'm in good shape, being mindful and aware and calm, it benefits my kids tremendously. Can I sustain this every day? Nope. Sure do try; but not perfect.

Anyway what do we know about this woman's life? Her kids might be a total nightmare to live with. Maybe her husband comes home and they start picking at each other. Maybe she has some terrible things lurking around the corners of her mind that threaten to overwhelm her. I don't know, seems to me that if a little buzz gets her through all that so that she can still smile at her kids as she puts them to bed, who am I to judge?

Julie Pippert said...

Oooh Jeff, I love that point.

Very good.

I had to dig into the deep recesses of my ability to think. Luckily I have a teeny bit of that left. LOL ;)

Okay here's the thing---and this is general discussion, not aimed at you, Jeff:

I consider prescription drugs to be something used under the supervision of a qualified physician who has diagnosed a physiological need for that drug and determined it is the best treatment to cure a disorder.

I consider them a *means* in most cases, not an *end.*

(But if you want to put a fine point on it I think sometimes prescription drugs are abused too because it's easier, doctors don't spend adequate time diagnosing and working on the problem instead of just treating the symptom and so on.)

Recreational drug use (including alcohol) (along the same lines as described in this articlethat puts one into a state of drunkenness or stonedness (call Webster's) is someone taking a quick route to avoid the real work required to solve the real problem.

IF the author said, 'ONE TIME at home (not while driving) I was desperate and I took a hit...and it calmed me, then I realized I need to figure out how to calm, how to cope, how to let go and just be...so I began practicing deep breathing or yoga or gave myself a cue through a cup of tea or something else or all of the above...'

I'd have had a completely different take.

But it's four years later and this is still her regular and only coping mechanism.

In my mind that is dependence and drug abuse, and irresponsible at least some times.

We've all (or okay in my world including me) had a little margarita or something to quickly and easily have a settle down in the evening.

I don't depend on it, though, as my mechanism. And I don't get drunk to handle parenting.

Like many commenters, I like to be pretty open-minded and liberal about routes through parenting. Goodness knows I know there is definitely NOT one size that fits all because every person and every situation has different needs. I can't even parent the exact same for my own two kids.

So I usually adopt a "live and let live" philosophy.

I certainly don't want to be judged...definitely not. So I don't do that.

But even sometimes judgment is called for.

I can't say I'm ready to set up a Guy Fawkes day for this mom, by no means.

But if I were her friend? I'd be having a little chat, asking how I could help her find another means to the same end, one that wasn't dangerous, addictive, and illegal.

I think what I want to make clear here as a major point is not that I am taking issue with marijuana or alcohol.

I am taking issue with dependence on controlled substances.

I am taking issue with abusing them.

And I am taking issue with depending upon these things exclusively to find your zen in parenting.

And yeah, there is cache and cache and I've fought in my share of debates about marijuana's status and the hypocrisy inherent in some substances being allowed and others not.

But bottom line...marijuana is an illegal drug, it carries many risks, and IMO the dangers are just too high.

When my life gets to where I start thinking about booze daily? I change my life. I don't drink daily to fix it.

flutter said...

Yeah that just leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. It's really irresponsible with children in her care

Lawyer Mama said...

Um, unfortunately I don't think it *is* fiction. Because I know people who do this. And a judgmental rant is ahead. Normally, I'm pretty open minded about parenting methods, but this...

"I now believe that — in addition to doing all I can to raise him to be a decent and responsible human being — I need to, from time to time, get down on his level and really see what he sees, to rediscover pleasures like crayons or the sandbox."

The fact that a parent is incapable of doing that without the use of a mind-altering substance is sad. I agree that it's a fine line and of course the alcohol versus pot debate comes into play. But I would think that using alcohol in order to cope with parenting also signals a problem.

Is taking a toke the same as my anti-depressant? Hell, no. Taking an anti-depressant doesn't impair my judgment.

Kyla said...

Julie, I think that is an EXTREMELY valid point. When you get to the point that you NEED anything (alcohol, pot) to calm yourself on a daily basis then there is a bigger issue that needs attention. If you can't parent without having a drink or a toke, that is a problem.

And in regards to anxiety/depression/other meds, I feel that they are totally different. The dosages are controlled by a licensed physician to treat a medical condition. Parenting is not a condition that needs to be treated, and marijuana use is not being monitored and prescribed by a physician any more than alcohol is. They also do not impair your judgment in the same way.

ewe are here said...

There's nothing I can say that hasn't been posted already...

But, I agree this is wrong on so many levels. I'm all for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, but not for recreational use. It does stuff to your head, recent studies have shown this.

And to get high, put your kid in the car and go driving? Criminal. Absolutely criminal.

slackermommy said...

Pretty sad when you have to get high to deal with being a parent. Go hide in the bathroom with a bag of chocolate. Works for me.

jen said...

um, ok.

marijuana is illegal in large part the propagation of other addictive industries like alcohol and tobacco. and marijuana has more medicinal qualities than either of the above. so i think that's less about protecting people than making money on criminalization, but i may be a raging liberal freak.

i don't know if she was kidding or not, and i am with Kailoroz and found it mildly funny.

i don't respect anyone who puts their child in danger in any situation (driving over the speed limit for example) but going hell and brimstone over pot isn't really the answer. the need for self medication is the symptom to an overworked, overstressed, overburdened society.

Bongga Mom said...

Great post! I've said my piece as well on my blog, http://bonggamom.blogspot.com

NotSoSage said...

I'm afraid that I'm going to have join the ranks of the raging liberal freaks. I don't know what the difference is between having a glass of wine to take the edge off and having a toke if you know what you're doing (and, though I haven't read the article, from your description she sounds like she has enough experience to know how much is too much). Most substances can be addictive, at least psychologically. Many substances can be used responsibly. To be honest, it was driving that got me. But that might be related to the fact that I've never driven stoned...

There is much noise being made in Canada right now over decriminalization of marijuana. Much evidence points to racism as the reason pot is being demonized where alcohol and other substances are not.

Julie Pippert said...

I just want to reiterate my above comment and I hope those of you who missed it see this:

I think what I want to make clear here as a major point is not that I am taking issue with marijuana or alcohol.

I am taking issue with dependence on controlled substances.

I am taking issue with abusing them.

And I am taking issue with depending upon these things exclusively to find your zen in parenting.

Poppy Buxom said...

Putting aside the question of illegality for a minute (not that I want to, but I need to limit myself or my head will blow off) what about dosage issues?

When you drink a glass of wine, the alcohol content is controlled. Ditto for prescription drugs. Yes, each of these can be abused, but in a non-abuse system a glass of wine is a glass of wine; a 50 mg dose of Prozac is just that.

No such control exists for pot. So one bag of weed is Mexican oregano and doesn't do much; the next is Maui Wowie and one hit leaves you stoned to the gills for hours.

How the hell can anyone parent effectively given that degree of randomness?

Plus it's illegal.

gwen said...

Woo hoo! What a ride that piece and the comments have been.
Quick q for you all. How many of you wake up to have that mind-altering substance we call, in the East, coffee? Okay, apples and oranges?

I'm not a mom yet, and I only tried smoking once (inhaled and puked like a rabid animal...mixing w/alcohol is a no-no I discovered!).

Zen practitioner for about 7 years now (that long!?) and wonder about this notion of "finding your zen." It really does take cultivating and a daily practice. It's a path. Things will always "rile" you whether you have 0 children or how many do the Duggars have now...17? It's up to an individual, not society, to cultivate a practice that suits their needs and schedule. Be it yoga, zazen or some other form of mind-body practice, I think that keeping sane in 2007 and beyond demands that we have our "me" time that connects us to a reservoir of calm inside ourselves.

For every story like this one, there are a dozen out there of moms and dads finding the time to cultivate that practice. To step back, take a breath and return, as Julie is advocating here, to the moment. I see it as our duty (to our families, our communities and our selves) to do so.

Good luck!

Heather said...

I wish I could say truthfully that I think this is fiction but, sadly, I think it is probably true.

My kids have never exasperated me to the point that I felt I needed to drink or smoke weed to deal with them.

I'd feel like a failure if that were the case.

It sounds like a lot of rationalization for drug abuse to me.

painted maypole said...

Wow. Interesting discussion. And I have to agree that if you have to alter your state in order to enjoy coloring with your children, there is something much greater that needs altering.

Anonymous said...

my entire social circle is of stoner parents. all white collar. all normal. non-drinkers. non-cheaters. if your kids are driving you crazy, you DO need something. a break. a respite from the madness. marijuana is a nerve-calmer, and i would think every dissenter here would definitely get on my nerves. only a douchebag would judge another from the comfort of his/her own soapbox. oh, and those people probably have uptight, annoying kids.

everybody's smoking pot. everyone else is a republican.

my god. i need coffee to take the edge off a morning. call CPS!!

rebecca said...

Gee, I didn't expect to jump back in here, but bonzai!

I'm with ya, Gwen. There's something else going on here that we're all reacting to. Let's start with the premise of MY KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.

How have we all become so reactive? Are any of you able to externalize what's going on with your kids, or have we all become so acclimatized to leaping at the first warning bell that life is a constant battle? The 21st century psyche is rigged as the keenest fight-or-flight system ever created. Anyone who tries to sit on the mat for 5 minutes a day knows what I mean: the bills! the laundry! the lead paint in the friggin' Polly Pockets! my new teenaged babysitter smokes, I'm sure of it! I left my diaphragm under the pillow of my mother's guest bed! the environment!

I look at some of my acquaintance's kids and think they could do with a weekend of some laid-back parenting. If you listen closely here you hear everyone saying the same thing though: We love our kids, fiercely. We don't want them hurt. We don't want them sad, or unhappy, or harmed. I'm just wondering if we're also aware of what all this alarm, caution, and fear is doing to our bodies and to our children.

And if you think that you don't have addictions, think again. Maybe it's not alcohol or pot. How's your TARGET HABIT today? Or is it STARBUCKS? Or maybe it's picking at your husband, maybe it's cleaning your house, maybe it's dishing with your friends. Maybe it's trying to subtly control or influence every thing in your environment so that at last you can be HAPPY AND CONTENT and NEVER HAVE TO SUFFER AGAIN.

I'm just sayin'.

Julie Pippert said...

Wow, awesome discussion. We've really opened up an artery here, I think, about parents, drowning in life, and coping tools.

First, thank you guys for being so willing to voice experiences and opinions, for adding to the discussion, and for seguing to a crucial new topic.

Second, some good points a number of people have made that I want to tackle in general from my POV.

I think the idea that we all often feel like we are not keeping our heads above water in this complicated modern life is intriguing to explore. Obviously you know I feel this, after my post about "not having it all, all at once."

I see an unintentional posting pattern here for me. :)

Our parents before us felt this and so did there parents before them, obviously in different ways and to different degrees, but stress in life is not a modern invention of the 21st century.

So we learned from them how to cope. Or we had to figure it out on our own. Or we learned from mom and dad, but it wasn't a thing that worked so had to learn something new.

For me, you can take out the word "pot" and substitute in any other habit that masks the symptoms of a problem without actually working to solve it...and I'd have the same opinion.

For me, the issue is the why. The quick fix. The no real solution.

I don't think all things are equal, though. Some substances or habits are more harmful than others, and things done in more serious degree are also more harmful.

Occasionally buying one's self a new blouse in a bit of "retail therapy" is probably not a big deal.

Dropping money regularly and spending into heavy debt as retail therapy is.


When I begin depending on coping mechanisms---crutches---I turn up the mindfulness.

I won't go on and on about that---I just detailed it in my "Why did I think I could have it all" post from just a couple of days ago.

But I think that concept is crucial.

As I just said to a really cool person, "Changing the culture is a little overwhelming as a goal. It's like asking the ocean not to wave. KWIM? IMHO, all we can do is ask ourselves to find a way to be different---better---and manage within what we have here better. In the end, I think this will have the side-effect of changing the culture, but just one individual at a time...KWIM?"

Here's my Humble Opinion: We all have our habits...vices...coping mechanisms to deal. But in the end, they should be temporary, a now and then thing, a brief breather to allow perspective so we can see our way to what we need to make things better, so we don't need to depend on crutches.


Anonymous said...

You left out the part where she said she doesn't do this all the time. She doesn't (according to the article) smoke pot every day, just to deal with her kid. To some people, having a quick toke after work is the same as you having that beer, or martini. It *can* be compared to your anti-depressant. You're changing your brain chemistry to cope with your surroundings. We all look for a drug or a fix, to cope with the world around us. Some use Paxil, some use beer, some use cigarettes, some use weed. Weed just has the worst stigma. I would never condone getting stoned, or smoking daily, or smoking and driving, and dealing with kids. But I won't condone this woman for a random toke that she knows will not incapacitate her, but give her the ability to relax and relate to her kid when he's been trying on her nerves. People need to step off their high horses.

Mamma said...

At risk of not sounding like a "hipster mom" here, I have to say PUH-LEASE!

Go get high, get drunk, attend a swing fest, whatever you want to do for fun when your child is safe. BUT, do not tell me that you think it's okay to put your child in that kind of danger.

Some mothers take prescribed medications because the anxiety or the depression they are feeling is impairing their judgement. THAT is good mothering. Taking drugs TO impair your judgement is not.

Maybe I'm fired up because I am raising a child whose mother used drugs. Maybe it's because I've seen the effects it has had on his life.

Call me a prude, call me un-evolved. Call me concerned for our children.

Anonymous said...

Does one beer impair your judgement? Should parents be teetotalers while around their children? I know it's a hard concept to grasp, that a person can have one hit on a joint and NOT be stoned and impaired. But in much the same way that one beer can "take the edge off" and relax you (but NOT "impair" you), so can one toke do the same thing for other people. Just because you don't want to acknowledge that fact, doesn't make it any less true.

Emily said...

Personally, I do not drink much around my kids. I may have a glass of wine, but I sure won't drive afterwards. In fact, we make a point of saying out loud "Honey, if I have a glass of wine, will you drive?" There is something to be said for teaching your kids responsibility, and driving them while stoned is not one of them.

Since I have never smoked pot, I will refrain from commenting on the rest of the story, despite my rather strong feelings on the matter.

But the driving? Shame on her.

Mrs. Chicken said...

I can't help it - I think social services should come give her a scare.

Speaking of race, is this OK for her to do because she's white and lives in the 'burbs? Would we feel as laid back about this if she was Latina or African-American and living in South Central LA?

Methinks no.

I am appalled at this and I also blame Strollerderby for tacitly approving of her behavior by allowing this to be published.

God knows I've had my days, but I cannot even imagine using a drug to alter my mind and then DRIVING TO THE MALL with my small child in the backseat.

I agree with one of the other commenters who said pot is as bad as other drugs.

I'm not some squeaky clean mom - I've had my share of tokes. But this is outrageous, criminal and dangerous.

She should be ashamed of herself.

{climbs off judgmental soapbox}

Anonymous said...

An important question here is are you high the instant you take a puff and if not, how much do you have to smoke to be high? My husband smokes pot and I have no problem leaving the kids with him right after he does so. He is not nigh when he smokes, just calmer and relaxed. I don't like that he smokes and I want him to quit but when he smokes, he's not high or unable to take care of our kids.

My concerns are the smoke getting to the kids and the fact that it's illegal so when the kids are old enough to know he's smoking something that is not cigarettes, how do you explain that they can't talk about it because it's illegal but daddy's not a bad man? (okay now I know most of you are convinced both of us are bad parents but that's your opinion.)

RookieMom Heather said...

First, this is a great discussion.

I tend to think that the line was crossed with the driving more than the occasional one-hit wonder.

But I can also say this is something I'm not likely to try myself. And it sure would not be okay if I found out my babysitter, grandparent, or other caregiver were doing it on their shift.

My husband has recommended to me that I put both kids in their cribs, make a hot cocoa, and watch sex in the city until the urge to scream passes. We all have our vices. :-)

Julie Pippert said...

Mrs. Chicken a big high five. I can't believe---especially this week---that didn't occur to me.

But the truth is, I don't know her race. The name is a pseudonym and I assume the image on the article is stock.

But I do feel safe hazarding a guess at middle-class as the author's socioeconomic status.

I *do* wonder how that plays!

Off to think...

Julie Pippert said...

Anonymous at 2:13 p.m.

You asked, "An important question here is are you high the instant you take a puff and if not, how much do you have to smoke to be high?"

That's a good question and there is no one answer even for a single person.

Not every bag is the same, right? because it all depends on the crop, the procedures to "compound," and any other ingredients or potency, plus your susceptibility in that moment.

And that's one of the points to ponder. Although I admit to feeling a tad like I'm splitting hairs...however it is one of the arguments I've used as to WHY marijuana ought to be legal nationwide for medical use: regulated as a controlled substance.

Ironically. :)

Aeden said...

I am a pot-smoking mom. I smoke marijuana on nearly a daily basis, usually in the evening while my husband and I relax and chat about our day. He usually enjoys one or two glasses of wine, while I enjoy one or two hits of pot. I don't normally smoke with my kids (6 months and 3 years), but I definitely don't consider it any more risky than similarly light alcohol use. I strongly agreed with the author of the article, and though of course I totally enjoy playing with my kids sober, occasionally marijuana really does make, say, spending an hour focused on my son's brio set a lot less boring. I am absolutely shocked at the vitriol spewing forth at this mom for her marijuana use. The women writing about this topic seem motivated solely by judgement, hate and fear. Does literally no one comprehend the natural human desire for the calming effects of chemicals? Ladies, we are not talking about heroin here; the illegality of it does not make it immoral or dangerous. I genuinely cannot comprehend why marijuana is considered by everyone here to be so much more reprehensible than all the other aspects of parenting that are so often performed in a way that is less than absolutely perfect. Whether it's cellphone use while driving, or light alcohol ingestion at a Sunday barbeque or after dinner, not one of us does everything by the book. I am *especially* confused by the assertion that everyone would feel more comfortable if the article were exactly the same but involving cocktails; what makes alcohol so much more acceptable than marijuana? What about all the moms that take valium, or antidepressents, or anxiety meds, or the million other chemical mind-altering substances that are so well integrated into american culture. Is it because they are manufactured by gigantic corporations, so they must be ok? I *really* don't get it. Alcohol makes me, personally, feel ill and sleepy, and I don't like the taste. My family is carribean, and pot is strongly accepted within our culture, while alcohol is practically never part of social occasions, unless it is supplied for guests. Marijuana feels like a safe and relatively healthy vice, if I'm going to have one. I would like to add that I have a master's degree, a very successful career, a wonderful and happy marriage, loving friends, and a rich and fulfilling personal life. I don't smoke cigarettes or use any other substances, at all, ever. When I'm not working (I'm staying home with the baby this year), I spend my days with the baby at libraries and museums, at parks and pools, or just at home with our toys. I cook all of our meals at home, mostly from my own organic vegetable garden; my son's absolute favorite food is the snap beans from our backyard. My kids don't watch tv, but our house is filled with books (I am a book person, and I particularly adore children's literature). In fact, my son can already read about 50 words at only 3 and a half, and learns new ones every day. All of our toys are made of wood, and I'd never EVER buy anything that beeps or lights up; our entire home and lifestyle is totally kid-centered and aranged to stimulate their imaginations and nurture their creativity. Yet, because I prefer pot to wine, all of you think my children should be removed from my care? Is my evening marijuana use *really* damaging to my kids, my family, or my lifestyle? Is my husband's wine use equally damaging? What I have been reading here seems like extraordinarily narrow thinking to me, and I am so disappointed. There seems to be a complete lack of the type of objective critical analysis necessary to any successful debate. It was obviously naive of me, but I expected so much better of us loving mamas.

Snoskred said...

Aeden -

I am not making this judgment without some serious knowledge on the issue - my now EX-husband could have written exactly what you typed there, except I was not drinking wine.

Having lived through it myself, being the person NOT smoking the pot, and being the person NOT enjoying all the supposed benefits of it, I'll sum it up pretty simply for you.

I do not have children. I have two cats. If I were smoking pot in this house with these cats, the RSPCA should take them away from me and I should be put in jail..

So yes, I absolutely think you should get responsible, 24/7, or get someone who is responsible and NOT smoking pot on a daily basis to take care of your kids. Whatever you may say about it, smoking marijuana is NOT a responsible thing to do.

What's going to happen when they get a bit older? You're going to be smoking it in front of them, because they won't be going to bed as early? You're going to try and hide your drug use from them? That sure sounds like a great plan. You're going to quit? Yeah, my ex-husband was *always* saying that. Never happened, though. But you know, when I woke up in the morning and heard the water bong, the lightbulb went on and I started making plans to get the hell out of there. He is still smoking it today - and he just lost his job because of it.

You had the kids. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to reproduce, right? When you become a parent, that means you have to be a grown up now. You now have a responsibility to them to set a good example, and drug use is NOT a good way of doing that.

Call me judgmental if you like, but hello I lived through this exact situation, so at least I have some idea what I am judging.

We all have our vices, but my ex-husband had this one, and it made him into a different person. It is doing exactly the same thing to you, but you do not know it, nor will you ever - because it's not a "bad drug" and you feel it is acceptable and you do not and cannot see the damage it is doing.

As far as alcohol is concerned, the occasional glass of wine is fine. I mean occasional. To me, if you're drinking it daily, that is time to take a good hard look at why.

What goes on in my head is enough fun for me, I don't need to take drugs or drink to "relax" or "chill out" - I have found many good ways of doing that which don't require any kinds of drugs.

Alcohol makes me feel sleepy too - that's why I don't bother with it. Can't you settle for a hot chocolate and some cheesecake, if you need to "enjoy" something? Why the need for drugs? If your life is really as fulfilling as you claim? Why do you need them? Is it because you're used to it, because you are actually addicted without knowing it? Try not doing it for a week, see what happens. I'm willing to bet you are addicted if you're doing it daily.

Anonymous said...

i live in amsterdam and i also love to smoke pot. here's what i read years ago and it still makes sense to me
" god made grass
man made booze
whom do you trust?"

i have been smoking pot for years around my kids [ages 12 and 8] as do all the people who come to our home. it is so normal for my kids, it's like seeing someone drink a beer or have a cup of coffee. it's a non-issue.

but most of all, it's a plant and it's a pure as it can get and it never does harm. it promotes peacefulness and wisdom and frankly, i cannot wait to smoke weed with my kids when they are older----i hope it becomes a family ritual when they are grown-up....we get together for christmas or a birthday and we all smoke weed together.

i am continually astounded how amserican people are so afraid of this plant--

i have amazing kids. smart, funny, well-behaved and clever.