It seems like legalization has allowed a lot of people to come out of the cannabis closet, so to speak — they’re people, like me, who have enjoyed cannabis and are now able to be open about that. But for parents, there’s still a stigma, I think. How can you be a mom (or dad) and a stoner? Aren’t potheads lazy and silly and completely unable to be responsible people? Won’t someone please think of the children?!
I’m a mom and I like weed. I’m a mom and I love my kids. They’re two things that can co-exist, but it’s tricky to navigate the negative stereotypes, which is part of why I haven’t really been open about my cannabis consumption in wider social circles.
My ‘parenting as a cannabis consumer’ philosophy
To me it can be boiled down to this: I don’t drive, discipline, or take on risky activities while consuming cannabis and parenting; I keep all of my cannabis and associated products locked up way out of kid-level reach; I use cannabis as a relaxation and anti-anxiety aid while ensuring that I can parent responsibly and capably.
First, I don’t consume THC during weekdays when my daughter is at school, because I’m responsible for her transportation to and from, and I can’t be sure that I won’t need to pick her up or deal with an emergency, and I need to be able to drive. That might be different in an area with more public transit options, but it’s key for me and my comfort as a parent who enjoys cannabis. I do use CBD products during the day, but they have no THC content and are not psychoactive at all.
When I do consume cannabis and parent simultaneously, it’s when my spouse is around so there are two responsible adults. I’m a person with anxiety and, as with many things in parenting, having my partner available to co-parent takes a lot of that anxiety and stress away. For the most part, I limit my cannabis consumption to nighttime, when I know the kids are settled and/or sleeping, but depending on everyone’s moods and our activities for the night I will sometimes vape a bit or smoke a joint once my spouse is home from work and I’m on dinner duty. Or, on the weekends, I’ll have some during the day if we’re planning a nature hike or something laid back.
How cannabis impacts me as a parent
Some might describe me as high-strung (my husband said exactly that just last night) and cannabis helps me relax into parenting. My kids are hilarious and overwhelming and lovely and a handful, and while I can of course handle that without any kind of substances, I see a toke on the same scale as many parents’ relaxing dinnertime glass of wine or bottle of beer.
It lets me throw myself into both the fun and the mundanity without getting bogged down in my own thoughts and worries and distractions. I can make dinners and pack lunches and do laundry and pretend I’m a fairy princess at a tea party without devolving into a drill sergeant or a ball of nerves.
I also think it’s important for parents to exist outside of being just parents. I’m a work from home mom, my two-year-old is basically always at my side, and it’s so easy to identify myself as Mom, 24/7 — I mean, I am Mom, always and forever. But I am also me, and in my time for me, I enjoy cannabis.
I’m not sure how this will look as my kids get older. Right now my daughter, who is five, knows that there is a plant that some adults use in a way that is similar to alcohol, and that it is not for children and that if anyone ever offers it to her she needs to tell us. My son is too young for any kind of real conversation about cannabis. I’m hoping that as the entire country gets used to legal cannabis, the rest of the stigma falls away, including the stigma around parents using cannabis, so that these conversations don’t feel illicit or confessional anymore.
I’m curious about how other parents balance parenting and consumption — let me know your thoughts and experiences!