“So, this is kind of a random question…”
I nodded my head at the man across from me. I was in the kitchen of a fellow parent from my child’s school. I had come to pick my son up from a playdate, and found myself hanging around making small talk while the kids finished up playing. Between multiple playdates and a few shared meals, we had become friendly with this family and had reached the level of Facebook friends and random text exchanges. I was curious what his random question could entail.
“Do you … well … do you know where I could get some pot?”
I stared at the 45-year-old man in front of me, my mouth gaping just slightly as my eyelids batted rapidly. I’d be lying if I said the question didn’t throw me for a few seconds. I did a mental scan of what I was wearing that day: peacoat, sweater, skinny jeans, stylish black boots. I was’t really giving off a stoner vibe, was I? The lingering awkward silence brought me back to the present where I tried to stay cool.
“Um. Yeah. Sure. How much?”
I had never felt more like Nancy Botwin in my whole life. I just needed a grande iced latte to complete the picture. Although be fair, unlike Nancy, I’m no pot dealer, but I am a pot smoker. I’m a mother who smokes pot. Admitting that feels both freeing and panicky all at once. Despite the slow changes in legality when it comes to marijuana, as well the steady rise in public support for legalization, there is still a slew of judgment and stigma that is associated with those who toke up now and again. Add to that the usual amount of judgment that comes along with parenting and it’s no wonder that most parents who puff do so in the closet.
As drug laws loosen up and more states adopt medical marijuana laws (and some have even legalized weed recreationally!), more parents are speaking up about smoking. For me, smoking pot is less about getting super silly high and listening to jambands and plowing through a bag or two of Cool Ranch Doritos (because really, does anybody actually eat those things when sober?). Instead, marijuana is my glass of wine at night. It’s my yoga and meditation practice. It’s the one thing in my day that allows me to quiet my brain for a bit, unplug from work, and plug into my family. I don’t need to smoke in order to enjoy my family, and in fact, I’m not a daily smoker. But taking those few puffs from my vapor pen in the evening certainly makes parenting much more enjoyable at times.
It’s that first hit of the night that does it for me. I feel my muscles relax, my brain quiet down, and my nerves begin to repair themselves from their worn, frayed state. One more toke and then perhaps one last puff and I’m good. My mind isn’t focused on the 10 million deadlines or the list of errands that need to be done (but aren’t immediate). Instead, I can sit with my son and build LEGOs to his heart’s content. I can sit through yet another episode of some otherwise inane cartoon show and actually enjoy it. I can read Shel Silverstein poems over and over again, and genuinely enjoy them with each additional read through. I can bake ridiculously delicious cookies because maybe I have the munchies. I can have the patience when my son accidentally spills something instead of tensing right up and blowing a fuse.
Yet, there still seems to be a stigma attached to smoking pot. Nobody bats an eye at the tongue-in-cheek “three-martini playdate,” but there is certainly plenty of side-eye to go around when discussing parenting and pot. Perhaps people are still living in a world where the average pot smoker is some college student who wears Birkenstocks through the winter and makes bongs out of honey bears? I’d like to think that the actual average smoker is more like me: a married, working, tax-paying, home-owning progressive liberal. I’m “lucky” enough to live in a state that has decriminalized marijuana, so I’m not living in fear of going to jail if I’m somehow caught.
Just like parents who choose to drink, smoking pot and being a responsible parent is certainly a possibility, if my life is any measure. I do often wonder what will happen when my son asks about drug use when he’s old enough. I have absolutely no problem telling him, when that time comes, about “mommy’s medicine.” Sure it helps living in a state that has legalized medicinal marijuana, but having seen the health benefits of THC both firsthand and with others, I have absolutely no problem using that line when discussing it with my son.
So while I’m no Nancy Botwin (trust me, I don’t think I’d be able to handle anywhere near the amount of caffeine that woman inhales), I am a mother who smokes pot. While neither of those two things define me overall, they do live harmoniously within me, making up distinct but different parts of my identity: a happy, productive, wife, mother, and so much more, who just happens to get high every once in a while.