I smoke marijuana. I can say it loud and proud now, but it has taken me years to have the courage to write those words. I’ve always been an advocate for weed, but after I had children I hid my cannabis use. The mom shame game is real, and I was embarrassed to admit to the world that I not only smoked weed, but I’m also a firm believer in the plant’s healing powers. Yes, I’m a pot loving hippie. Do you hear me world?!!? I’m a mother of two and I smoke marijuana!
Okay, so I’m a ganja loving granola, but what does that have to do with you? Nothing, really. I’m not here to persuade you to use Marijuana… I’m simply sharing the main slice of my “mom shame” pie.
My oldest child is five. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant with, Saylor Jade. I was a “young mother” or at least that’s what I was told 254,856 times a day. Everybody, everywhere I went, had advise for me. The last thing I wanted them to know was how overwhelmed I was feeling. I was (and still am) determined to be the best damn mother I can be. The difference between then and now, is then, I didn’t have the confidence to be myself. I was trying to live up to the endless expectations of motherhood. I was trying to do it all. I thought that wanting to smoke a bowl at the end of the night was a sign of weakness. The society I grew up in made me think that “doing it all” was not only possible, but necessary. A good, no, a great mother certainly wouldn’t smoke weed. I call bull shit. After a day of care taking for a newborn, a full time job, cooking, and maintaining a house, it’s no wonder I couldnt wait to smoke a fat joint at night.
I am not by any means condoning drug use ( if marijuana is even considered a drug, which is another topic entirely), but I am telling moms around the world that if you desire some green before bed, light that shit up with pride. I spent too long hanging my head in shame over the fact that I smoke marijuana. Why can’t I smoke pot AND be an awesome mother? Of course there is a time and place for everything, and moderation is key. I’m certainly not encouraging one to spark a joint on the basketball bleachers while cheering for your middle school point guard.
I do, however, believe it is acceptable to smoke marijuana in front of my children. Before you freak out, no, I’m not hot boxing my kids while I smoke blunts and blow the smoke in their face. Let’s not be dramatic. Would I take a hit off of a vapor pen during an outdoor family BBQ…. absolutely. It is perfectly acceptable for Mr. Smith to step aside and have a drag of his cigarette, or Mrs. Stevens to be on her second glass of merlot, or Mrs. Clay to take prescription anxiety pills before the party, but it’s not okay for Mrs. Johnson to take a toke of green? We live in a world where alcohol, and prescription medication are completely acceptable, but if a mother takes a puff of cannabis the world loses their shit.
How could she be so irresponsible?
What about the kids?
No, seriously, what about the kids?
Am I implying I’m high around my children. Yes. In the day time? Yes. If I smoke a bowl during my son’s nap time, and shortly after he wakes up, I’m ten times more likely to put down the dishes, and play with trucks on the floor.
Cannabis makes me a better mother.
I can hear it now… “she needs to smoke weed to be with her children?” And “That’s ridiculous”. Hell no, I enjoy my children regardless of my medicated status, but cannabis helps me to be in the moment. It helps me relax. It helps me slow down for a few moments to enjoy my children.
Motherhood is exhausting. Motherhood is demanding. Women in our society are not only told they CAN have it all, but we are EXPECTED to do it all. We are expected to bring home an income, raise a family, and maintain a home. Gone is the time where women dreamt of being “mothers” and “house wives”. Now, we are lead to believe that being a mother and house wife isn’t enough. Who is this super women who does it all? And without losing her shit once in a while? I’d like to meet her.
We are constantly comparing our lives to others. Okay, I can’t speak for all mothers, but I know, I do. Sometimes it happens without me even noticing. For example, at school pick up on my daughter’s first day of kindergarten I caught myself standing small in the corner. I was leaning against the wall, legs crossed, and shoulders hunched. As if, suddenly in this room full of strangers I’m less of a mom because I’m wearing worn out TOMS instead of scuff free white boat shoes. It’s not that I can’t afford boat shoes, I can, and I’d never had the desire to buy them before, so why then, in that moment, was I second guessing my comfy leggings and loose flowing shirt. As if the shirt, and the TOM’s defined me as a person, and a mother? I think not. I’m a smart woman, I know better. I’m a damn good mother. So why do I constantly find myself participating in this shame game?
I’ve spent the last year with my face buried in self help books, and I’m by no means an expert on emotions, but on my personal development journey I’ve been focusing on mastering my thoughts. I’m learning to catch myself thinking these negative thoughts, and rewiring my brain with positive self talk. Sounds easier than it is, believe me. At my daughter’s school for instance, once I noticed my posture I corrected it. I stood taller, uncrossed my legs, and straightened my shoulders. I caught myself thinking, “Oh dear, I bet she only feeds her kid organic food”, and ” Not a single woman in this room has made eye contact with me, or met my smile with one of their own”. I pushed those thoughts out of my head and replaced them with “There’s a mom in this town that’s been waiting for a friend like me!” and maybe I could learn a thing or two from Mrs. Organic.”. It is so much easier to project fear onto others and shut yourself off than it is to be vulnerable and welcoming. It’s no wonder though, mom’s can be so cruel.
I’m a millennial mom, and technology makes motherhood even trickier. One article says to make sure you get in the photos, so in 20 years you have something to look back on. But a little further down your newsfeed you’ll read about millenial moms narcissisticly taking selfies. What is it? Do you want us in the photos or not? If we breastfeed in public we are granola and out of touch, but yet the nurses look at you funny when you say you want to formula feed.
Here is a glimpse of our world:
“How dare you give your kid that much freedom, aren’t you scared he’s going to hurt himself?
“Jeeze will you let that kid breath? You’re such a helicopter mom.”
“I can’t believe you made your daughter something different for dinner… Back in my day we ate what was cooked and we didn’t complain. ”
“You let your son do dance?”
“It’s been hard losing the baby weight, huh?”
“Wow, you’re too skinny… Do you ever eat?”
“Did you just let your kid eat a Dorito off of the floor?”
You do see the pattern, right? There is no right answer. We are set up to fail. With every choice comes a critic. I am trying to get to a point where I can sincerely respect someones opinion, regardless of how different it is from mine, and turn it away at the same time. I used to believe that rejecting someone’s thought or idea was like rejecting them, the person. This is not the case. If what they are saying doesn’t jive with you… let it go. And sing the Disney song in the process if it helps push the negativity away. This goes for everyone in my life. It doesn’t’t matter if my boss is bringing me down, my friend, the troll online, or a family member. For example; I love my mother deeply. Over my adult years she has grown into one of my dearest friends. I tell her everything (well almost). I respect her, and her take on the world. However, her and I are very different mothers. We are different women with different goals. Accepting this simple fact has allowed me to listen to her, her advise, and appreciate it as hers. Hers. Not mine. Jen Sincero says something along the lines of, you have to want to be happy, more than you want to be right, in her book “You’re a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life”. From the second I read those words they have stuck to me. I use them to remind myself that I am in charge of my happiness. I am in charge of my greatness. My worth does not come from the opinions of others around me.
Personal Development is a constant process. There is no end result. I plan to live a lifetime of learning. The journey involves being vulnerable to those around me. It is impossible to be vulnerable with a big cloud of shame hanging over your head. So how did I shake the shame storm motherhood had me caught in? I started with the biggest cloud in the sky. I wrote down the reasons I felt shame regarding my cannabis use. I wrote about my fears and concerns:
Would Mr. So and SO still allow me to watch their child?
Will my daughter be asked to go to her classmates birthday party if her parents know?
What will my high school English teacher (who happens to be my friend on Facebook) think?
And what about my religious aunt?
The list goes on…. and on…and on…
I then listed the reasons I use cannabis. I wrote down why I believe in the Marijuana plant. I believe with every inch of my being that Marijuana has a lot to offer the medical world. I believe it is on this planet to help. I believe there are some people high up in our society that need to write down their own fears about cannabis and reevaluate.
We live in a fear based society. We are taught to be cautious. People judge what they do not know out of fear. Hell, if I only knew what my 5th grade D.A.R.E class taught me about weed, I’d be scared of it too. Instead of hiding my cannabis use and falling a victim to the shame I decided to stand proud. I chose to start educating those around me. I am passionate about three things; My kids, my writing, and cannabis. Once I got over the daunting feeling that someone I respect may think I’m a lazy stoner I began to breathe easy. If they believe the stereotype without any investigation of their own, that is not someone I want in my life. Anyone close to me knows I’m an active person, and an active mother. People who know me know that my children are well rounded, taken care of, and engaged. If someone judges me purely on the fact that I use cannabis it says more about them, than it does me.
Growing comfortable in my own skin pushed me out of my comfort zone. It forced me to stick my neck out and meet people who had similar styles of parenting, and family values. Yes, I found other granola parents. I found mothers who share my passion for cannabis, and the outdoors, and we do rad shit with our kids. I found friends who even if they pass on the cannabis infused vapor pen at the beach they don’t judge me for inhaling it. I surrounded myself with people who are intrigued by and support my ideas. I found friends that are on their own personal development journey. I surrounded myself with motivated people. Positive people. As soon as I let go of the shame I associated with Marijuana the universe rewarded me with new relationships, a new found confidence, and an inner peace, that is indescribable. The instant positivity prompted me to address the other clouds in my shame storm.
It’s been one hell of a “let go” journey. An endless journey for sure, but each day I get a little better at being me. I stand a little taller. I toke a little prouder. I mother my children my way. A wise woman (Who? I have no clue.) once said, “You’re the only one who can give your children the gift of a happy mother.” And what a magical gift that is. If smoking a bowl after the kids go to bed relaxes you, and allows you to refocus then damn it, light up. If you’ve been dying to try that new stripper pole exercise class, but you’re terrified of what your mother in law will think… Go! Climb that pole, woman! Taking time for ourselves makes us better mothers. Taking care of ourselves (like we take care of the rest of the family) isn’t selfish it’s necessary.
The next time you catch yourself participating in the motherhood shame game, politely bow out. We are all on the same team ladies.