As suburban moms go, you can’t get any more typical than me. I’m active in my kids’ lives and in my community, a responsible and trustworthy adult. I’m a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter, and a good mother who loves her kids above all else. You would want someone like me to babysit your kids or house or pet sit while you were on vacation.
I have a job, I worry about keeping my family healthy, I like my house tidy, but sometimes that just means Febreeze-ing everything. I wear skinny jeans and cardigans and flats, typical mom-wear.
In my purse, I carry my voter ID, my passport, my library card, my driver’s license (20 years behind the wheel and not a blemish on my record, knock on wood), and a bunch of Band-Aids and snacks because you never know where you’ll find a kid, or a fellow mom, in need.
I dye my hair to cover grays and slather my face with drugstore wrinkle cream hoping that it works as well as the expensive kind that I can’t afford because I have to feed four growing kids. I start getting tired by 9 p.m., so I’m no wild partier. Once in a while, at the end of a particularly long day, I’ll relax on my couch with a glass of wine or two.
This is me, and I’m probably a lot like you. I could be your neighbor. I could be your friend. We could hang. There’s just one thing: Go back to that last sentence and change “relax on my couch with a glass of wine or two” to “relax on my couch with a joint.”
Is your opinion of me any different now? If it is, un-clutch those pearls for a minute and hear me out.
To clarify, I don’t use it for medicinal purposes. I can’t justify my toking up by saying it serves any purpose other than much-needed stress relief, but you know what? Stress relief is a good enough reason. I’m no different than anyone who “loosens up” over a martini, except my consumption of snack foods might be marginally higher.
Yes, marijuana is still illegal in many places. But at one point in history, so was alcohol. If you were sipping on anything other than communion wine at church during Prohibition, you were risking jail time. I don’t keep a large quantity in my home, and it’s well-hidden from my children (because I’m also the kind of mom who keeps a stash of emergency chocolate, so I’m experienced).
I use it only after my kids are tucked into bed and never to a state of incapacitation — much like I wouldn’t dream of getting passed-out drunk in case I needed to be cognizant during some sort of emergency, I wouldn’t smoke myself into a stupor while my children are in my care. Although if you’ve ever smoked, you know that would be hard to do, since it’s nothing like alcohol in its ability to lay someone out. I may smoke pot, but I’m as responsible with it as I would be with alcohol, as you are with your wine, beer, or favorite cocktail. No driving. No overindulging. I know my limits and don’t come close to reaching them. I don’t need to.
I don’t have to resort to seedy methods of getting it: no shady back-alley or parking-lot dealings here. It’s actually everywhere, and you’d probably be surprised how easy it is to obtain because there are a lot of us non-stereotypical smokers out there. I personally know lots of regular, upstanding citizens — doctors and politicians among them — who are closeted marijuana users. You’d just never know it, because by being as open about it as we’d be about drinking, for example, we would open ourselves up to all sorts of unnecessary scrutiny and judgment.
People who have never smoked weed don’t typically have a high opinion of it, mainly because they have been indoctrinated since childhood to believe that it’s a “dangerous drug” or a gateway to worse things, like if you smoke pot, the only inevitable next step is heroin (not true).
If you’re “out” as a smoker, you face unfair judgment based on these misguided perceptions. But just as having the occasional drink does not make you an alcoholic, smoking the occasional joint does not make you an addict or a pothead. It would be fantastic to go out with my friends and take a few hits or nibble on some marijuana edibles the way you’d do with a glass of wine on a girls’ night. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a place progressive enough to allow it (yet). Until then, I’ve got to remain incognito about it lest someone decide that being mildly high on occasion makes me an incapable parent.
No, of course I don’t want my kids to do it. The thought bothers me, much like the thought of them drinking at some teenage party, or having any kind of sexual interaction, makes me cringe. But not because it’s pot. Because they’re kids, and therefore too young to be experimenting with anything. Kids make stupid enough decisions even without the influence of a mind-altering substance, so like any concerned parent, I will warn them against the dangers of anything that can alter their consciousness.
To be honest, I’d love them never to touch a drop of anything stronger than coffee, ever in their entire lives, but we all know that’s hugely unrealistic. I refuse to live under a rock. So when they’re grown-ups, and capable of making rational grownup decisions, it won’t bother me if they decide to use a little ganja once in a while.
All I know is, they’d better be prepared to share. Puff, puff, pass.