You’re going to call me a deviant. You’re going to say they should take my kids away. You’re going to sneer that I’m not in high school any more, and I should grow the fuck up. Because if you live in a state where pot isn’t recreationally legal (i.e., every state except Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Alaska, California, and D.C, you lucky sons of bitches), you probably have a vastly skewed idea of what it means to smoke/eat/use marijuana on a regular basis.
Because I am a 35-year-old mom of two. And I smoke marijuana on a regular basis for my sanity, my family’s sanity, my own relaxation, my ability to sleep, and my ability to generally manage my own existence. Some people would claim this makes me a stoner. It doesn’t. It makes me a mom who’s using the best drug available to make her as functional as possible for her family.
Don’t think I admit this lightly. This author, who claims she doesn’t even smoke weed, simply wrote that it was a better alternative for moms than wine — and faced threats that social services would come snatch her kids. Other Facebook comments on her article included “#AddicatedNation.”
I am not addicted to pot, insofar as anyone can be called “addicted” to their prescription medication. It’s far easier, in fact, to go without pot; I’d roll on the floor in withdrawals if I stopped the legal drugs my psychiatrist doles out. But, pot? I might miss it some, be a little cranky.
Now, ask me to go without some of my prescription meds and I’d go into discontinuation syndrome, which is your brain trying desperately to rewire itself without the drug, failing miserably, and deciding that life is no longer worth living. Pot is nowhere near the strength and potency of that stuff, without the wild side effects and it often works better.
Look, no one bats an eye when moms talk about needing a glass of wine at the end of the day. Hell, there are jokes and memes and sit-coms centered around it. But mention that you smoke a joint at the end of the day? Well, that brings down the gauntlet of shame.
The truth is, pot makes my life better without the side effects of alcohol and many prescription drugs. It aids my mental health issues, which improves not only my life, but my family’s life — because we know the risks that come with having a depressed, anxious mother, and they are both serious and myriad.
But there’s something else moms need, something we all know about and bemoan the loss of and chase down like a starving lion putting in one more desperate run at a gazelle — we want sleep. We need sleep.
Unfortunately, since childhood, I’ve had trouble with sleep. This is a side effect of my anxiety. I had no idea that other people didn’t lie awake for hours until college, when boyfriends stayed overnight. I didn’t find a solution until years later, when someone handed me a joint and told me to take a few hits before bed. I took two hits. I was asleep in five minutes, curled on my side, in blissful slumber. I still use pot to sleep, and sleep I do: immediately, gloriously. My kids know my bed is off-limits, so there’s no worries there. And when I wake up in the morning, I’m refreshed.
I still need coffee. But I’m not the zombie-faced, knuckle-dragging monstrosity that used to haul her striped-pj-clad-ass over to the coffee pot and fuck up the basic mechanics of making a pot of joe.
Pot also — and let’s all be adults here — helps my relationship with my husband. Because I’m on a lot of drugs, I have a sex drive approximate with a hunk of granite. He does not. But we’re careful to get a strain of pot that helps in that department. That means that smoking pot tends to transform me from granite to sex kitten in approximately six minutes. Which is super-useful if you want to, you know, retain an intimate relationship with your spouse. This makes my marriage stronger — not because he gets to use my body in unspeakable ways, but because we get to experience pleasure together, close to each other, reconnecting after long days of work and kids and God knows what. Marijuana for the win.
Moreover, in general, I’m less tense. Because I’m less tense, I’m a better mom. No, I don’t smoke in front of the kids and, generally, I don’t smoke in the middle of the day. But smoking pot now and then? That helps my family run smoothly. I don’t get mad at cereal spilled or shoes lost or any of the other symptoms of tension that come from runaway anxiety. And it’s like a sign my grandmother used to keep in her kitchen: If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy.
The tide is turning, folks. Smoking recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and DC, 11 more states have decriminalized it, and 14 states are introducing legislation statutes. Several other states have medical marijuana laws coming up, including a few places in the conservative South. It’s on its way, people. The day will come when you don’t deride me as a marijuana mommy, but commend me for doing the best for my family, as long as I don’t smoke and drive. Which I don’t.
And until that day comes? I’ll be toking up now and then, improving my quality of life. Helping me, helping my family. Helping my kids. Because legal or not, I’ll do what it takes for my babies. And pot makes me a better mom.