My 7 rules for being a responsible stoner parent #It worked for me#drugs#grown ups#starred#substances March 26 2012 | Guest post by Lisa By: John Morgan – CC BY 2.0 "Mama, Mama! Let's play Candyland!" "Okay, honey! Just give me a moment. I have to use the restroom." Candyland is so much more fun baked when you're an adult. In fact, marijuana makes a lot of things more bearable and even fun. Pot can make you patient and relaxed. I get it, and so does a sizable portion of society. It's completely understandable to smoke weed even when you're a parent. That being said, there are some rules I chose to follow as a pot-smoking parent. By: PabloEvans – CC BY 2.0 The needs of my children come first Don't buy weed if your kids are going hungry. Don't run off to smoke a doobie every chance you get then spend an hour or more hiding from your kids so they don't figure out you're stoned. It would probably be smart to have a "backup adult" in case you have a bad high. Get a babysitter, have your partner there sober, or wait until the kids are asleep or at school. Also, this should be obvious, but don't smoke weed with your kid. If your kid is under 18 definitely don't share a doobie with them. Over 18, well, then you decide… I guess. Know the local laws Do you know how much weed can land you in jail? If the laws in your state are strict, you might want to try a legal alternative. If you allow your teenage/adult child to smoke weed in your home, be aware you could end up with legal trouble. The goal: staying out of jail. Know when to abstain Are you looking for employment? Are you currently going through a custody case or other legal battle? Then don't be a dummy. Stop smoking pot. Do you have other responsibilities? Are you using marijuana to procrastinate? Are you smoking pot out of a crumpled soda can you found in a pile of trash and debris on your floor/table? Be real with yourself. Either get productive when you toke, or reward yourself with reefer when you complete your project, errands, and chores. Related Post How are you going to talk about drugs with your kids? Here's how I think about a drug like marijuana: it can be fun, but it's by no means a path to greater enlightenment. By: Hammerin Man – CC BY 2.0 Don't toke and drive This is another that should be obvious, but isn't always. Just don't do this. In some areas you can actually get arrested for a DUI for simply having any amount of marijuana on you while driving, and DUIs are no joke. I get my supply from a reliable source Don't find a dealer on Craigslist, and don't allow toxic people into your life (and/or the lives of your children) just because they can provide the pot or because "Hey, they like to smoke pot, too!" I don't let "Pot Smoking Parent" become my identity If you feel like you're smoking too much you might want to consider backing off. If somebody suggests you're smoking too much you may want to consider taking a break from the bong. If people start asking you "Are you high?" every time they see you, marijuana moderation may be called for. I hide my shit! Don't leave baggies and pipes laying about. Head shops sell lots of nifty safes you can use to store your stash. Invest in one of them. You don't want your kids to get into your ganja. I realize my kids will eventually figure out what I'm doing Do you preemptively talk to your kid about marijuana? Do you let your child silently come to the realization? Do you wait for the day you get called out by your kid after DARE presents a program at their school? Well, that I can't decide for you. Eventually, whether or not you discuss it, your kid is going to figure out you smoke(d) marijuana. How you plan to discuss it is entirely up to you. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Lisa I'm a 31-year-old mom to four school aged children, still trying to grow up and find my niche. I have smoked marijuana medicinally and recreationally in the past, but I am currently not partaking. https://twitter.com/MrsJeek PREVIOUS A Mystery Science Theater 3000 birthday party NEXT A Belgian B&B fit for a rogue's gallery of guests Show/Hide comments [ 211 ] I'll start this by saying I don't smoke pot. I did a LOT of it in my mid to late teens, but my psychiatric illnesses and the medications I need to take for them mean that cannabis is not an option for me. This is a shame, as I also have fibromyalgia and have heard great stories about the use of cannabis as a pain reliever, but there you go. If it wasn't for my mental problems, you bet your arse I'd be toking with some regularity. Thank you for this post, for advice which other parents struggling with reconciling their stoner status with their status as a responsible parent, and I may come back to it in the future if this ever becomes an option for me again! Reply As someone whose parents were drug-doing hippies, let me just say: expect that your kid is probably gonna have to become the adult you aren't, if you're getting stoned while they're awake, even if it is just to make playing Candyland more bearable. (Getting high while your kid is asleep or away for the day, I can more easily tolerate. But as a person who remembers my mom being high around me, and remembers what that felt like, when I was five? Yeah. That wasn't so cool.) I'm aware my attitude makes me prudish. And I am fully in favor of legalization. But (again, as a result of my childhood) I won't ever be toking. Reply Why wasn't it cool? Was your mom following the above rules? How has it negatively affected you? Reply She did mostly follow those rules, as far as I recall. I wouldn't necessarily call her an addict (although as the child of alcoholics, she definitely has some addictive tendencies). She did the best she could, honestly. (Her family history is really fucked up.) But she *was* high/ drunk/ on X in front of me. Not a lot, just occasionally (and AFAIK she quit when I was about 6 and didn't start again til I was an adult – and I think she's quit again). She's always told me about how I would react (crying and asking her to stop) to her being high/ drunk. (And the person who posted about her mom's cigarette use? My mom did that, too, and I successfully got her to quit when I was about 10. I am asthmatic, she shouldn't have been smoking anywhere near me!) What wasn't cool about it? I always had to be the adult in the house, from the earliest age I remember. She was not. She wasn't present and I knew it, I could feel it. Even when she wasn't smoking, her memory has been shot since I can remember. It's cumulative. Negative impact: who can say. Considering my history, I am doing very well. I am stable. I graduated college (first in a generation in my family). I've been in a stable, extremely awesome relationship for 18 years. I'm mostly happy and healthy. I'm committed to activism, to making the world a better place. I'm not perfect. And I know no one is, but the *choice* to be stoned/ drunk/ impaired in front of a child is a choice I don't agree with and wouldn't personally make. BTW, in case you were wondering, I differentiated my parents as "drug-doing hippies" because I also actively identify as a hippie — albeit a more post-punk hippie. Some hippies did drugs, others don't. Not everyone who tokes is a hippie. Probably most people who first meet me assume I'm a stoner, because of my dreadlocks (I'm white) and environmentalist/ anti-consumerist/ artistic/ radically liberal (hippie) lifestyle. I do drink occasionally, but only if there's another parent around and mostly only after bedtime, or a half a glass of wine with dinner. I can count on one hand the times I've been hungover. I tried smoking pot three times in college – everyone I knew was smoking (I grew up in Northern CA) – and felt nothing and the third time I had a near-fatal asthma attack. What would my life have been without me having to become an adult so early? What would have happened if I hadn't taken on so much care-taking and felt so much shame? I have absolutely no idea. I do agree with harm-reduction and my comment wasn't saying I didn't think this article shouldn't have been posted. Parenting IS rough. I'm not disagreeing with that. (I have my own internet addiction to deal with, that's how I personally check out. Sigh.) I'm also not denying pot is a good recreational (and medicinal) drug for some people. What I'm saying is that if you make this choice, there may be consequences. Who can say what they will be in every case. I only know what the consequence was in my case (and in several friends cases). (And the consequence of the oldest kid becoming an adult too early is probably the lesser of the consequences I know about, but the story of my younger sibling is not mine to tell.) Reply (I have my own internet addiction to deal with, that's how I personally check out. Sigh.) This. THIS. THISSSSSS. Times fifty bazillion. If we want to talk about destructive parenting behaviors, this is the one that concerns me the most in myself. Yes, my work on the internet is how I support my family, but in terms of addictive/damaging behavior, I see my son's life WAY more impacted by my own unhealthy internet time management than any recreational inebriation. Reply I'd like to say I have a set of rules in place to help me on this issue, but I don't, not really. Well, I have a few. I mostly only use my iPod and not my desktop when he's around. I put the iPod away (I keep it tucked into my bra which is kinda funny, when I set it down, my son brings it to me to "put away" LOL – like many ASD kids he has strong feelings about order) when he's interacting with me, unless we're taking pictures together. He gets it to play with sometimes, too. I have tried taking internet sabbaticals, but it really doesn't work for me since 99% my socializing (aside from my husband) is done online. And my brain craves the distraction of games sometimes. Since my kid is now in full time school, it's easier to be present when he's around but the constant (I mean constant) barrage of sound from him triggers my noise sensitivity. (And that's not even getting into the marital issues.) Sigh. For real this is one of THE issues of our time. Wait you have dreadlocks and are an adult? Like a real one? Or a 30 year old McDonald's employee adult? Honestly your story seems like you have no idea what your saying u just said u had to become an adult too early bc of your mom smoking pot but then you said she stopped when you were 6 and didn't start until you were an adult. That just seems like she was that kind of parent and you were that type of kid. The weed had nothing to do with it? Or am I wrong?.. Reply I'm glad you metioined the other evils, namely drink and X!? Wow! I would never take X in front of kids. I smoke weed but function normally on it; work, home etc all easy and run of the mill. Reply Speaking as the child of two stoner parents, when I was three, I managed to seriously cut my hand while they were high. I don't know how DFAC wasn't involved as it was to the tendon. The message you are inadvertently giving to your kid when you have to light up to play with them is that you have to be high to enjoy spending time around them. Reply My son seriously cut his finger open requiring stitches and physical therapy when he was 2. I was not high, nor drunk, nor impaired in any way. Accidents happen. I don't think anyone is saying that the only time they can play with their kids is when they partake. I love spending time with my kids – depending on the activity. Sometimes it's as boring as a mofo. And no, I don't smoke. Reply In this case, my parents were high and *they admit* their judgment was worse because of it. It was the first in several things that got them to quit by the time I was 7. My dad spending money on weed that they later needed to take me to the doctor was the final straw- but in their judgement, their parenting was significantly impacted by being stoned. Reply I grew up in a large scale grow house that was part of an even larger grow operation. I mean we were living in the dark so our electric bill wouldn't be so suspicious, blankets and foil over the windows so the lights couldn't be seen from the outside, crazy insane air filters so the neighbors wouldn't smell. My parents weren't just hippies smoking pot, they were felons. I do support the legalization of marijuana, but i agree, I became the adult my parents couldn't be. I smoked pot maybe twice in high school, hated it every time. I absolutely hated that I couldn't have friends over and hated that I couldn't just be a normal kid. Honestly, it's sad we live in a society that doesn't like pot, but we do and i think our kids deserve to grow up without feeling like I did. Reply I stopped smoking pot when we found out I was pregnant with number 1 . Since I breastfed, I didn't partake again for nearly two years all up. Tried one after I stopped nursing and it blew my bloody mind! Decided then and there I wouldn't make a good stoner mum, so haven't had any since. Bout 9 years ago now. My husband still puffs almost daily, and is the most loving attentive dad my kids could hope for. He leaves the house about 5 each morning for work, and is home most days before the kids get home from school. We do homework and reading together with the kids, then dad takes all four on their bikes to the local playground while I get dinner ready. We haven't figured out how to talk about the subject yet, but I guess since honesty has worked with every other question they've had, we will do the same with this one. And yep, kids needs always come first. Mortgage, groceries, fuel, school excursions, sports teams, the list is almost endless. But when it does finally finish, mum and dad time. Reply I'll leave my opinion on this to myself, mostly because I never enjoyed smoking weed and can only go on my own experience with what it's like to smoke it. But I will say though that if you (not 'you the author' but the general 'you') are smoking weed or using other drugs (including alcohol) while hosting a playdate or otherwise watching someone else's child, it is your responsibility to let the other parent(s) know that this is something that will be going on around their kid. The author didn't address this (perhaps because she wouldn't do it herself–but this came up on another site and things got quite heated) but I would certainly want to know if the supervising parent was stoned around my kid. I mean, it's really none of my business what someone does around their own kids, but everything changes when it concerns mine. Reply I think we share the same life! Everything you just said is exactly what I went through, am going through and how I will deal with it when I do. I think now a days, especially in Canada IMO, pot isn't such a big deal. I think I get more negative reactions to my hands and knuckles being tattooed as a mom then my friend who is a legal grower and *gasp* a wonderful single mother. I haven't smoked pot in years but I have nothing against it as long as it doesn't harm anyone. I've seen first hand the affects of alcohol and grew up with alcoholic parents and even seeing parents at the bar I would much rather my husband come home and smoke a bowl then have a drink. As long as it doesnt become an issue… Reply I love that this article was posted not because I am a pot smoking parent myself but I totally support the legalization of weed. I have gotten a ton of grief from my husband about drinking and being a parent but like the aurthor wrote, you have a set of rules. I would never breast feed drunk, don't drink more than one beer if I am around my older kid, never drink if I am driving, etc. I used to be a nurse for a methadone clinic and was surprised to hear even heroin users set similar rules. For one woman, she made sure her kids were bathed fed and at school on time before she got high and did small amounts so she could be able to care for them when they got home. A break from the rules was how she knew she became an addict and needed help, she was getting high in the bathroom and asking her eldest son who was about 8 to care for the younger siblings. What is really important is knowing limits, don't be in denial about your abilities to function, and LISTEN, don't be defensive, if someone tells you hey you are going too far. I am a firm believer that people can be occasional users without being addicts. Its just a blurry line at times. Reply As a mom who was raised by drug addicts/alcoholics, I am really sad about this post. It was NOT cool when my parents were drunk or stoned around us. I remember finally just starting to play alone because I didn't want to be around them. Also, to add to the 'your kid will find out' bit, when they do, you will have to explain to them what laws are 'ok' to break and which are not. In my experience, for children and teenagers this can be a very scary area. You will also run the risk of them outing you to school officials or other police–"wait, my mommy does that! Its not bad, she says it's fun!" slippery, slippery slope. Reply I want to address this head-on: this is NOT a post about being an addict or an alcoholic and raising kids. It's a post about responsibly using a substance while raising kids. NO ONE is advocating that someone gets so stoned they can't be around their kids. I'm sorry for the experiences you had growing up, but it's totally possibly for a parent to responsibly use a substance and be an amazing parent all the time. As for the second part: the comments in the post How are you going to talk to your kids about drugs? really touched on this. Reply I totally understand what you're saying Stephanie, but based on my experiences of knowing a whole lotta people who enjoyed various drugs in their day, there is a *large* number out there whose perception of their own actions while high or drunk is totally out of step with how they're actually acting. So in the realm of this discussion, I think it's a valid question to ask regarding one's condition while around their kids. I've known far too many stoners who went about their day thinking that no one could tell they were stoned, but to most it was painfully obvious. Others cope incredibly well or even better while high. But it's a slippery slope to assume that each person who chooses to use drugs while "on-duty" with their kids has the self-awareness to be fully aware of their behavior and actions. Reply Stephanie, I think that your comment that it is "totally possible for a parent to responsibly use a substance and be an amazing parent all the time" is opinion, not fact. I also think that being an amazing parent is very different from being a responsible parent. Reply What is your argument against her opinion? Is it just your opinion or do you have something to add that could make her opinion change? First you need to define what a responsible parents is and then explain how an amazing parent would not be classed as responsible? Is a responsible parent one that plays with their kids, educates them, goes to work to make sure they are fed, clothed and have shelter? How does consuming cannabis stop a parent from being responsible? Reply I have no argument against Stephanie's opinion, it's her opinion – what's to argue? I did, however, feel that she was moderating Adrienne's comment in an attempt to invalidate it. I am so willing to bet that half the people posting how horrible this is, have a glass of wine before playing candy land with their kids too 😉 Reply Likewise, everyone has SOMETHING they "need" to get through a hard day. These thing can include coffee, tea (even herbal tea), chocolate, milkshakes, a glass of wine, cupcakes etc. And yes, there are hard parenting days as there are wonderful parenting days because that's what days are like. Am I suggesting that a little marijuana or a glass of wine is as innocuous as a cupcake? Yes I am. As many people have said, different people react differently to different substances. Some can handle their marijuana very well. Some gets tummy aches from cupcakes. I also want to point out that a lot of people who are mentioning that they have had bad experiences with substance-abusing parents have also mentioned OTHER substances in conjunction with marijuana. On a personal note, my mother was a teetotaler and I have MANY, MANY dark memories from my childhood. I honestly believe that if she had smoked the occasional tea stick, things would have vastly improved. Reply Yup, agreed. A lot of what's 'acceptable' to you is based on whether you think cannabis is worse than alcohol or not. (Or indeed worse than cupcakes.) Ultimately everyone has to make this decision for themselves. There is often legislation, you can read the scientific research, you can know your own and your family's needs. Up to you. Personally, I've never used cannabis, but I bet it can be treated responsibly, as alcohol can be. (Using something along the lines of the rules of the original poster.) Yes to this! I can have a beer to take the edge off no problem, but if I do the same with sweets or junk food, I'm looking at a 50/50 shot of having to lie down for the next half hour while my stomach settles. No biggy most of the time, but now that I'm a parent that can be a serious handicap! This post made me sad too. A friend of mine had pot-smoking parents, and it always made me really uncomfortable. They weren't out of control – I'm sure they had similar rules – but still. I didn't feel good or safe around it as a kid. What parents do on their own time, away from kids, I have no problem with. But doing around/in front of the kids is a different story. As a kid who was in that position – it wasn't good. Reply I have a lot of friends and family in recovery, and I totally recognize that there are many of us who cannot use substances moderately. That said, I also recognize that many people CAN be responsible about their substance use, and I strongly feel there needs to be room for discussing the wide space between complete sobriety and addiction. Reply Agreed. My dad (and I assume my mom on occasion) was a very regular smoker when I was a child and still is. He also owned and operated a business, had an active social life with non-smoking friends and devoted his life to my mother and me. I was a teenager before I knew he smoked (you'd think I would have realized his tin snowman "Snowy" was his stashbox) and when we talked about it he was always very frank and honest with me. As an adult I've smoked pot occasionally though not since becoming a parent. I know that our honest communication is a huge reason that I have a healthy relationship with pot use. Neither my childhood nor adulthood were negatively affected by my dad's regular smoking. There's no reason any other responsible user can't have the same outcome with their kids Reply I'm glad to see this. My parents both smoked while I was growing up and were very responsible about it. They had rules much like this. They were always honest with me about it when I was old enough to understand. I never saw any difference between them having a beer or a smoke in the evening. I know that addiction and substance abuse can be really touchy topics but I think Ariel's right about the need for discussion in the space between complete sobriety and substance abuse. It's a continuum. I'd much rather see discussion about responsible pot use than comments damning anyone who's ever taken a hit or had a beer while around their kids. My dad smoked (amongst other things!) during my childhood and I had NO IDEA until I was in my mid-twenties. I would assume that was because of rules like those in this post. Agreed. My mom and dad both smoked, and once dad took off my mom sold (not huge amounts, but enough to cover food). I knew about it from the time I was 10 or so, and never really thought twice. I didn't try it until I was 21 and I also never got drunk, tried cigarettes, or partied as a teenager. Besides the typical teenage drama and the fact that my dad eventually left for another woman never to be seen again (totally unrelated to pot) I had a pretty happy, healthy childhood. I have six very well adjusted siblings, too. Not everyone ends up like that, of course. My boyfriend and I both smoke, he more often than I do, and we will once the baby's here too. To me it's the same (better, really… my stepdad drinks and it's a big issue) as alcohol. I wouldn't get trashed when I'm taking care of him and I won't be stoned either. My wife and I are very disappointed this article was accepted to be displayed on this website. To claim it is OK to be impaired in front of your children is irresponsible and in my state illegal. Its depressing to hear the author prefers to be impaired by marijuana when she plays with her daughter, and that marijuana makes parts of her life bearable. The advice given in this article is dangerous and immature. It honestly sounds like the ideas 16 olds would come up with to justify being high with their kids. offbeatmama.com has lost my viewer ship and I hope they will make better decisions in the future when they chose which articles to post. Reply I totally respect that this may be a divisive post for some folks, but I'd urge readers to allow that not all moderate use of substances constitutes abuse. Ultimately, this post is what's known in public health circles as harm reduction. Abstaining from smoking pot is an awesome choice — but this author is exploring ways to make a different choice, and do so responsibly. That said, as a publisher, I totally recognize that Offbeat Mama can't be a perfect fit for every reader. I completely support y'all finding sites that feel like the right fit with your values. Reply Ariel, I get where you are coming from, but I kinda think that this should perhaps be on OBL? Instead of OBM? I get what saying this, implies towards my personal opinion on the subject matter; and you aren't wrong. But will it seriously offend the people that this is "harm re-ducting" for? I think it would help placate the people that are…disturbed by this post. It would certainly make me feel less disturbed. Reply What on earth is OBL? Reply I feel like a diverse post like this needs viewpoints from different angles. Maybe someone else should write another post form a different perspectives? I am a bit sad Ariel that you suggest, just because some of your readers disagree with this article, we no longer are part of the offbeatmama-team! I mean… I am not even against smoking weed as a parent (I am a non smoker though), but just … setting rules seems like this is rather a serious habit, and therefore got out of control, no? Reply I don't think Ariel suggested it, the person she was responding to said that they were leaving the site. Reply Yeah, just to reiterate this: I haven't suggested anyone leave. Jake said we had "lost" his "viewer ship" and I simply responded the same way I respond to anyone across any on any of my websites who announces they're no longer reading. (And I've dealt with literally hundreds of flounces like this. They don't rile me up at all, because it's just part of publishing websites dedicated to nontraditional stuff. Not everyone's going to like it, and that's totally fine.) I stand behind publishing this post, and I'm not interested in placating anyone. If this post makes a reader decide Offbeat Mama is no longer a good fit for them, then it's certainly not my place to argue with them or convince them that they're wrong. I respect people's values, even when they're not a fit with what we're doing here on Offbeat Mama. Reply Ariel, I just wanted to pop in and say that I love how you bring articles on board without judgement. I think that's the foundation of this site: all kinds of parents in a judgement-free zone. I love reading all the articles, including the ones by those whose views differ from my own. Reply Really, yes! "parents in a judgment-free zone" seems so impossible in real life usually, doesn't it? Reply I'm disappointed that we really even went here. I understand the point that this is not about being an addict, but somehow being responsible and using drugs around your children (to play a game with them), seems at least to me, like completely skipping out on the reality of enjoying your kids. I have used in the past, and have spent a long road getting my life into focus… I also had horrible parents who chose their vices over me many, many times… Supporting an article that is pro- "how to hide your weed" is just plan disgusting to me. Also, for the fact that you can replace 'pot' with your drug of choice here. My opinion: In life we have a choice, and being a parent should be one that doesn't include checking out of it with drugs. Reply You say skipping out on reality, I say enhancing reality. It certainly is not checking out of life. Reply I guess my issue is with this assumption: that we all CHOOSE to be a parent. I didn't, I was young, ON birth control and didnt have the family support for adoption or abortion. That being said I did not drink until I was 20(my son was 2) and I didnt try pot to a few months after that. Since then i have learned I HATE drinking, and that I love to play with my son if I've had a little smoke. I know it sounds like I can't deal with reality, but real, I'm facing depression, an increasingly hard internship, and a challenging 3 year old. I strive to make sure my smoking is never when he is around, but if it does overlap with when he is home my fiance is there, sober! Reply Thank you for this post! It is totally possible to smoke pot and be a responsible parent. I follow all the above rules except I always wait until the kids are asleep to smoke. I take a few hits and watch episodes of The Office or The Walking Dead. I compare it to some mothers who have a few glasses of wine in the evening, except I'm not hungover in the morning. Reply I love this post. As a child of two pot smokers, both with great jobs, (my mother designs highways for the Ontario gov't and my father is a highly paid electrician) if you have a set of rules, and it works for you then have at it. I currently don't have any kids, but when my husband and I do get our chance, it will be something we talk about. He prefers beer over pot, and I vice-versa. My parents still smoke on a regular basis, and they did hide it from us for a while (given I do live in Canada), but she explained to me that if I ever wanted to try it, to do it first at home. My husband and I already know how we're going to introduce these things into our kids lives when they get to the age, where most kids are trying new things, much my my parents did. Reply I'm totally amazed by the response to this post. Surely, in an era where 42% of Americans have admitted to smoking pot and where there are 18 states with pending marijuana legalization discussions are happening, we can talk about RESPONSIBLE pot smoking. It's also not like this is some sort of new issue — many of us having kids now were raised by parents who smoked pot, and sure! I get that some people had shitty experiences (substance abuse happens, and it sucks balls) but there are also millions of us who didn't. My parents smoked pot every once and a while — as a result, I refused to even TRY smoking pot until college. It was something stupid for old hippies!! I don't smoke pot, but plenty of my parenting friends do — parents who also have fulltime jobs, go to grad school, and are otherwise functional, awesome members of society. I just can't believe that we're still in a place where marijuana use is so controversial!!! Especially on a site about non-traditional parenting. WTF?! Reply I think the issue that most commenters have raised (and my problem too) is the difference between being a parent and occasionally smoking pot and being high while you're with your children. Kids aren't stupid, and impaired adults (on any substance) are NOT fun. If you want to get stoned or drunk as a parent, then guidelines are great, but I think that rule #1 should be not in front of the kiddos. Reply Like Becca, I'm surprised, but unlike her I am a parent, and I occasionally smoke pot, and sometimes around my kids. I choose not to smoke in front of them, but I have been known to have a tiny puff while hanging out with my children. I'm also an ivy league graduate who works a demanding full time job. I grew up with parents who smoked a little bit too. I knew they were stoned every now and then, and it just wasn't a big deal. In other words, my experience has been different from some other commenters here who have dealt with addicted parents and parent friends who abuse substances. Newflash: people on the internet have different experiences! Not big deal. What IS a big deal is commenters saying that because they had a different experience with a stoner parent, that the author of this piece wrong. People: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. This is a pretty common theme on this website: what works for this parent may not work for you. It's not a big deal. I'm all for people drawing their parenting boundaries differently, but I've always admired the members of Offbeat Mama's community for their remarkable ability to tolerate viewpoints that differ from our own. Like Becca, I think I'm just surprised because I'm just not seeing that tolerance in these comments. Reply I think that this piece wouldn't be nearly as controversial (or not even controversial at all) had it been a personal essay about how one parent chooses to smoke pot and the rules she sets for HERSELF. As a non-smoker myself, I'd actually be really curious about what that lifestyle is like. What bothers me about this piece (not hugely, but some) is that it sets "rules" without giving context. It's hard for me to express why that's so different, but it is. The headline also seems like a trigger. Maybe I don't understand how "stoner" is used, but to me "stoner" implies someone with a serious habit, not a recreational user… I'd be equally bothered by seven rules for "alcoholic" parents. Reply I am not a pot smoker, but I know I can have a beer, or even two or three and not be "drunk." I can achieve a slight buzz which will make otherwise monotonous or puerile activities more entertaining (like simple board games). Can you not achieve a similar buzz with marijuana? Are your only options sober and stoned with no variation in between? Reply You can definitely be just a little stoned. Having just a puff is similar to having a glass of wine. It's a much more pleasurable and functional state than being really stoned is, IMHO. Reply Tolerance makes a HUGE difference in this case. After smoking daily for months most people build up to a level where they are just buzzed rather than ever really rolling on the floor laughing, etc. Many people seem to have only smoked a few times in their lives and found themselves incapacitated – that's really no comparison. That's like looking at how you drove the first time you ever got behind the wheel and extrapolating it to all drivers everywhere, no matter their experience. Thanks for this post – as someone who rarely drinks, but is a daily smoker, I do enjoy reading positive articles about responsible use. It seems like many people are still hung up on the "hippy-trippy lazy stoner with the munchies" image, while there is a far wider group of people who do partake. In my country, a whopping 33.5% of people have toked, and we're still waiting to see medical cannabis made available. It would be madness to assume that all of these people do not use responsibly. I know from experience with my friends that it is possible to have a toke or two and still be able to be 'on call' for the kids – and I know that none of them will ever use in front of their children. Glad to see OBM continuing to tackle controversial issues, this is just another reason why you have my continued readership. Reply I don't smoke pot at all because it just makes me sleepy. But if pot had the effect on me that it does on most people (like… my husband), I can totally see how this could not only make my anxiety around children lessen, but how it would actually keep me interested in the boring things that kids do/say/want to play with over and over again, etc. I also want to thank you guys for running articles like this. The diversity and openness to many schools of parenting is what makes Offbeat Mama the best. Reply I grew up with an alcoholic mother, and that sucked too, but far be it from me to suggest that all parents should therefore be teetotallers. I think the same rules apply with pot for sure. If you use it responsibly, then (besides the legal factors)I don't honestly see how it is any different to a glass of wine in the evenings, or even the occasional wild night while the kids are elsewhere. Reply As someone who doesn't and has never used marijuana, I thought this was a respectful article about one person's experience using a controversial substance in their home in a responsible way. There are plenty of legal drugs out there– cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription meds– that are used in moderation or abused by people who are parents. Marijuana isn't much different. I have a feeling that the author used the opening with a sense of humor, a bit of tongue-in-cheek to get readers' attention. I think most people would laugh if someone made an offhand joke about needing a drink to get through Candyland. It's a pretty dull game. If you actually read the article, you'd see that she doesn't really recommend getting high while the kids are around. Thanks to the editorial staff for always encouraging discussion. Reply I completely agree with Nelle. I personally don't like marijuana, but I truly don't believe smoking a little marijuana is any different than having a glass of wine with dinner (which a large percentage of parents probably do). It seems that some readers are offended/have been affected by addiction and this hits a nerve with them or they're misintupretting the article or they find an issue with marijuana being illegal. The author clearly states that you need to know how laws are in your state. Some states are much more casual about it. I appreciate this article like I appreciate the rest of Off Beat Mama: it makes you think and takes some people out of their comfort zone. As a reader, you always make your own choices on what you decide to do. This is just a glimpse into what some people are doing. Reply I'm totally not a pot smoker (I've tried a couple times and HATED it), but I get where this post is coming from and am a little surprised by all the "disappointed" and "sad" responses. I don't support getting stoned in front of your children, or being so baked that you can't function as a parent, but I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a hit now and then after the kids are asleep or at school. To me, at least, it's no different than a parent who chooses to drink a beer or a glass of wine after the toddler is in bed. Or the parent who chooses to duck outside and have a quick cigarette. There's a HUGE difference between indulging a little bit and going crazy. That said, I do live in California, where the stuff is effectively legal (medical marijuana is legal, and it's stupidly easy to get a medical card for it)… so I might have a different perspective than those living in an area where it's more likely there will be a scary legal consequence. I wouldn't do it, personally, but as long as it isn't negatively affecting your kids' lives, then I don't see any harm in it. If it DOES start to have negative effects on you or your child's life, then clearly it's time to reevaluate. Reply I see the only "bad" things being the potential legal issues, and that's how this is different from alcohol or cigarettes. Parents who smoke pot should make double sure that they aren't running the risk of going to jail, or having to pay fines they can't afford, or whatever. Reply My "sad" response was based solely on the author referring to getting high while being actively with her children. I have absolutely no problem with parents doing whatever they want on their own time – I know that once I pop out this kid, I will absolutely be returning to my first love: craft beer. I responded because the author talked about smoking pot *while playing with her kids*. As a kid who was around parents that were high, I thought my perspective might bear some weight here. There was no abuse, no addicts, nothing like that. But my friend's parents were high around us nonetheless, and as a kid it made me profoundly uncomfortable. That's it. No judgment towards anyone who likes smoking pot – I just think it's worth hearing about the perspective from the kids. My perspective: it really sucked. Reply Perhaps you were in a very different situation than I, but I felt very much the same around any adults that were drinking, but took a different lesson from it. These weren't bad situations – there were sober adults, the drinkers were not alcoholics, and they didn't drink enough to be wacky drunk, but maybe enough to get just a bit louder and sillier. I felt really weird and didn't know what to do around them, and even though they were happy to talk to me and play with me, I just didn't want to deal with it. A few times, I walked home from my friends' houses if their parents were drinking. My awkwardness and discomfort and confusion, though, were almost entirely the product of my upbringing. I had parents who NEVER drank in front of me, didn't keep alcohol in the house, and made it clear that even though OTHER (not as good) people might do those things, WE (morally good) people don't do them. They also didn't really make subtle distinctions – sure, drinking and smoking cigarettes were legal and drugs weren't, but it was all in the same category of "stuff good people don't do." So for me, sure it sucked at the time. But for me, it leads to a desire to be more transparent with my own kids (when I have them). I think that it would have been fine if I wouldn't have been so confused by those grown ups, who by all accounts were fine, decent people, but who also did this thing that I was trained to believe was really wrong. If I would have understood more about what alcohol did, why people might drink it, why they behaved a little differently afterwards, and what "moderation" meant, I think the discomfort would've been gone. Reply I think this thread brings up another question that should be right up there with "How will you talk to your kids about it?" Specifically, "How will you deal with your children's friends in regards to it?" Will you be (even a little high) around them? Will you discuss the drug with them? Will you admit you smoke? Etc, etc. Reply I must admit that while I am very "to each their own" about this, I was super uncomfortable around adults who were drinking or high. My parents are really square so I'd never seen it until getting a ride home with the DD after babysitting, when the parents in the van were falling over drunk. I agree that it might be good for kids to be exposed to adults who are partaking responsibly, but I probably won't be comfortable smoking pot around my kids, and I'm slowly giving up alcohol anyways because it's bad for my anxiety (though I will still have one drink on occasion). They'll be exposed to it through my brother and his fiancee and I'm ok with that. Reply Can I ask you what made you uncomfortable about them being high? Just knowing that they were? Reply Thanks for this post! IMO, pot is safer than alcohol. Reply My Dad smokes pot every day, which is something that I didn't really figure out until I was in college. I remember telling my brother, and he was like, "Yeah. I know. And?" My Dad and I have never talked about his marijuana use, but I do suspect that he has the same issues with anxiety and depression that I do, and I can't blame him for self medicating throughout my childhood. I remember him being totally chill and relaxed when I was a kid, so I guess his pot smoking probably left me with better memories than the alternative! Reply I was a late-blooming stoner — I didn't start until my late 20s. Before that, I'd been so brainwashed by the propaganda of the war on drugs that I believed smoking pot made you an uncontrollable maniac. In reality, it makes me and my friends REALLY ENJOY sitting on the couch watching TV. I love this post. The evil face of marijuana has been manufactured by propagandists, and just isn't truthful. While it can be abused, most people can be responsible with it, and this post is a good guide to being a responsible user. Reply Well, this is one of those subjects I'm on the fence about, and I can see both sides. First, I agree with some other readers who had issues with the author smoking in order to play Candyland. I think you can use responsibly, but to smoke before playing with your kid? I don't think that's ok. You get so little time with your children, why waste any of it baked and trying to figure out if King Candy and Queen Ice Cream are separated or just "taking a break"? That is 100% not ok, and violates what I think should be Rule 8: "Don't do it in front of your kids". But on the flip side, I appreciate that she urges parents to listen carefully when others say, "you have a problem". That's pretty important, if so many people notice you're out of it, you should probably rethink what you're doing in your downtime. Basically, I don't think it's cool to be stoned around your kids, even if they don't notice. Personally, I'm not a fan of doing anything illegal around your kids either: if someone finds out, you could lose your kids. That's something no one's really talked about, and I think it needs to be seriously considered before you decide to be a stoner parent. Little kids, as someone else said, will spout off what they see to other people, it's just what they do, but that could spell disaster if you're doing illegal things that they happen to see, even if you take every precaution. Overall, I think any parent partaking needs to weigh the risks between what they're doing and the possible consequences it could have on their family. Reply I understand and totally get adults participating in adult behavior. But I agree that doing something illegal around your kids, regardless of how I feel about the legality of that substance, is a really difficult thing for me because of this issue of losing your children over it. It's just not worth it to me. Kids DO talk (I always joke that they tell on you, because wow, do they). And even if they didn't, the chance of losing them is just too big. I'm also very uncomfortable with the concept of drinking, smoking weed, or other downer type of drugs while kids are sleeping. My kids' dad (my ex) is simply a heavy sleeper and a cop (so no drugs involved here), but when he wouldn't wake up one time his six year old called 911 and they busted in his door. It puts you in a bad position to possibly miss an emergency or not be able to handle it correctly…or just to be an extra heavy sleeper that particular night with the authorities breaking in your house unexpectedly. I know everyone is different, but so is every trip and many of us can't predict things like that. For me personally, that would be enough not to do it so my kids aren't in danger. Or so I don't get a surprise visit from the cops over just being extra sleepy and scaring the kids to call for help. Reply Wow! This was quite the post today. I have really enjoyed reading all the replies as well. Personally, I think that smoking and being with your kids is unacceptable. Just as I would not drink around my kid, I would not smoke either. I think that the people who say when kid is asleep or kid is away, that is a WHOLE other animal but imagine getting stoked/drunk/whatever and playing a game with your kid and kid whacks his/her head on the table and needs stitches. You can not drive, do you really want to call the cops? This could lead to actual CPS cases (which I have seen even in our lovely state of California where weed is decriminalized in most areas). I think that smoking and then being with your kids falls under the irresponsible smoking category but again, that is just me. Reply This would be my concern too, Jessica. What if something happens and you need to drive your kid to the hospital, call the police, perform CPR, stop your child from choking, or deal with any number of random things that can happen to a child? Every parent knows how fast things can happen…how many accident stories start with "I had just turned away for a second…"? This is why I would never allow my daughter to be supervised by anyone under the influence of anything unless there was someone sober around. It's just not worth the risk. Reply While I can't speak from a parents perspective, I have successfully administered first aid/CPR and/or contacted emergency services while stoned, rolling and tripping. I have had far more trouble doing the same things while drunk – it's unfair to tarnish all drug-users with the brush of irresponsibility. Reply I wasn't tarnishing anyone, I was asking questions. My point was, if you are high while watching your kid and needed to call the police, would you do so? Even knowing that if they came and sensed you were high there would be a risk that you could lose them and/or be arrested? What would you do if you had to get in the car with your kid and drive somewhere? And even though you might have been able to administer CPR/first aid while high, do you really think everyone is capable of doing so? In my experience that's hardly the case. All I'm saying is that shit happens and a perfectly normal situation can change in an instant, and being high may suddenly make the most responsible drug-using parent incapable of reacting the best way. Reply By that token, no parent should drink alcohol, either. Reply And I think that's actually where many of the replies are coming from. If you are the person in charge of children, you shouldn't drink or do drugs. (Obviously this is just my opinion, but I like to use the 'babysitter test' – would you trust a babysitter who was getting high/drunk while in charge of your child? Probably not. So why would you if you were the person in charge of your child?) I agree it gets somewhat confusing when it's "just" a glass of wine and doesn't actually make you drunk, so nothing is 100% fast and true. Reply I don't think you should drink if you are the parent "on duty." Reply If you're saying that no parent should be drinking to the point of any intoxication while on sole duty of their children or anyone else's children, I totally agree. Because that's what I'm talking about…behavior while taking care of children. Reply The writer doesn't say that she is the only adult in the house. For all we know this is an after-dinner game and her sober partner is sitting in the room setting up the board. Supported I think by the fact that she can get away from a small child long enough to go to the bathroom for a few minutes uninterrupted – how often does that happen without help? Reply I think she actually says in the post that you might want to have another adult in the house–sober spouse, babysitter, etc. Reply All I could think of when reading this article was how using an illegal drug in the presence of/while caring for children can easily result in a report being made to Children's Aid (or your local equivalent). In fact, if your kid indicates that this happens to their teachers, youth workers, etc. those professionals are often legally obligated to report you. It doesn't matter how "responsible" you are with your consumption – if someone finds out (and kids often suspect or know more than parents think they do), you are opening your family up to the risk of a child welfare investigation. This is a big deal, and I was disappointed that it wasn't addressed directly in the article. Reply People have already mentioned this, but I feel it need reiterating. Getting drunk/rip-roaring stoned is TOTALLY different than having -a- drink or -a- puff. It does not impair your ability to assess a situation. It just relaxes you a little. Pretty much ALL of my friends have a drink or two right in front of their kids. The kids know that what they are drinking is "just for adults" and the parents are just as capable on parenting as they would be otherwise. I know it's hard for non-drinkers to understand this, but moderation is ENTIRELY possible. I see examples of it every weekend. Reply Even if cannabis was abused by parents of young children I think it would be better for society than if those same parents were abusing alcohol. Cannabis is by far the least worrisome of all the drugs around that are abused. It's not physically addictive, you can't overdose on it. I have never known a single person under the influence of cannabis that could not perform any task (maybe slightly less well than sober but no worse than an over tired person). I recently went to a gig where the majority of the crowd were drunk. I would have much preferred if the majority of the crowd were stoned or sober. I don't understand why cannabis gets such a bad rap when alcohol is so often ignored. Reply Here is what I don't like, and it may be off topic, but whatever. Why is it that we are encouraged to have a discussion, but then when we share negative experiences we are shouted down? I am sure it is possible for there to be parents who are responsible substance users. I have never personally witnessed this, either as a parent, child, or educator. And I want to echo what one commenter said: one persons perception of their actions while high may not really be what it's like for the people around them and their children. I'm glad that, in the comments, the moderators have pointed out that this post is not advocating alcoholism or addiction, but it should be pointed out that an alcoholic or addict reading this post would take it as a license to keep on keeping on. I don't have any problem with it being published, but I take issue with how those of us who don't agree are being treated. /end rant Reply Hey Adrienne, This post is about moderate substance use — not about abusing it, which is why Ariel and I both pointed out that we're NOT talking about addicts and/or alcoholics here. I don't feel like we mistreated anyone, but if you'd like to discuss it further we'd be happy to do so! You can contact us here. Reply Having read all the comments as well, I would like to respectfully say that I don't think anyone is being "shouted down." If anything, I think it's more of a desire to keep the negative comments from spiraling out of control. I have seen other posts on OBM that had to have the comments closed due to extreme negativity, which is a shame. This site strives to reach all audiences, as small as they may be. It is the hope that those minorities can find support. Reply Just want to reinforce the "Thanks for posting and hosting" sentiment to the author and website. I love Offbeat Mama because it's offbeat, and often goes against cultural expectations. So, thanks. Reply I just feel sad that some parents need a "buffer" to make parenting enjoyable or tolerable. Kids can pick up on things so easily that I wonder how many would get the feeling that they were not enough or not good enough to just BE with you. I don't know, maybe i'm just not offbeat enough to appreciate this. Reply Perhaps that is a little sad, but it's also a fact of life. Not all Moms find parenting to meet their expectations, or were even enjoying a tolerable existance before they had children. Many women suffer from anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, boredom, etc and medicate in other ways as well. Some Moms have to take Zoloft to make parenting (and life) enjoyable and tolerable. I think it's unfair to put down a parent who struggles with their role. You can't be awesome at everything. Reply Yes! I think it's so interesting that it's supposedly "ok" to regulate our minds in certain ways but not others. It's ok to stop eating dairy and sugar because it makes you feel sharper and more alert, but it's not ok to find a doctor to prescribe you adderall to get the same effect. Unless you have ADHD. Then it's ok. And it's ok to go into a yogic breathing routine to calm yourself down when you get really frustrated with your kid, but it's not ok to go in the other room and take a small toke from a pipe. It is ok, though, to take a xanax. But only if you have a medically diagnosed anxiety disorder. And of course, some people will view what's "ok" through a different lens than this. It's all so very, very subjective. Reply There is a big difference in taking a medication because you are chemically imbalanced and smoking an illegal drug every day, even while you need to be present for your kids. If you are smoking weed because of "Anxiety", why aren't you on prescribed medications to deal with it? Ones that don't get you intoxicated? There is a big difference between getting frustrated and leaving the room for "yogic breathing" and smoking a pipe because you are frustrated. I am very liberal, I am also a drug and alcohol user and I am also a single parent, but as a parent you need to exercise impulse control. You need to not be under the influence while you are parenting. You don't need to entirely stop doing drugs, but you need to make sure your child never sees you intoxicated because kids do NOT like seeing their parents intoxicated. And if your child finds out you are doing drugs there is something wrong there. You need to be more discreet than that, there is really no excuse for a child finding out you are engaging in something that is illegal other than your own carelessness. Children pick up on things that are not well hidden from them. I am all for being offbeat, but I am not for parenting while intoxicated. You can wait to toke after your kid is in bed for the night, that's cool, but don't be high in front of them. Reply I didn't realize my dad was a pothead until my college boyfriend said he smelled pot coming from the girl's room across the hall. I said to him, "That doesn't smell like pot, it smells like my dad's work room in my basement." My then boyfriend just stared at me for a good minute before he started laughing. Then, he said to me, "Your dad is a pothead!!" Reply how did this make you feel to find this out? Reply This is over the line and I'm pro-legalization and pro-medical use and pro-recreational use. Yep, you guys lost me with this bit: "Candyland is so much more fun baked when you're an adult. In fact, marijuana makes a lot of things more bearable and even fun." Smoking pot on your own time is one thing but smoking pot to make being with your kid bearable? It's offensive to the kid, it's offensive to people who can't have (more) kids, it's offensive to parents who keep their "coping" with having children to legal means. (I'm personally, fully aware of how challenging having kids can be sometimes. I wouldn't consider getting a little tipsy so that I could handle the social functions I need to attend with my kids, nor would anyone suggest it. Why would you advocate suggesting that getting a little baked to "deal" with Candyland is acceptable?) What really pushed me over the line of dropping my RSS feeds for you all is the shouting down of the commenters that expressed negative _experience_ with parents who thought they were responsible pot smokers. The moderators coming in and saying "We're not advocating abuse, just use of an illegal substance to deal with having children!" And to the above posters who claim that you can't be abusive or addicted to pot, I call bullshit. My ex-spouse is addicted, abusive, and thinks he's totally in control and that no one knows he's stoned. Reply LM… You really spoke my mind here. Thank you for pulling this together so well! Reply Thanks for the feedback. As I said up-thread, I'm not surprised that this post is divisive, nor do I expect Offbeat Mama to be the perfect fit with everyone's values. While I'm always sad to hear when folks decide to stop reading, I'm also completely in support of each person finding parenting websites that feel like a good fit with their values — even if that's not us. Reply While I see your point, there are things that must be over the line; even for an inclusive place, at some point. I'm not going to equate this to something more horrendous – it's certainly not the worst or most damaging things that people as parents can do – but being high to "deal" with your kids points to a larger problem. As I was pretty clear about in my original response, I think that responsible personal use is fine, medical use is great, and if the article had only been about that I wouldn't be upset – it's specifically using to "cope" with your children being children. What's sad, to me, is that while Offbeat Mama frequently hasn't been a perfect fit for me (nor would I expect it to be, like many in-person parenting groups and events) it has been as close as I had. I will march on, I suppose, without support or community – I'm unwilling to support saying that intoxication in front of your kids, because of your kids is fine (which apparently makes me too stiff-collared for an offbeat crowd) and I'm too weird for "mainstream" parenting groups in many ways. Reply What's always interesting to me as a publisher is to see where readers draw those lines. I expected to lose readers over the How I support my family as a sex worker post, but apparently a mom who gets mildly stoned and plays board games is over a line that being a mom who works as a prostitute is not. Obviously, I published both posts, so neither post is over my own editorial line, but I always find it interesting to observe the judgments that come up for readers. Reply If I stopped reading just because there was a post that didn't apply to me, or I didn't 100% agree with, then I would have missed out on posts that I enjoy. (Duh!) Also, I'm NOSY, and I like the diversity of the posts and comments. I want to know what other people are doing! For ME, one is away from the children and one is with the child(ren). The first was also a way to keep the family unit in a good place, the second to make sure you're not just bored when playing with your child. Yes they're both illegal, and everyone will argue the toss about which is worse, but there occur for different reasons, and I think most people are supportive of someone trying to keep their family together and afloat, and others aren't so happy about altering your mental state whilst being in charge of a child. I think it's a shame that LM feels too 'stiff collared' for this site as it's not neccessarily saying the article is right, but just hosting an opinion (and also that Arial, no offence, you're very quick to say 'that's fine, i hope you find somewhere else' *cries at rejection*. Meh, I found both articles interesting! Anna, I'm quick to respond to readers announcing their departure because I've dealt with it so many times. My response is the same, every time, on every site: I want people to know I hear them (thus my quick response — no one likes to be ignored), but am also clear that I stand behind the posts we publish. I'm not going to try to convince people they should like them, so if people tell me a post offended them to the point that they're done reading, I want to make it clear that I understand, and I wish them well. In other words, no hard feelings at all. I'm under no pretense that my websites will be perfect for everyone. This is a perfect example of what I said up above… a post about a personal experience I can respect, even if that personal experience is of working as a prostitute. However, a post laying down rules for working as a hooker/mom, without any context, well, that would probably be disturbing and divisive. Obviously not all the people posting negative feedback (and as far I have read, none of those flouncing) are the children of stoners, but I think that may be a factor. As far as I recall, the only adult children of sex workers to speak up (I may even have been the only one?) had only positive comments. That said, I can't think of anything that would make me flounce from offbeat mama because anything that would piss me off that badly would be against the offbeat "rules" anyway. That said, this was a triggering post for me. I'm trying to use the feelings that were brought up to help me process some of the (I guess unresolved) grief from my childhood, but there you have it. Life isn't all roses and candy. I know the internet is a triggery place and I don't expect it to cater to me. (I do like trigger warnings. But honestly, the post title here was enough to trigger me and I probably should have known better than to read it. I guess I needed the personal growth.) I think the reason readers were willing to accept the woman who did sex work to support her children was because she didn't do it around her children, nor did the work interfere with the time she spent with the children. It sounded like she was doing everything possible to keep her work separate from her children. Also, it sounded like sex work was pretty much that woman's last resort to support her family. That is, she pretty much had to do it. The person in this post doesn't have to smoke pot (or do any other substances for that matter). I personally support drug legalization. However, what this post is advocating is irresponsible. I think people were more okay with the Escort post than this post because of the circumstances (the woman was left with no real alternative to provide for her child) and the fact it was all kept behind closed doors, away from her child. I'm sure readers would be equally upset if she was bringing strange men into the home and having intercourse infront of her child. This post is about using a substance to alter your mental capacity in front of your child. It isn't about a parent who uses substances to help them cope with outside factors in their life, or just being a parent who smokes pot. It is about a parent who smokes pot infront of their child because of their child. Whether this is what was intended or not, it is how it came across to many of your readership. That is my observation from reading the comments, at least. Edit: I just realized after posting the above comment is really similar now that I've read it. Hivemind. This! (to Ariel's first comment) I obviously didn't stop reading OBM after the sex worker post (I'm still here!) but I at the time I did decide to stop reading OBM because the comments on the sex worker post really shook me up. I did not share the same view of the author's situation as most of the OBM commenters. (not that I wanted there to be negative comments, just the positive comments seemed a bit *too* positive a response for what I felt was a very controversial situation) So I took a few weeks break from reading the blog . I've come back to OBM, still really enjoy the community here. And for this current post, what I appreciated was that most of the 'rules' were actually framed as questions. Additionally, if you have to get stoned to cope with aspects of everyday life (other than pain relief) then that's not just recreational use, that is addiction. If someone was using alcohol in the same way no one would question it. And the part about playing with your child being more fun when you're baked made me very sad. You should be able to enjoy being with your kid even when you're sober and tired and playing the same game for the 100th time because they are your kid. And fwiw I am pro legalization, pro medical pot AND pro recreational pot. Reply "Additionally, if you have to get stoned to cope with aspects of everyday life (other than pain relief) then that's not just recreational use, that is addiction. If someone was using alcohol in the same way no one would question it." I'm curious then what you would consider someone who takes a daily anxiety medication, or daily antidepressants. These medications are vital to some people to "cope with aspects of every day life". What makes these powerful drugs acceptable, but not weed? Note: I'm not asking this to be snarky, I'm genuinely curious. People's distinctions between "street" drugs and "doctor" drugs interests me greatly. Reply Actually, I take a daily antidepressant (Zoloft). It's not to help me cope with 'everyday life', it's to treat an illness. Clinical depression is not equivalent to everyday boredom. Reply Anti-depressants and Anti-Anxiety medications are generally prescribed to regulate chemical imbalances. Weed, even used medicinally, is not used for those purposes. Reply "You should be able to enjoy being with your kid even when you're sober and tired and playing the same game for the 100th time because they are your kid." Really? I can appreciate the fact that I'm playing with my child, but that doesn't mean that playing candyland for the 20th time in a row is going to be fun (or even tolerable, for someone like me, who may or may not have some mental retaliation against repetition like that). I feel like a mellowing agent (such as a single beer), without allowing it to affect your judgement and while another entirely sober person is in the house, can only improve the experience for both you and the child. I REALLY don't think getting frustrated or bored while with your kid is a sign that you're a bad parent in any way!!! (Disclaimer: I am not a parent, just an observer) Reply Isn't developing patience part of parenthood though? Kids pick up on more than we think. A kid whose parents get high when they have to do boring kid stuff is not exactly going to benefit from that association. I'm not opposed to parents using pot, just the use of it around the kids as part of normal activities/playtime. The mixing of playtime and narcotics (and I include alcohol here) is what makes me sad, not the fact that the parent might get stressed and chooses to self-medicate with narcotics. Reply "Candyland is so much more fun baked when you're an adult. In fact, marijuana makes a lot of things more bearable and even fun." I think that's my very favorite part of the post! To me, the bravest thing about this post is not the fact that Lisa admits to any cannabis use but that she can freely admit that she does not enjoy every single moment with her children. It's liberating to hear that! Because Candyland? Is really fucking boring. Reply "I wouldn't consider getting a little tipsy so that I could handle the social functions I need to attend with my kids, nor would anyone suggest it." I have seen many, many parents grabbing a beer or a glass of wine at such social functions, be it a birthday party or whathaveyou. Maybe this isn't the case in your social circle, but it happens with out stigma in plenty of others. Reply This is a little off-topic, but as a kid my mom smoked cigarettes. Not weed. Just cigarettes. None of my friends' parents smoked, and I remember being so embarrassed that I would hide her cigarettes whenever my friends came over. She had rules, she didn't smoke around us, or inside the house, but I was still embarrassed and disappointed in her. Kids aren't stupid. They know when you feel overwhelmed with them, and they can take it personally. I have many sorry memories of my mom and her much-needed 'smoke breaks'. Reply Taking a hit from the bowl so that one can get through all the naptime chores without resentment and then make a choo choo crash 3,000 times without getting impatient when naptime is over doesn't make anyone a bad parent. I find it curious that we live in a culture of over-medication for everything and still scorn someone such a small, sweet vice. I also came from a family of addiction. I remember helping my father crush 3 huge garbage bags of Budweiser so that he could take the cans to the recycling center, presumably to buy more beer. I would much rather have memories of his child-like wonder increasing after a single hit from a bowl. My rules: Only one hit, usually only when I feel resentment or impatience, and usually only at naptime. When its not naptime (this is rare), my kid never sees me smoking. Frankly I do find that it helps calm my frenetic and sometimes angry mind a WHOLE lot and i think it's a whole lot better and more manageable than a clinical 'script. It's certainly not for everyone, but as someone who works almost full time in a fabulous career, runs a lovely household, doesn't drink very much, and home cooks every meal, I would hardly bring to mind someone Dazed and Confused. Reply Growing up in a household where both my parents were heavy drinkers and occasional drug users I do have to say that it really didn't traumatize me in any way. In fact, when my parents finally came clean with me about their partying ways once I was out of the house I was more than a little surprised. My parents were wonderful and loving and we were always together at events and I never even realized they had their own little vices. (As a side note to this I see that this article is posted under "It worked for me". I find it funny that people are saying "It didn't work for me growing up!" and that's really rather sad, but no one is saying that it has to work for everyone. It worked for the author. It worked for my parents. It has worked for others. I think that the tag "It worked for me" is perfect, because that's what it did.) Reply I think people are sharing their negative stories of growing up with drug-using parents exactly because this article is written by someone who is saying it works for them. Those commenters are making the point that their parents probably thought it worked for them too, but as the children in the situation it did NOT work. I agree that this was posted in the right category, but hearing others' experiences from the perspective of the grown child of similar situations is really interesting–for me at least. Reply In the midst of all the serious comments, I want to throw in a funny story from a country where marijuana is pretty much legal. Back in first year university at the first party at a new friend's place… Friend A: "Oh how cute – a Mexican tomato plant, I love those!" Friend B: "There is no such thing as a Mexican tomato plant." Friend A: "Yeah, my parents had one. It doesn't have any tomatoes because it's not in Mexico." Friend B: "No, that is a pot plant." Friend A: "But my parents…" Friend B: "No sweetie. No." Friend A: "This explains so much." Even if your kids are as gullible as my friend was, not coming clean with them could lead to at best an embarrassing situation, and at worst your kid not being as educated about drugs as you want them to be. Really, you probably want your kids to grow up with the ability to tell when someone is under the influence or not. You want them to be able to tell if someone has allergies or if they're high before hopping in a car with them. You really want them to be able to tell when their friend is drunk versus drugged. You want them to know if a person in power (a parent's friend) is capable of taking care of them. And of course, how to respond. These are pretty important life skills whether or not you yourself are a stoner or you are open to your kids using drugs in the future. Reply OMG. Funniest conversation EVER. Thank you for posting. I am finding this comment thread extremely interesting–it really is a polarizing issue. I am not a parent, but I am an educator. A first year educator in special education. This year has been the hardest thing I have ever done, and I sought out pot to help with anxiety and stress. I would not dream–not in a million years–of being stoned around my students. However, on my own time I do indulge. It has helped me tremendously. I do, however, really struggle with feeling guilty for "needing" a substance to help me quell some of these feelings after a long week in the classroom. It's amazing how hard we are on ourselves and each other. I don't pretend to have the answers, and I try not to be so hard on myself because honestly, pot REALLY helps me. Thank you for posting this!! Reply As a non pot smoker I WISH my mother had occasionally had a hit to calm down and relax. She was always stressed out and I have NO memories of her playing with us once preschool age hit. I would've loved to play candyland 10x in a row with a mother who had the patience to do so which pot may ( or may not in her case, I don't know her personal reaction to the drug) but def could have aided. And yes I know addicts and responsible users of alcohol, pot and prescription drugs and had positive experiences with parents and friends who are able to control their vice. I think every human has some vice and it must be used responsibly. Reply I also want to add that some people have a toke in the same way your Dad maybe had a bottle of beer on a Friday night to start the weekend. It's not to make "life bearable" but because it's a nice way to unwind and celebrate a good week (or let go of a bad one). You don't have to be an alcoholic to enjoy beer and you don't have to be a stoner to enjoy pot (I kind of wish the title of this article was a bit different and that the opening was a bit more about balancing your own wants/ways of relaxing with the needs of your kids, but I'm glad the article was put out there anyways. Reply I agree. If the article had a slightly different title, it would have been less inflammatory. It's very true that for many of us an occasional drink, or toke make life more bearable, or just plain old more fun, or relaxing or what have you. This is exactly that place between addiction and sobriety that Ariel was talking about exploring! Reply Thirded. I really think the introduction was the divisive thing in all this. I'm not actually pro-pot use/legalisation/whatever. But I'm cool with articles like this and I think it's great to encourage responsible parenting for those who make different decision than me 🙂 Reply Agreed on the intro. I thought it was a great framing device, but I can see how it hasn't been a great image for everyone. It would have been way less controversial to have started with "the kids are fast asleep, I've finally kicked off my shoes, and HBO is on the bedroom TV". Less controversial, but also less funny and (for her) real. Reply A couple things that I think are really important to note about this post, that seem to get glossed over. First, the whole subtext of this post is about not just being a non-addict, but more importantly being a very re-evaluative, honest, careful substance user. Lots of people are talking about how some adults probably thought they were fine, but actually weren't. A major part of this post is about being honest and open enough to take comments about one's own use very very seriously, and also to be pro-active in stopping or modulating one's use before it could become anywhere near a problem. Also, I think most parents can distinguish between liking to be around your kid, liking to play and have fun with your kid, and finding it occasionally unbearable to do certain activities as part of playing with your kid. Finding candyland boring sometimes or getting frustrated after singing the same song thirty times doesn't mean you don't like playing dress-up or making up stories or doing crafts, and it most certainly doesn't mean you don't like your kid. Instead of being caught between going quietly insane when your kid insists you do something you find unbearably boring, trying to force your kid to play something else when they're perfectly happy with what they're doing, and saying, "ok, it's time for mommy to go do something else now," it seems to be a fine parenting decision occasionally to tap your consciousness just a little sideways, just enough that you can have fun too. Reply I grew up in a household where both my parents were regular drinkers. I can honestly say that my father displayed a level of control over his drinking that did not have any detrimental affect on our relationship whatsoever, with my mother it was the opposite. I know the scars that are formed when you have a substance abusing parent, for that I know, using in front of my kids will not be for me. that being said, I know I am under control of my substance use and I know other people are as well. If someone wants to use intoxicants in their own home, who am I to judge how well they can handle themselves? we all need to let people have room to be themselves and make judgement calls about their own family without so many blanket statements and assumptions based on our own experiences. I had both sides of the coin in my life and I don't think any parent would be absolutely wrong in smoking pot in their home, it's all contingent on the children involved and the situation itself Reply Whether it is dangerous or not, responsible or not, I can say that if you were poor and black and lived in New York City you would be at serious risk of having your children placed in foster care. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/nyregion/parents-minor-marijuana-arrests-lead-to-child-neglect-cases.html?pagewanted=all Reply So I was this close to writing a long judgemental mom comment when I noticed I was sipping a PBR while playing w my 1 year old. Needless to say I feel like a wicked hypocrite. Claws retracted. Reply This may be my favorite comment in this thread. Kudos. 😉 Reply I can't say anything that hasn't been said already- but I completely support the publication of this post and praise Offbeat Mama for it. You guys rock. Whether I am a smoker or not does not negate the fact that other people out there ARE, and that they deserve a supportive community. Reply I think it should be pointed out that the burning of any substance, tobacco, pot, etc, will produce toxic substances which will persist in the environment afterwards. So if you're going to partake of pot in a house that you share with your children, you might want to consider the delivery system. Reply No candles or incense either, then! Reply Should I ban the bad cooks? A friend has set off the smoke detector more than once, and I'm always having to scrape the burnt parts off toast . . . Reply Um, tobacco residue is a lot worse than incense, in so many ways. (it also makes the walls NASTY, even after repainting again and again! but that's a side note…) I agree that, in cases where it applies, things like "second-hand smoke" need to be considered by substance-using parent. I think that's all Ivriniel was saying. More things to be aware of and more ways to be responsible! Reply Ah! this post… I can't help but comment. First, I think it's really great that OBM continues to represent a variety of voices- thanks! I grew up with parents who drank beer with dinner. Not abusers but definitely regular/daily drinkers. They were beyond responsible, extremely active in our church community and very focused on family. I think the reaction that smoking in front of your kid is "disgusting" or entirely reprehensible is part of what keeps people educated on responsible use of any substance. Couldn't the whole sneaking around bit (whether with drink or smoke) thicken the mess? I'd just feel like I was proving to my kid that my choices are contradictory. In this case, I find it a matter of social stigma. We are much more comfortable with the idea that there are adults drinking beers or cocktails around kids at a barbecue or restaurant (despite the real effects of getting one's buzz on). The legality is a real issue but I think the legal matter and the question of morality are different. I understand people's personal perspectives and so I'm not reading it so much as "pos" and "neg" and just appreciating the lively and engaged dialogue. Damn, OBM! You've done it again. Reply woops! I meant what keeps people FROM BEING educated about responsible use of substances. 🙂 Reply Let me preface this by saying that I don't even read OBM (only OBB), but I wandered over to this post from Twitter. And I just have to say that I totally respect this piece of writing and I'm glad to see that some people found it useful and informative. Anyone who stops reading this blog just because of this post is clearly no big loss; they are obviously not very tolerant and accepting of lifestyles different form their own, and if there's anything Offbeat readers should have, it's tolerance. Reply "Candyland is so much more fun baked when you're an adult. In fact, marijuana makes a lot of things more bearable and even fun." I think that's my very favorite part of the post! To me, the bravest thing about this post is not the fact that Lisa admits to any cannabis use but that she can freely admit that she does not enjoy every single moment with her children. It's so liberating to hear that! Because Candyland? Is really fucking boring. Reply Yes! It seems like some of the objections come from that – "how dare you not enjoy every second of your precious bundle of joy". There is nothing wrong with a 31-year-old brain getting bored after playing a 3-year-old's game a million times. Reply I wasn't able to get through all of the comments yet, but just wanted to thank both Offbeat Mama, and the author for this article. As controversial as it may be, and as much moderation as it must take to post something like this, these posts are the reason I adore this website. I think articles like this are the reason everyone can relate to something as an offbeat parent on here. I may not have always had the same life expiriences, or completely agree with every single article, but that is the fun of Offbeat Mama! To see parenting from a different point of view! To feel like maybe you're not doing everything wrong such as Parents magazine and the like, often makes me feel. I feel less alone as an individual mother, and I applaud this website for that. Reply I think here it's important to acknowledge that for many people who had stoner/grower parents growing up, articles like this can be strong emotional triggers. My aunt grew up that way, and while she's as free-wheeling as they come, this is one topic that sends her right off the edge because of the memories it stirs up. Regardless of what the article is or is not advocating, be respectful of the fact that many people cannot share this sentiment because of their childhoods, and they are entitled to that. Doing so is being just as open and accepting as the article is advocating of responsible stoner parents. Reply Thank you for this recognition, panda. Reply Go figure that this is the first article that gets me to comment of OBM! Although this has probably settled down quite a bit, I figure I'd share my two cents. As a child, I was completely oblivious to the fact that both of my parents smoked pot – not just once in a while, but every day after work. I had no idea that when they were "going out for a smoke" it was the 'wacky tabaccy'. Anyway, I suppose my parents (my mom in particular) have had so much experience, you really couldn't tell they were stoned. They played with me and my younger sister in the same way, and were probably more interested. As a person who has smoked marijuana from the age of 16 (not that I'm that much older at this point) I can see why they enjoyed cuddles, movies, and just hanging out with their kids that much more. Once the bun in the oven is here, my husband and I have no plans to stop. I think the article did a great job of getting a message out there that a lot of people don't really want to hear – you can enjoy a vice responsibly, and around your kids. But there are rules – common sense. So kudos to OBM and the author for posting it. On a side note, I hated being around adults when they were drunk. I always felt uneasy, but that may be because I actually saw them drinking. Just my thoughts! Reply As I think about all the people I know and have known, using substances in all sorts of ways, with all sorts of results, I am left wondering how a person could know for sure whether their usage would be harming their kids or not. Even your best friend might tell you you have a problem when you don't, or tell you that you don't when you do. Or a doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, or whatever professional. There's just no concrete universal guidelines. Personally, I tend to err on the side of sobriety, because for me, not being sober means I am wanting things to be other than what they are. That to me is an opportunity for growth, and when I take an escape hatch of any sort, I miss the opportunity. Yeah, sometimes I get tired of growing and take a semi-responsible escape. I couldn't see it as an ongoing lifestyle choice. I think it's much harder to fully be "to each their own" when it comes to parenting, because the thought of children makes everyone get all protecty. But, how many of us would be as unique and lovely as we are if our parents hadn't messed us up a bit, and given us a tremendous opportunity for growth? 😛 Reply Wow, here I was thinking that every other mother in the world would think I was a terrible mom if they knew that I smoke every once in a while. What a relief! Thank you Offbeat mama for posting this! Reply As long as we're discussing parenting and marijuana, I might as well link this book: "It's Just a Plant," by Ricardo Cortés, the guy who did "Go the Fuck to Sleep." Reply Thanks!!! Reply The fact that there is a book called "Go the Fuck to Sleep" makes me so super happy. 🙂 Must check it out. Reply "Go the Fuck to Sleep" might be the best book ever written. Reply really? let's just make this discussion even more divisive? Reply Any argument you can make against pot, you can make x2 against alcohol. I think the point is that if you're being responsible, you aren't doing it to the point of hurting people. My brother drinks beer and smokes pot in the evenings and then is a wonderful, loving father to his two children. I don't see any difference between the beer he has with dinner and the bowl he smokes afterward. (He doesn't do it in front of the kids.) As for the legal aspects, I think it's important to teach your children to be critical thinkers and not just blindly follow whatever legal system they are under. And also to teach them the possible consequences of not following it, too! Reply As a mama who went from being a stoner to having a few puffs in the whole duration of pregnancy to the occasional puff as a nursing mama who plans to keep marijuana in my life permanantly…thank you for this article!! It is so so nice to hear of other mamas who fit marijuana into their life responsibly. My husband smokes every night after baby is asleep. I have the occasional puff after she is asleep and I know she won't be nursing for hours. I use marijuana as a helpful tool during morning sickness. It just makes sense to me, my family, and lifestyle. I am not sure what we'll do when she is older. If it was legal, I would be totally honest. But I would hate for my daughter to spread the word that we smoke weed for fear of jail and just the stigma that comes with marijuana. Thanks again!! Reply I live in Amsterdam. Pot is not a big deal anymore… IMO as long as you don't neglect your child, put them in danger, land your butt in jail or otherwise cause anyone any harm by having a drink/smoking pot/*Insert various vices here* then who cares? It's an individual choice that you as a parent have to come to terms with, considering also the affect it may or may not have on your child(ren). During my time working as a nurse I knew of some harder drug using families who were able to keep their children in their own home and care for them effectively because they put similar strategies into place as those from the article. That may shock some people but how is the principle different from having a designated driver on a night out? I personally do not smoke pot and never have but hey, live and let live as long as it hurts no one else. Reply I was really happy to see this post here. For some reason (Is it just the legality? I don't know) it is perfectly fine for mothers to start tweeting about wine as soon as 6pm hits, but weed is stigmatized. There are definitely ways to reconcile responsible drug use with parenting. For me, the biggest rule is always being OK to tend to an emergency at a moment's notice. Even if the kids are asleep, you shouldn't be so impaired that you couldn't get to an emergency room or handle other crisis safely. But again, I think it's just as easy to overdo it with the wine, and at least you're not snapping at your kids hungover the next day. As for the Candyland bit, I don't think it's wrong to partake in a substance that makes activities more enjoyable, so long as you are still fully present physically, mentally and emotionally. Playing a game while rocking a buzz and laughing with your children beats the hell out of doing it sober and only being able to fake it so much. If you are truly so messed up that your 5 year old detects something is wrong, that is no longer moderate or responsible use and therefore not what this post is about. I don't see this post as encouraging hardcore drug use or enabling addiction. Frankly, addicts are going to use whether or not they read a post about it on the internetz. Reply I think most of what I feel about this issue has really already been said in these comments, so I'll keep this simple. Smoking a little weed makes a person about as much of an addict as having a beer every now and then or a margarita on the weekend makes a person a raging alcoholic. Why do so many Americans[and everyone else] have no sense of moderation or self control when it comes to these things? The large majority of us can easily handle a little something to chill out with and still be perfectly responsible, even around our beloved little ones. For the few who sincerely can't manage it, I should hope they know their own limits, because GUESS WHAT? IT IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to know those limits, not anyone else's. Not all laws are righteous, so personally, I think the 'it's illegal in some places and therefore you're a bad parent for partaking' argument is ridiculous and judgmental. Lastly, for those accusing the Author of being sad because she 'needs' to be high to have fun playing a game with her child? You should really hear how incredibly self-righteous and accusatory you sound [something I never expected to see on this site]. Anyone who claims that there is never a moment of boredom with their child is a show-off and probably a liar. Get real, people. I adore my baby girl more than anything in the world, but I do in fact have other interests and desires outside of playing predictable cardboard games. It doesn't thrill me like it might have when I was four. I don't buy into this idea that parents have to stop being human in order to be good parents. You can have fun and a personality and STILL be an amazing parent. Offbeat Mama just isn't the place for the kind of judgment and, if I can say it without sounding too harsh, ignorance, that I've seen displayed in some of these comments. Guys, come on… Grow up. Where's the love and understanding that's usually so abundant around here? Reply The difference between drinking around your kid and smoking pot around your kid is the delivery method. I would not hesitate to have a glass of wine in front of my child, but I wouldn't smoke in front of them. The only reason is because of second hand smoke. We'll be honest with our kids about using the substance, but they won't see us do it because I don't want to risk the smoke getting to them. There is also the fact that it's still illegal. Whether the illegality is based on fact or fiction, it's still a reality. While I can't get arrested for my glass of wine, I could for my bowl of weed. And that's a fact we have to face. Smoking a bowl to relax is no different than having a glass of wine or a beer – for the adult. But I'll be the first to admit that I'm way more cautious with the weed, both for health reasons and legal reasons. Reply This is probably the WORST article I've read on this website. Pot is illegal unless it's being used medically. I feel bad for the kids who's parent has to smoke weed to enjoy playing games. It's selfish and disgusting. Reply Seriously? I feel bad for kids who are abused, underfed, ignored. Not for those whose mother is willing to spend an afternoon playing games with them. I don't think her mental state is any of our (or their, if she can keep it together) business. Reply Gay marriage is mostly illegal too. Do you feel bad for folks who feel the need to get legally married to celebrate their love abhorent as well? Please think about what you say, especially here. Simply saying "It's selfish and disgusting" is really doing nothing to forward the discussion. Reply Love this article! So glad to see it on offbeatmama. I don't smoke myself (I've even had a terrible and irresponsible stoner parent), but I love the joke about pot and kid games. I often find little kid games mind-numbingly boring. Smoking pot would totally make candyland, tea parties, and peek-a-boo a million times more fun and would make me a lot more attentive to the kids in my life. Good for you! Reply Kudos! I've enjoyed reading all this discussion and all this talk about "The Ganj". Thank you, OBM, for always pushing the limit and going to the "outer limits" of parenting. Reply I was using to deal with nausea and a complete lack of appetite during pregnancy. I had quit when I found out I was pregnant, but then lost 20 lbs in 2 weeks. I could eat and keep down maybe one small meal a day. I started using again, and was able to eat. I delivered a happy, healthy baby boy who is now working on learning to crawl. I got pregnant again right away and decided not to bother quitting till after my 1st trimester, so I would be able to keep my prenatals down. I was dealing with PPD and SAD, a lack of support from friends and family, and the tendency to fly off the handle if one thing went wrong. I did what I thought was the smart thing and went to get some professional help. I talked to a therapist for one session, admitted light use for appetite and stress reduction (mostly appetite) stating that I had done my research for both babies (making sure there were no studies I had missed)and had taken a calculated risk. I viewed malnutrition as more harmful than the slightly lower birth weight (which will happen due to malnutrition) and some learning differences between those children exposed and not, and definitely more safe than various other meds out there which might not have had a long enough history of use to see the effects of. I thought back to other medication side effects, even those not used anymore, ::cough:: thalidomide ::cough:: and decided that a plant from a medical dispensary (through some trustworthy hands to get it from a legalized state, as I live in Minnesota) that is used to medicate women with my same issues was probably safer than pills that I would have had trouble swallowing in the first place. I did quit the day after my first therapy session, just to commit to that fully. The day after that, I got a call from the county. She had called the county on me and yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting a social worker in my home, who handed out incorrect facts on fetal exposure with no statistics in sight, and didn't listen to me or my husband very well. Luckily, the state views MJ as less harmful than a liquor or meth or coke problem, but still… I lost my trust in my therapist, I have to get a urine analysis sometime during pregnancy, and they may have the right to test my baby when it's born. So, another rule for being responsible, Don't tell ANYONE. Not even your therapist I guess. Honesty (even with a privacy contract and all) can be a huge mistake that brings the people you least wanted to know about it into your home. Reply Your therapist is required by law to break confidentiality since smoking pot during pregnancy is considered (legally) "harm." (As is *any* alcohol use in the US, despite the research which shows thresholds for safe alcohol consumption.) http://mentalhealth.about.com/library/weekly/aa040901a.htm I'm actually a little surprised at all the people who are commenting about their use, given that the internet is NOT in any way shape or form private. (Assuming that not everyone lives in a legal state/ country.) Reply I now know she is required, but she should have told me that she was going to. Reply It should have been in your non-disclosure you signed prior to the treatment. I'm not sure if a head's up is considered ethical or not. I suspect not. Licensed therapists have a lot of rules they are required to follow (and I am NOT a licensed therapist, I just happen to know a lot of them). Reply I think that posting this article was good, because it's interesting to see another persons view point, and how they live their life with their family. I like the discussion that followed on how other people relate, and whether they agree or not. I think it's difficult to express youself in comments too, and that sometimes things are taken not *quite* as they were meant. I personally don't like weed, don't want it in my house, and will obviously not be smoking it around my (future!) children, and that IS to do with the fact that it's illegal. I am (hypocritically or not!!) fine with a glass of vino whilst with children(we're talking responsibly, not necking vodka at 11am). However I'm fine with other people doing what they want – some of my friends are stoner parents, and whilst I might not agree with their choices, that is it – their choice. As long as the family is fine (again, we're talking responsible use) then it's not my concern. In fact, it'd have to get pretty bad to make it 'my concern'. Reply This article makes me so sad. I was the kid with stoner parents, and I'm still the only person in my immediate family who doesn't smoke all day, every day. I like that she included the last point, that your children will figure it out whether you like it or not. But what you must understand is that when they do figure it out, there is such a breech in trust that it could have permanent consequences. There is a definite shift of power when you realize that you cant trust your own parents to show you right from wrong. Reply But, I assume that if your parents thought it was truly wrong, then they wouldn't do it (especially around you!). I think "wrong" and "illegal" need to be distinct, here. In general, I (please don't forget that this is an opinion) am supportive of parents who do not teahc their children to follow the law blindly, but instead to question it and potentially grow the drive to change it if needed. Of course, your experience may simply have been an all-around bad one, and everyone's will be different. I think most people here are in agreement that if it does affect your child negatively, then the parent missed something. Reply I LOVE that this article was posted, not because I agree with it, but because it shows that this is a place where all voices are allowed to speak openly. That said, I don't smoke pot, but my husband did when we started dating. He said it was just recreational, and didn't affect him, but then he went climbing for the weekend and said he'd call me on Sunday night. When Monday evening came and his phone was still off, I started worrying. On Tuesday he told me he got so high he spent all Monday passed out in his car, and actually lost his phone. That day I told him that if he wanted to be in a relationship with me, he had to quit, because I didn't want to be worried sick that he had fallen down a boulder and cracked his skull when he actually was "recreationally using". He quit, and now says he's glad he did. Obviously, he didn't have control over the matter, and I'm not implying that everybody who claims recreational use has this issues, but this is to explain why this subject puts me on edge. I don't think it's wrong to say playing a thousandth game of x with a 3 year old is not fun, because I've been there, and I've put on the radio or tv in the background just so I had something to distract myself… because I couldn't take it anymore and I thought it was better for me to play "distractedly" with the kid than to just plop him in front of a disney movie and ignore him all day. So I don't see how that's sad. BUT assuming this is a contolled use, assuming rules are being followed, etc: I think there's a big difference between smoking weed and having a glass of wine. And that is legality. As many things as I want to teach my child in the future, as much as I want him to fight for what he wants, to question the rules and to be proud of his beliefs, and as much as I think weed should be legalized (and I do), I also want to teach him to follow the law, because it's part of the system in which we live. And then, if it's an unfair law, or if he's against the system, fight as hard as you can so it is changed. Fight endlessly. But I won't be teaching my kid that some laws he has to follow and some others are ok to break. Reply The ONLY reason pot is illegal is from our dumb Gov't. If it WAS legal, I'm sure people wouldn't have a problem with parents being stoned. It's a hell of a lot better than a parent being drunk. God gave us pot. Our Gov't took it away. Reply for racist reasons and to make money. Yay money! http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/why-is-marijuana-illegal/ Reply I agree that it should be legal, but do you really think that if it was people wouldn't take issue with parents who watch their kids while stoned? The legality is just a very small part of it. Drunk or stoned…if you are impaired while watching your kids (and I mean IMPAIRED as in unable to be a responsible adult) it's a problem. Reply I appreciated reading this post and especially the comments. Offbeat Mama always makes me think and that's a great thing. Question for the pot smokers – would you hire a babysitter who told you they would be smoking while watching your kids? Reply I don't have any beef with this article being posted on OBM and I think it's good to have this discussion. I don't smoke, so I admit that there may be some level of smoking pot that would be acceptable, but I don't have the experience to know where that line is. What I do know is that stepping over it means extremely damaging consequences for the child. My husband was raised with two pot-smoking parents. They are not stoners; they're responsible, kind and active parents and grandparents. They smoke every night, after everyone has gone to bed, in their room. I don't know if this would be considered light, moderate or heavy use. It seems to me that this fits all the rules above. But it still had a profound impact on my husband. As the article states, sooner or later, the children find out. My husband understood early on that his parents were breaking the law. He lived in fear that his family could be taken away at any time. That fear plagued him and isolated him his entire childhood. I'm the child of a functional alcoholic. I never once saw my father drunk but I still have all of the same psychological issues as children of less functional alcoholics. My husband has many of the same issues, too. It's not the substance or the frequency of use that harms children. It's when parents lie or when they keep secrets, either from the children or with the children's help. Children have a unique ability to sense when something isn't right. Secrets and lies are not healthy for children and if they don't fully understand them, they will make up reasons that they do understand. Even if you talk to your child about drugs, you're still asking that child to keep the secret and if they don't, you could go to jail. That's a lot of weight to put on young shoulders. In communities where pot may be legal, it's still not widely accepted while parenting any more than drinking to impairment while parenting is accepted. You're still requiring the child to keep a secret, only this time it's not jail but social ostracization. Not as damaging, but still not fair to a child. I'm not saying that it can't be done in the right way. I'm just saying that doing it wrong is disastrous for a child and is that really worth the risk? Reply First off, I will say that I am not a pot smoker and never have been, simply because I had a fairly sheltered childhood and by the time I got to college and encountered pot for the first time, I wasn't really interested. And personally, it is not something I would do in front my of any children I had, mostly because of the whole lose your kids if you do drugs in front of them and someone finds out, if nothing else. Just to be the devil's advocate, though, how many of the people who feel strongly about pot are people that smoke cigarettes, especially near their children (even if it's outside)? I grew up in a house where everyone was a fairly heavy smoker, and meals, playtime, and even when we went out to a restaurant would ALWAYS be interrupted every 45 minutes – 1 hour for my grandparents and mother to troop outside and have a smoking break, leaving me alone. I always found it disconcerting and kind of embarrassing, especially when I was a young child left alone in a restaurant booth to "hold the table." This, I think, is much worse than having a toke and staying with your kid. Reply I feel even more strongly against cigarettes than I do against pot. Although I believe both should be legal (you should legally have the right to harm yourself) I also believe I have a right – as an asthmatic – to be protected against smoke in public places. And I think kids have the right to be protected from second hand smoke as well. Pot at least can be administered in different ways than smoking (although that is the most popular method). Reply I am completely in support of parents responsibly using moderate substances like alcohol and marijuana. My husband is a weekly user who has made me see that he's almost discriminated against regarding his use. As a couple other commenters have mentioned, he doesn't like the way he feels after having an alcoholic drink, but he DOES enjoy a minor high for relaxation. He's made me realize that his toke or two for relaxation is absolutely the same as my glass of wine. No different, no more inappropriate, just sadly misunderstood and misrepresented. When our children are old enough, we will have conversations about this (about alcohol AND drug use), and work through whatever arises with honesty, clarity, and respect. On an editorial note, I do think that some of this drama could have been avoided by a different style of presentation. Perhaps the way this was written was a little too reminiscent of how we imagine teens and young adults hiding their stash from their parents, toking in the basement, and rebelling. Perhaps if it had been presented in a more moderate way — without the lingo, with a more serious air — it may have been easier for those who are uncomfortable with it to tolerate the idea. But, that may not have been your goal anyway. I just know that even for me, a supporter, the style of the article was a bit off-putting. Reply I'm glad that others are chiming in who had experience as the kid of stoner parents. I see a lot of people posting "I smoke and I'm a good parent," "my [friend, brother, sister, whoever] smokes and is a great parent" and so on. But parenting isn't just about the adult side of things, so simply reiterating how great your parenting is from your own perspective really falls short of seeing the bigger picture. Pot smoking affects kids. It just does. Whether it affects them in a negligible way or a huge, damaging way, obviously varies. But it still affects them, so ignoring the child's perspective when determing whether or not you're doing a good job is actually doing everyone a disservice. My friend's parents were stoners, and she seems to have turned out just fine (as far as I can tell from Facebook). At the same time, I hated being at her house because of how I felt when her parents were high. And again – they were not addicts, and were not abusing drugs. They were just a little high, and it made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable. As for my own parents? My mother has depression. She was unmedicated throughout my childhood and THAT had a serious impact on me as well. Made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable. She wasn't out of control, but she was sad, and it was hard. Had she learned sooner that medication would have helped her, I think I would have had a very different childhood and we would have a very different relationship today. So the issue, to me, isn't "drugs are bad." The issue is that, as a parent, we are constantly making choices. And our choices affect our kids. And many of you are apparently choosing to be high while around your children, and I am just trying to point out how that can feel on the other side. No judgment, honestly. I'm not calling you bad parents. I'm just asking that you take the children's perspective into account when making your choices. Reply I think you were able to say this better than I was (because I have too many personal issues involved). Thank you. Reply There have been several positive posts from children of smokers. In fact I think very few say "I smoke and I'm fine!" or something to that effect. Reply Wow, a lot of comments! Anyhow, I just wanted to say 'thanks for posting this'! I don't smoke, but I support responsible, non-abusive pot smokers. This is obviously a hot topic and I've had friends who have addicted (to many different things, not pot specifically, usually a combination of things) family members with children, so I understand it is a loaded and difficult subject, but I'm glad people are talking about it. Reply Wow, I take a day away from Offbeat Mama reading and I come back and find this fascinating discussion! I think the fact that it has unleashed so many reactions and exchanges makes this essay well worth posting. Reply From the medical perspective, a reminder that studies show that marijuana can have impacts on brain development in children and youth. (I work in this field.) If you choose to smoke, please be careful about exposing your kids! I personally have never used, but I do believe it is possible to use responsibly just like people can consume alcohol responsibly. Reply Hello! I really liked this article…Some of the rules are silly, but I like the general message. A couple things I have to bring up. 1. If this was a post about beer drinking, and someone saying 'candyland is way more fun after a couple brews' Everyone would chime in 'oh yeah hahaha i love beer, deeerrp de derp' but because pot is an illegal narcotic and Evil thanks to years of bad propaganda and brain washing, we are attacking it instead of chiming in ' yeah candyland is way more fun stoned' 2. people are arguing that this lady needs to smoke pot to tolerate her kids. taking it way out of proportion saying she is an addict, and can't bear the sight of her spawn without the influence of substance. thats silly. why? well….have you ever been screamed at by and infant, toddler, teenager for hours and hours on end for no reason other than they are a being with emotions and feelings and they are going to express them regardless of how you might feel. was it fun? did you enjoy it? or did you sit on a island in your mind sipping coconut juice listening to waves, and as soon as dad came home ran out the door with the dog because you didnt want to stand another minute of hellish shrieking? I sure have. Does stepping out for a walk, or a puff, or grabbing a beer make you any less of a parent? Honestly, I would rather step outside and clear my head with a joint than get into a yelling match with my 9 month old. fuck…I think if more parents chilled out and took a minute for themselves regardless of if the kid is present or not, there would be way less cases of shaken baby syndrome and child abuse. but because every parent is going to by holier than thou, the claws come out and judgement flies through the finger tips. you know what 'rents dont hear enough of? 'You're doing a great job' Some people find it acceptable to smoke pot, and some find it evil and horrible to drink around their kids. Some parents think its acceptable to spank their kids, and others would never dreams of doing that. Some people co-sleep, and some people let their babies cry themselves to sleep. some people say 'ta-ma-toe, and some people say pa-ta-toe' apples oranges. Different views do not mean one is right or wrong. maybe if we stopped being so mean to each other there wouldnt be so much post-partum, anxiety or personality disorders. Reply I personally have to say – That I feel pot is totally acceptable, and honestly way safer then alcohol to say the least. What I don't agree with is smoking pot around/ or being around your kids. You have to pick priorities in life… and moderation is one of them. I was a smoker (less and less as the years roll on) until I got pregnant with my third bouncing baby boy. (I also don't agree with pot use while pregnant… or while breastfeeding…) and I have to say I have never smoked while the kids are still awake… that is basically an after bedtime activity in my mind. I also feel that that was a responsible choice to make. I can't be "mom" and be "high" all at the same time… so being mom came first. As a parent you have to make sacrifices, a lot of them… drinking and smoking are just one of those things. Still as it stands I don't smoke anymore, as I am breastfeeding – wither I will pick up the occasional doobie afterward is yet to be decided. That is my personal choice though, its not that I feel pot is bad and all that ridiculous hoo hah people go on about, its more like I've out grown it, like you would an old sweater or pair of jeans… it just doesnt fit me right anymore. My husband still smoke, and he's really awesome about it… in fact I don't think we've ever had a "don't smoke, and be around the kids" talk… that just seems like something that should be common sense. Reply From 13 my mother and step father smoked in front of me and my 6 year old brother. They probably didn't when they had a baby 5 years later! Didn't turn me into a stoner, I do not agree with the fact that they were OK about us breathing in that smoke, but otherwise I do not have an issue with it at all. Reply Thank you. As someone with lifelong disabilities, with a partner who has lifelong disabilities, both are very much helped by cannabis. We have both given up other, less useful medication, and both become healthier, more responsible individuals. I wasn't on the Deans List until pot. I had no direction until pot. Now I see a bright future. Everyone handles drugs differently, and I've always refused to be judged by anyone saying I'll be a bad mother due to my medical cannabis use with a glass of wine in her hand and a bottle of half-empty Xanex on her nightstand. Reply Whether it is pot or taking a Benedryl in allergy season, every parent needs to be in touch with the limits of their ability to be an "altered" parent. Sometimes I'm sick, sometimes I need a shower, sometimes I'm so tired I can barely function as a human being much less a parent, and in those times I find a way to still make it through without scarring my children. Was I a perfect parent? Nope. Are the kids affected by it? Probably. Do I feel bad about it? No, I can't, because then I have to choose between understanding I'm human versus living a life of guilt for my humanity. I'm already Catholic, thanks. I don't see this as any different than many other times that parents choose themselves for a few moments in what is ultimately twenty or so years of mostly-selflessness. Of the listed "recommendations" up there, I think knowing your local laws and being safely within those is extremely important. Also, I can't get Peter Tosh's "Leave My Business" out of my head. 🙂 Reply Thank you for posting this! I'm a pot-smoking parent. I smoke daily and so does my husband. I may not follow these "rules", but we have our own. We are open with our children about our use and we let them know that marijuana is the same as cigarettes/alcohol in the sense that you must be an adult to use them. We live in CA, so it is legal with a recommendation. They see us smoke, just like they see us have an occasional beer with dinner. They see no difference in my behavior, besides maybe a few more laughs and the fact that I actually eat all of my dinner when I've smoked before hand. My children are intelligent, happy, and well cared for. I'm currently on maternity leave, but I do hold a full-time job, and my husband is a full-time student. We aren't lazy, we pay our bills on time, and we are "stoners". What works for my family obviously doesn't work for every family, but that doesn't give anyone the right to make judgements about my ability as a parent. Reply I'm fascinated by the discussion, and wish I had time to read through all the comments right now. I am the child of two pot smokers (one who is abstaining for the next 10 years or so in order to maintain a job until she retires). Growing up, I didn't know that my dad smoked pot and they didn't talk about it, but I did find a tray full of seeds and stems under the bed as a kid. As I grew older, I found more and more clues. Finally, my best friend's brother told me my parents were "druggies." I was very embarrassed and upset at the time, and for a while really angry at my parents and felt as if I had been lied to. Probably that was about being a melodramatic teenager. I tried it a few times myself in high school and realized pot isn't that big of a deal, but also that it's not my thing. I've really never had a discussion with my parents about it, but over the years at some point they realized I knew, and now when I'm home my dad doesn't take pains to hide, he just goes out on the porch and lights up. And it's fine. My parents are great people, super responsible, and as far as I can tell, it has not negatively affected their lives at all. Anyway, I found it interesting and would echo the idea that your kids will find out eventually. Depending on the kid and how they find out, their reaction might not be what you are expecting. I'm not saying you need to sit your five year old down to discuss it, but also sneaking around your kids will not make them feel great as they get old enough to figure it out. Reply Such an interesting discussion! My Dad used to need to drink to get to sleep at night, and thus I have grown up with a skewed "all or nothing" kind of attitude to alcohol and drugs. It's been very enlightening to read about others' experiences. Reply Yes, I think you may be getting to the crux of the disconnect in the responses to this post: some of us who grew up with moderate-use parents read this post through one filter ("Ha! That sounds familiar…") and some of us who grew up with addiction view it through a very different lens ("HOLY FUCK, THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR"). Ultimately, the author of this post is not ANY of our parents, and her children will have their own stories to tell. In the meantime, I wish we could all do our best to respect the core tenet of this website: different choices work for different families. (Indeed, the author herself may make different choices down the road.) Reply I really wish you & other commenters would stop going to those extremes, and would instead listen to the voices from the middle – some of us had moderate-use parents and we STILL hated it. So, again: Just because a parent is getting high in a moderate fashion, with no abuse or addiction in sight, DOES NOT MEAN that the drug use does not affect and/or harm the child. (And it doesn't mean that it does, either.) Please. I keep hearing how great this "discussion" is and how "all voices" are welcomed here, and yet all the voices coming from my perspective are consistently made invisible. Reply I mentioned two lenses at either end of the spectrum that I was seeing represented, assuming it didn't need to be said that of course there are as many lenses as their are people reading this post and filtering it through own personal experiences. Yours is one, yes. It doesn't change that one of core pieces of our mission statements is respecting that different things work for different families. What may not have worked for your family of origin may work for someone else, and what might work awesome for someone else may be a terrible fit for your values. Stephanie and I value all these perspectives, but Offbeat Mama's values are NOT about telling people who make different decisions that they're wrong — and many of the comments in this thread are doing that. This commitment to non-judgmental discussion has been a part of our mission statement since the day we launched. Reply Wow this really set up a fire storm of drama. As a mama who could only eat during my first months of morning sickness after a tiny toke, and who occasionally partakes on a super stressful day (akin to having a glass of wine) I thought this article was informative, playful and relevant. I'm surprised so many people got so riled up. Reply When I told my midwife I still toked, but used a vaporizer she was completely OK with my cannabis use. She said that for many mothers it helped a lot with morning sickness. I also was on anxiety medication before I got pregnant. I stopped taking my meds when I found out I was knocked up because I didn't want such a harsh chemical in my body. I turned instead to pot when I started having some of the most intense panic attacks of my life, because unlike my anxiety meds, marijuana has never been linked to any birth complications or defects. Reply Why didn't anyone tell me to smoke a little pot for my ridiculous morning sickness?! Reply We tried: http://offbeatmama.com/2010/03/marijuana-pregnancy 🙂 Reply I already commented once on the first page…but wanted to comment again after the talks about legality came into play. I think that the legal issue of it all is frustrating but not the reason I would say it is in MY OPINION (stressing that this is just MY OPINION) something that should not be done when caring for children. Alcohol is legal and I still would never be even tipsy when dealing with a child. As someone who works and lives closely with law enforcement, the legal issues are really this: they can not find a good way to "test" someone if they are caught "under the influence". We can test for alcohol very easily and effectively but with weed, it can be in your system long after you smoke or ingest (depending on your delivery method). So with no effective way to see if someone is high or over some sort of limit, we can not have people just saying "no..I am good" and regulating themselves and driving. Anyways…just my 2 cents on the legal issues. Personally, legal or not, I do not think your children should see you in a state of high or drunk or whatever. The people who were saying stuff about zanex and other mood altering drugs, the people who take those have an imbalance. This is being corrected. It is not something to enhance their daily lives but correct them. Pain killers, same thing. If someone is in chronic pain, then I doubt they are getting "high" off the pain killers but are being made comfortable (as is my case…but of course I have not been taking any the past 7 months…and will not while breast feeding. It is HARD. I was in a terrible accident that left me with some crazy injuries but I make this work for the sake of my child.) But all around, this is a good topic to talk about. I have really enjoyed catching up on comments today and reading what everyone (good or bad) has to say in regards to the topic at hand. This is a wonderful forum for all modes of thinking, no matter if I agree or not. How can I grow as a person if I am only around people who I agree with all the time? Reply There have been a lot of comments about how even moderate drug usage can make kids upset or otherwise hurt them. This is very true. However, I feel like it's worth mentioning that the same can be said about many parenting decisions. A lot of personal decisions can harm kids, but its up to each parent to weigh the factors and make the best decisions for their families. I have a family member who hated having a working mother, hated being an only child, and hates that her mother kept her maiden name. She'll take every chance to discourage me from doing these things, because she had a terrible experience as a child and thus I'm being cruel and selfish. Granted, the illegality of drugs in many states raises the stakes a little. However, the truth still stands that every child is different. She's not doing something that is guaranteed to hurt them (addiction, etc). This is just one of the many personal decisions that could harm her kids. She's obviously weighed the factors and decided that smoking is what works best for her. Yes, the author's kids may come to hate their mom's stoner ways. But, so what? Reply Yes! We raise kids "for their own good" but not for their approval. So what if they decide we were wrong later, if they still turned out okay? And then of course, those judgments come full circle. I remember disapproving of everything my parents did at the age of 16. Since then I've been relaxing on one after another as I've realized that "holy crap my parents were human and fallible and that doesn't make them evil!" Reply I had a parent who was a minimal pot smoker. When I was young she woudl smoke after I went to bed, when I got older (high school) she would smoke whens he went to bed, regardless of whether I was in bed. Personally, it has never been my belief that pot and parenting could responsibly go together. My mother was a wonderful mom and she took good care of me. I just never felt good about her pot smoking. I always knew even though her stash was perfectly hidden and she NEVER had creepy people around. I just never felt completely safe, and I didn't know enough about my feelings to tell her. I just sucked it up and grew up as quickly as possible. By the time I was 5 I knew everything I thought I needed to know to be safe because I didn't feel safe when my mom was high. To this day I would never say that to her because she was a wonderful parent. But, she had a decision to make and in my opinion she made the wrong one. Kids always know. What kids think about it is individual and parents may never know how their actions affect their children, but the kids will now that their folks are different. In a lot of ways I envy people who can trust drugs (and I include alcohol). I know that they are not necessarily as scary as I think they are, but I was ever given the opportunity to experience them outside of my feelings of not being safe. When I met my partner I told him that I don't want weed in the house and I do not want weed around my kids. End of story. I hope I was able to articulate my feelings in a way that wasn't harmful. I really do understand that not everyone will have the reaction that I have, and that is great. They are probably much more comfortable people. But I do think that we can do damage even while thinking that we have all our bases covered. Reply In theory, I agree that having a toke before Candyland is much like having a couple beers. But the big difference is that in many states, law enforcement does not see it the same AT ALL. If you live somewhere where marijuana is decriminalized or essentially is, then go for it. But if you are breaking the law, you are not only setting a bad example for your kids, but you putting their safe, secure home at risk for your buzz. I also really appreciate the person who pointed out that if you are not white or upper middle class, this is sadly more likely to happen to you, but that doesn't mean that you and your family aren't at risk if you are. It just doesn't seem worth it, and while I have no problem with Offbeat Mama publishing this one woman's experience and point of view, I definitely side with the many readers who find this mother's choices disappointing at best, and dangerous at worst. Reply So I am not a current pot smoker and my husband has never been one; although, in my previous life (pre-baby, and hubby) I loved to smoke pot, I never used any other elicit drugs, and I can not drink (Allergies and no tolerance) but, pot is my choice substance if I had to have one. I enjoy being sober most times but, I do take the occasional Xanax which I find is much more addicting but legal. I am pro legalization for medical and recreational, I live in NC and we have so many farmers who could benefit and save their livelihood if we did legalize it. I never want my daughter to experiment with Alcohol it is far more toxic, I also don't want her breaking the laws her mom did LOL I am the biggest hypocrite now that I am a parent. I do hope if she experiments with pot we can have a candid talk about when, where, and what is acceptable. Then I will confiscate the goodies and make brownies for me and the hubby when she is fast asleep. Reply Hi, just want to say thank you for this post and the discussion. I like how the author encourages exploring what the consequences are for your particular state or custody situation. This is good advice. And on the whole 'smoking in front of kids=not ok' and 'smoking not in front of kids=ok', even the author implies the decision to smoke is more complex than this. I've experienced situations where a parent failed a mandatory work related drug test due to smoking pot, lost their job, which meant lost health insurance which covered their child = sick child with no health insurance until other cover could be sought (not to mention loss of family income). And I've seen parents loose custody of children because of legal consequences of being caught smoking. These were both situations where the smoking was moderate and did not happen in front of children, but with negative consequences for the children. Just thought I'd add this to the discussion, again really thought the post was well written for prompting reflection on this topic. Reply Not a parent and not a pot smoker here (thought I should get that out of the way). I teach in a lot of different schools (ages 5 to 12) and I've got to say it- I've never once heard a child say they are ok when their caregiver is "chemically altered". Kids are smart- they know when something is up- regardless of whether it's "Mummy's special juice" (alcohol) or "Dad's mozzie smokes" (pot- some parents say the smell is to keep insects away)- the kids aren't happy. One will share an experience (usually a what I did on the weekend kind of thing) and the others will console/show empathy with their experiences. I've yet to hear a kid say anything remotely positive. Usually it's "even though such and such says they want to play, I just try to go to my room instead". They really don't want to be around people who are high/drunk. Reply My parents smoked pot when I was a kid. I remember summer nights, my parents sitting on the neighbors back porch, laughing, the bug zapper doing it's job. I thought it was funny they thought the bug zapper was so funny. I was in middle school during this time period. I'd already been through the scary DARE program. I had also witnessed my aunt wasting away to 90 lbs on a diet consisting solely of alcohol. One of my closest friends at the time (a 9 or 10 year old girl) ended up on the talk show circuit because she turned in her own father for dealing drugs. I had witnessed some heavy stuff in my short life up until that point so my parents smoking marijuana and laughing with the neighbors was no big thing. Talking about drugs in our house was almost as taboo as talking about religion. Sure, a joke or two may be tossed around, but it was always up to me as an individual to learn about it and cone to my own decision. I learned about marijuana while observing my parents and neighbors. I saw how it brought them together. I saw how they always provided for our dying cancer stricken neighbor. I saw our sick neighbor eating and keeping food down. As a child I came to the conclusion that marijuana was a medicine for the body and soul. That was MY perspective. However, another little girl found out her parents were smoking pot and she got scared. She hid her daddy's stash from him, because she thought the marijuana would get her daddy arrested. Her daddy was the one dying from brain cancer and she didn't want him to spend his last days behind bars. My mother was the one who went over to look for the weed, then she had "the talk" with the neighbors girl. I wasn't present for "the talk", though. I wasn't within earshot, but I knew the little girl was hearing about "the buzz and the weed", like when you know a kid is hearing about the birds and the bees from an adult for the first time. You also have to understand that where I lived, even though DARE was active in the schools, small quantities of marijuana were considered no big deal (despite laws on the books allowing action). So, the hardest thing I had to come to grips with was seeing that some laws exist that both citizens and law enforcement choose to ignore, unless it's part of a bigger problem. J Reply Woooo lots of judgement in here. Kudos to the mods for trying to keep it civil. My parents aren't stoners, and while my dad drinks, I've never once seen him in anything like an impaired state. I did grow up with something some folks find Much Too Dangerous to keep in the same house as kids: guns. They were kept in a secure place, but I saw them fired, and fired them myself under adult supervision. Here's the crux of the matter, I think: your opinions about things are profoundly affected by what happens in your house and how your parents deal with it. Mine were super respectful towards firearms, but not afraid; neither am I, now. But I know parents that would totally flip their shit before letting their kids into our house, even with demonstrations that the guns were locked up. Other parents allowed it; but their unease meant that the KIDS were either uncomfortable or waaaay too interested. I think the same thing happens with pot, alcohol, or any other morally divisive substance/thing. But it happens for "lesser" things, too. A friend of mine had a mother that was terrified of dogs. The friend wasn't, not really, but she was never really at ease if the dog was indoors with us. My apologies to the folks whose parents engaged in activities that made them uncomfortable. That is not a happy place to be … but I think it's less likely that the problem is the Thing, when families are doing just fine with that particular Thing, than how your parents handled it. It's not "sad" that this parent is a stoner, any more than it's "sad" that my dad keeps guns, or "sad" that my friend drinks beer like some people drink water — as long as we aren't in a situation where the kids are feeling bad. That happens all the time, and the problem isn't the substance/item, it's How That Thing Is Handled, which you just can't tell unless you know the person and the kids. My dad had rules about guns, people who drink usually have rules about drinking, and here's one person's rules about smoking. These are usually good signs that the person is taking care that their Thing doesn't negatively effect their kid. Reply Hey all! In a move that will likely surprise NO ONE, the majority of the comments now coming in do not adhere to our commenting policy. We're closing comments on this post. Thanks to everyone for the participation! What a trip. Reply As a child of a stoner parent, I can tell you that your child will know. They won't understand, but they will know. I knew when Mom and Other Mom were who were interacting with me. I can tell you they don't remember promises the other made, that Other Mom would end up breaking my heart and sometimes scared me. I can tell you as a child that we can smell it, and it isn't pleasant. You make contact unwelcome for those with a sharp nose. I can tell you that as a kid, I hated the change in my mom. She wasn't her. She wasn't funnier, better, or as loved. She was not desired. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.