Ever enjoy a glass a wine at an afternoon playdate? Order a beer when out to dinner with the family? Grab a toke on the old peace pipe after the kids go to bed?
Did that last one surprise you? That’s probably because we don’t talk much about mothers whose preferred buzz comes from the chronic.
They’re out there and they’re talking to the New York Post, which claims that “the leafy green drug is becoming a hipper alternative to that old standby, alcohol.”
Erica, a not-her-real-name mother of a 4 year-old quoted in the story, says: “I think it’s a pretty common thing. That’s how some mommies cope with stress. … Some moms are drinking very early in the day, starting around 4. I would rather smoke a bowl, take the edge off and go about my day.”
She’s not alone; in 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 16.7 million people over the age of 12 smoked marijuana at least once in the month prior to taking the survey, up 8 percent from 2008.
Nonetheless, the practice is, in most cases, on the down-low.
In part, that’s due, of course, to the whole illegal thing. But the social stigma of smoking pot seems to be lessening—perhaps, in these parts, in direct proportion to Massachusetts’ 2009 decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The Post also points to studies by American Scientist, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that show that long-term pot use is less harmful than long-term alcohol use.
However, the Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that alcohol is safer, “partly because its effects last only a few hours, while THC, the intoxicant in pot, can stay in the body for weeks,” says the Post piece.
But that intoxicant may also be helping some moms get off pills, according to the Post piece. Pills like, say, Xanax and Klonopin (the long-term effects of which some pros say are potentially more severe than effects of marijuana).
Some of my own friends agree. (Yes, I have friends who occasionally light up. See their names, addresses and LinkedIn profiles at the bottom of this story...kidding).
Says a mom of three I’ll call Mary J.: “Despite being assisted by anti-anxiety drugs and exercise, I truly find pot to be the best anti-anxiety treatment. … I wouldn’t recommend driving kids around or spending the whole day stoned, but it certainly alleviates stress quickly, and makes the very boring—housework, for example—tolerable.”
How would Mary feel if her kids got high?
“I hope they don’t,” she says. “Until their brains are totally formed and they are mentally capable of making the decision for themselves.”
But in the meantime, when Mary forgoes a glass of chardonnay in favor of a couple of drags of marijuana, she hides it from her children.
“I get so angry sometimes at the double standard,” she says. “If people find out you smoke, they’re all incredulous and judgey, like you’re on a corner in Haight-Ashbury not leading anything resembling a productive life. But if you go to a Pampered Chef party and overindulge on cosmos, it’s considered amusing.”
What do you think? Is it okay for moms to get high occasionally—or would that qualify them for a lifetime membership in the Bad Mom Club?