Normally trend pieces in the New York Post make me want to take a shower, but a recent story was much different. It seems that NYC moms are embracing the herb as a way to unwind after “juggling play dates, naptime, temper tantrums and PB&Js.” If you’re wondering why this is news then you’ve never read a trend piece, and if you’re not sure why we’re talking about it, then you’re not very familiar with HMJ. Read on to find out more about mommy marijuana anecdotes. Child-rearing has never looked this relaxing.
Ordinarily you could look for a stressed mom at the liquor store, but now you need not look any further than your local weed dealer: “‘I think it’s a pretty common thing,’ confesses 33-year-old Erica (not her real name), mother to a 4-year-old daughter. ‘That’s how some mommies cope with stress.”’ We’re not sure that’s how ALL mother’s cope with stress, but in NYC it seems to be more popular–it still requires a pseudonym for the Post piece.
According to the most recent data, released in 2009 by the US Department of Health and Human Services, 16.7 million people over the age of 12 smoked pot at least once in the month prior to taking the survey, up 8 percent from the previous year. But the taboo of lighting up a joint when you’re a mom — especially with young children — persists, which is why the practice is still deeply under the radar; all of the mothers The Post spoke with did so on the condition of anonymity.
“I’ve never talked about it with my new-mom friends,” says Jennifer*, a Kensington, Brooklyn-based mother of a 1-year-old son, who is in her 30s. “I would never. I feel like the mom community is so judgmental. I would never broach that topic with anybody. I’m private about it.”
She enjoys a joint a couple of times a week, after work or on the weekends — sometimes after her son has gone to bed, and sometimes during the day, when he’s awake.
It’s not just the relaxing affects common with nature’s mommy munchie maker, it can also provide a silent communication device with a pre-talking infant, as Jennifer mentions, ”the pot…makes mom-and-baby time a whole different thing. I have had moments where I felt like I could communicate with him better, back when he wasn’t talking — we’d have a silent, eye-contact kind of conversation.’”
It’s becoming so prevalent it’s even sprung up a group creatively called Moms for Marijuana.
The New York [state] chapter is just getting off the ground,” says Sarah Via, the organization’s communications director, a 50-year-old mother of two grown children (22 and 19) who’s been smoking for 30 years and lives in the upstate town of Hamlin. There’s no NYC-based group at this time, she says, but “we’re hoping.” The state chapter, which launched earlier this year, has fewer than 100 members, but “that will change soon,” says Via, who’s planning on launching a Facebook page for the group to recruit more moms, as many other states’ branches already have.
But there are some medical professionals who don’t agree with the marijuana over wine advocated by the mothers in the piece:
Dr. Howard Samuels, CEO of the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, says pot can also be more dangerous because it doesn’t have the slow ramping-up option of a single glass of wine.
“You smoke marijuana, you get high,” he says. “There’s a difference. If you have one glass of wine or beer, it reduces a little anxiety. But you could drive — you’re not impaired. When smoking marijuana, you smoke it to get loaded.”
Either way, though, Dr. Samuels says smoking pot and parenting don’t mix. “I’m shocked that any parent would ever say that smoking pot while they’re playing with their kids is a healthy thing,” he says. “It makes me sick to my stomach. Are they retarded emotionally?”
Nicely put DOCTOR Samuels. But, the mother’s interviewed feel marijuana is more beneficial at battling stress then the ol’ stand by of Virginia Slims and Gin before 4.
But many moms insist that pot makes them feel less volatile than alcohol. “Wine drinking is fun,” says April Garland, 40, a new member of Moms for Marjiuana who lives in Burt, NY, and is mother to two daughters, 7 and 13. “But you tend to lose more inhibitions. People also tend to get more aggressive when they’re drinking.”
Marijuana just feels better as a relaxant, and mother’s think it’s actually helping their children in the long run.
Nancy goes further, arguing that smoking pot might actually reap benefits for the children, as well. “This is a very high-pressure place, and increasingly, the world at large is just a pressure cooker,” she says.
“Parents bear a large brunt of it, because raising children is nearly impossible. It’s a lot of stress. I [try] to relax as much as possible in whatever way is possible. Kids pick up on that stress and it’s bad for us — and it’s bad for them.”
I would argue in favor of raising your kids without anything that clouds your ability to think cogently, but I like to get high too, so maybe I’m not thinking so clearly. See what I did?