Response to “Confessions of a Pothead Mom”

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Dear Pothead Mom,

How brave of you for publicly admitting to a habit that so many parents secretly also share.  I know that many, many parents can relate to you and feel unburdened by your confession.

I just have one reaction:

Do you really mean to call yourself a “pothead,” or more-accurately, are you admitting that you are a “recreational user”?  I sincerely hope believe that you must have meant the latter.

I know your friends said smoking weed three times a week makes a person a “pothead,” but…….

By your own admission, for much of the general public, the term “pothead” conjures up images of struggling to get out of bed before 2 pm, potato chips on the couch, and forgetting to feed the kids. The label “pothead mom” immediately brings up the parallel image of an “alcoholic mom” in my mind, and likely in the minds of many of your readers.  The term “pothead mom” basically paints a very sad and serious picture of  a mom being in an altered state often enough and to the extent that it interferes with her ability to adequately care for her kids.

You alluded to the fact that you smoke marijuana to the same extent that moms who socially-drink consume  alcoholic beverages.   You also mentioned that you uphold your child’s health and safety as paramount.  If this is all accurate, I assume you are never high during times when you are the only one watching your daughter and never have marijuana in your system whatsoever when you are driving her.  I assume that if you’re really feeling like getting baked, you wait until you are gone at a party or, if you are at home, until she goes to bed.

(My alcohol-consuming mommy friends and I don’t drink alcohol in the middle of the day when we are the only ones watching the kids, although honestly we might have a drink or two at a barbecue or gathering when other sober people are around to help pick up the slack with childcare.  And if we are feeling like having more than a couple, we will make sure we are away with a designated driver or the kids are already fast asleep.  Just because alcohol  is legal does not mean we as mothers don’t have a responsibility to our children to be examples of reasonable and safe consumption.)

I legitimately assume that you do in fact only enjoy a smoke as often and to the extent that an average mom who consumes alcohol enjoys an alcoholic beverage.  Otherwise, why would you make all the comparisons to our society’s acceptance of the consumption of alcohol in your article?  Therefore, I am betting that you smoke in a way that most people would consider “recreational.

So why do I think it matters at all if you use the word “pothead” vs. “recreational user?”?  Because “recreational users” don’t smoke during times when being in an altered state of mind interferes with their lives or their ability to care for their children.  Rock-on, recreational users; do whatever you want to do in your own time in your own home as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else!  BUT, it concerns me that many readers may run with your brave and candid confession, and feel empowered to be more than an occasional, recreational user….to be the type of user whose smoking gets in the way of being the best parents they can be.  After-all, it is the confession of a “pothead.”

You seem like a solid and conscientious parent.  You really do.   It is clear that you prioritize your child’s healthy, safety, and well-being above-all.  –I loved the part about prioritizing honesty.–  I’d imagine you would certainly not want anyone to interpret your viral confession as condoning actually being a “pothead” in the sense of the pajama-wearing, neglecting her kids definition that I described above. I’m sure you would be horrified if you read an article that at a glance appeared as if it was condoning a mother being high or drunk during times when she is the only one taking care of her children.  I’m sure you would not be okay with a viral “confession of an alcoholic mom,” explaining that getting drunk around her kid is here to stay, since alcohol is now commonly found within our media, our routines, and our kitchen cabinets.

I’m not saying you are condoning problematic, habitual smoking (the kind that interferes with a mother’s capacity to care for her children), but I am saying is the label “pothead” does suggest such an image to a lot of readers.

I completely understand that “Confessions of a Mom Who Occasionally Smokes Pot During Times When She is Not the Sole Adult Taking Care of Her Child”  doesn’t have the same ring as your title.  However, the message of, “my occasional smoking doesn’t interfere with my parenting the same way your occasional drinking doesn’t interfere with your parenting” becomes slightly lost when the word “pothead” is used.

And in a bizarre irony, that was actually my only thought about the whole confession.  Frankly, I don’t care at all what anyone does in their own time, as long as it doesn’t cause harm to anyone or interfere with caring for their children adequately.

Tonight, I’ll be toasting my wine to you and all the other recreational drinkers and smokers who don’t let their preferred method of unwinding affect their ability to care for their kids.

Sincerely,

Angelica Shiels Psy.D.

 

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2 thoughts on “Response to “Confessions of a Pothead Mom”

  1. Dear Overthinking Mommy,

    Thanks for reading my blog and for sharing your thoughts. Part of me agrees with your concern of my use of the term “pothead”. I sat with it for a long time before choosing to use it. My life and actions are not concurrent with what I would term a “pothead”, and most folks who use Canabis recreationally wouldn’t call me a pothead either. So you are correct that using this term negates the image I depict within the blog of a caring and honest mom, one who puts her kid’s health and needs first.

    Unfortunately, much of the world doesn’t make the distinction. There is a stigma attached to someone the minute they admit to marijuana use…one that conjures up irresponsibility and idiocy. Whether or not I call myself a pothead, once I admit to smoking pot regularly, I become a pothead for many. If I don’t own, and redefine, the term, then it will come to define me. I had people equating me to a crackhead smoking crack in front of children. To them, the fact that I use marijuana recreationally makes me a drug addict, unfit to parent, period. So I chose to use the term upfront, to show how silly it is that someone can say it’s 3 times/week or 13 times/week that makes one a pothead…when really it’s about honesty and responsibility with all of the substances we use to escape and cope with the stresses of parenting.

    Yes, it was also a good title to attract readership…slightly controversial, and just saucy enough to spark a debate nationwide about parenting through the legalization process.

    I ended up writing a follow-up blog about the experience instead of joining the mainstream media buzz on the issue. You can read it here if you’re interested:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kiri-westby/the-pot-closet_b_5173556.html

    Thanks again for engaging, for keeping it real and for writing…

    Be Bold, Be Brave!
    Kiri

    • Thanks, Kiri. I enjoyed your reply and agree that people don’t make the distinction between “pothead” and “responsible, recreational user.” I’m still wondering if using the word “pothead” was a step toward empowering people to not jump to judgmental conclusions about recreational users or was a step toward condoning irresponsible use. I suppose it would depend on what the reader wanted to get out of it…

      And I Ioved your follow-up article, because you know most people were wondering how it all panned out!

      But more than anything, I am just thrilled that you took the time to respond to my lil’ old blog! I do think I was speaking for many women who try not to jump to conclusions or be judgmental, but do just want the best for our kids and our society whenever possible 🙂

      Thanks for the reply! It made my day.

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