We’ve all seen the #MOMSNIGHTOUT or #WINESDAY hashtags scrolling through our social media feeds. Typically these catch phrases are found beneath posted photos of young mommas standing just so, one hand on a hip, the other holding a martini or wine glass. Such candid shots tend to generate dozens of “likes” followed by comments of approval, encouragement and even praise for taking a small dose of downtime from their children. While being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs on the face of this planet, we can all agree raising a family can sometimes be equally as taxing. For this reason most people would agree mothers who proudly share pictures with clever little hashtags are certainly deserving of a good time with their gal pals, free from judgement or criticism.
What if a mom were to post a photo holding a joint instead of a martini glass?
Would she be free from judgement and criticism too?
Not a chance.
We live in a world where it’s perfectly acceptable for mommy to wind down with a couple glasses of merlot, but if she were to step out on her back deck to take a few puffs of Kosher Kush suddenly she’s viewed as a less fit mother. Ironically when comparing the two substances, alcohol and cannabis, one would find no real threat lies with cannabis however the same cannot be said for alcohol.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) on average 45% of adult women reported drinking alcohol at least once a month. Half of the women who reported drinking alcohol once a month were of child bearing age. Of those women, 18% reported binge drinking five drinks or more.
As most are already aware, many dangers can be associated with binge drinking. Drinking in excess leads to disorientation, nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness or worse, death. Just last year the Washington Post reported 30,700 Americans died from a combination of both alcohol poisoning and long term side effects such as cirrhosis of the liver.
None of these dangers, however, can be associated with consuming cannabis. Not once in the history of mankind has a single overdose death been reported due to someone smoking or ingesting too much marijuana. Unlike opioids, cannabis does not affect respiration, the cause of opioid overdose fatalities. Additionally, consuming cannabis does not cause next day hangover or sickness like alcohol. Regardless of how much weed someone smokes there will never be a next-day migraine, feeling of lethargy or upset stomach.
Interestingly, the only real danger associated with cannabis is getting caught with it. Some people fear the police or child protective services depending on laws within their state. Others are afraid to lose their jobs should employers discover their medicinal or recreational choices. Others don’t want those in their community to know for fear of disapproval. Not many want people want their pastor to know they go home after church and light up a doobie every Sunday.
As a medicinal cannabis consuming mother of four, my personal fear is my children’s friends’ parents somehow finding out. What if they don’t want their kids to be friends with mine? Do they think I’d bring out a bong and start ripping hits at the dinner table? Or that maybe I’d sit on the living room couch with a bag of chips smoking joints, while their children run around playing hide and seek with mine?
The truth is I’m just like any other mom trying to raise my children the best possible way I can. I too cheer for my boys from the bleachers at every football, baseball and basketball game. I’ve been snack mom more times than I can count and have spent as much time scrubbing grass and dirt stains out of my son’s uniforms as any other mother.
I’m the dance mom backstage helping a dozen little ballerinas fluff their tutus and pin their hair bows. I volunteer in my children’s’ classrooms and help my two youngest with homework every single night. Like other moms across America I too spend my days working to keep a clean home, laundry done and healthy meals on the table. And you can bet when my kids have playdates I ensure all children under my care are safe, having fun and all needs are met. The same I would expect from any other parent I were to entrust with one of my children.
Bottom line is people from all walks of life have smoked pot for thousands of years, including mothers. If women didn’t feel compelled to hide their consumption you’d see pot smoking moms have been among you all along. They’re the dug out mom helping your little guy remember batting order, the PTA mom helping raise money for field trips, the mom next door you see outside all the time playing with her kids. It’s CEOs, teachers, lawyers, counselors, doctors, you name it, they’re everywhere. So far 10 states have legalized for recreational use and 33 states have implemented medical marijuana programs. The fear surrounding cannabis is both baseless and unnecessary. I’d say it’s time we end the stigma surrounding cannabis once and for all.
Kim Petters, USAF veteran and mother of four