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On the Questionable Ways Parents Choose To Chill

I read somewhere or heard somewhere that there’s the whole new(ish) thing of parents who are “smoking out” to relieve tension. In fact, I just Google “parents pot smoking” and came up with this article. Some of these moms actually go so far as to say it makes them a better parent while others think that any way of being mind-altered is not a great thing when taking care of kids.

I know when I was drinking I genuinely believed that having a couple glasses of wine made me a better parent; more patient, less edgy, better company. Yet I’ve never felt that way about pot. I never liked to smoke it; it only made me paranoid, anxious and of course, super hungry. But more than that, I don’t like the idea of it. Possibly because my step-dad was a stoner.

When I was a little kid, my mother and step-father were hippies -leather headband wearing, peace marching, “down with bombs” sign carrying, tie-dyed hippies. From what I recall, I liked the free-for-all attitude that permeated be-ins, music festivals and crafts fairs which were sort of the staples of our family time. The only part of the scene I vividly recall disliking was my parents’ love of weed.

From my memory, step-dad was a pretty daily toker and looking back I can see it was a lot about checking out. He smoked and worked for hours in his darkroom every day and would emerge with blood shot eyes and a shitty attitude. Other times, when he was pissed (which was a lot) he’d just disappear downstairs to get away and come back with that same look and a mad hunger for pound cake.

My parents’ favorite time to get high was on road trips. Our Renault always reeked of marijuana although my step-father tried to cover the smell with Doublemint gum, which didn’t work. It only made me despise the smell of Doublemint gum (note to Juicyfruit: we are still friends). There’s nothing like two high as a kite parents driving up the California coast over winding cliffs to leave you car sick and fearing for your life. I can remember cowering in the backseat with no seat belt on just hoping with all my might that I would make it to our campsite alive and not end up a burning ember on the beach 80 feet below.

Fast forward to junior high. My seventh and eighth grade years predated Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign but there were still a lot of anti-drug speeches and pamphlets handed out among students. One day I placed an anti-marijuana leaflet on my parent’s bed. They were not amused, more like completely pissed off. They basically told me it was none of my business and to mind my own business. They may or may not have referred to me as a “little narc.” Okay not.

At maybe thirteen, I decided that if I was to stand in judgment of their habit, I should at least know what they were doing. Since they refused to ever let me try to get stoned at home saying, “When you’re 18 you can make your own decisions,” I stole some pot from step-dad’s stash which he craftily kept unwell hidden in a film canister above their bed. My friend and I rolled a joint which I’d learned to do from watching them, and we proceeded to smoke the entire thing while hiding in the backyard. I didn’t get buzzed even the slightest bit but I did get a headache. Turns out, it was some bad homegrown shit.

As an adult I’ve never liked pot much or enjoyed being around stoners. I don’t appreciate the movies that glorify pot smoking like every Seth Rogan vehicle. When I saw Knocked Up, I couldn’t get past how Katherine Heigl’s character could think there was any chance of a pothead being a responsible person. I mean, let’s be honest, there were probably other issues with the movie but that’s the one that ruined it for me. All that sitting around smoking and thinking it’s cool I didn’t get it. At all.

So, people who use pot to check out? I thought it was gross. I judged. I had issues with that. Yet, somehow in my mind, alcohol was totally different cool, fun, socially acceptable, much better. Except that I was using alcohol in the same exact way I hating seeing pot used when I was a kid and I had to stop.

There’s no moral to this story. Simply put, I’m glad I don’t drink anymore and I have no desire to see Pineapple Express. But I’m wondering how you all feel about people smoking the ganja while parenting. Can it really make them a better parent? Or are they just high?

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