Why, in a world of wine moms and beer dads, would a pot-smoking parent feel stigmatized? I regularly ask myself this question as I navigate parenting a 2-year-old as a medical cannabis user.
It was easier to answer questions about my cannabis career before taking on the title of mother. If people didn’t like it, the ostracization only affected me. But now it’s about more than me, and as I fill up my toddler’s social calendar, I get nervous that questions about my career or post-bedtime rituals may result in lost playdates. Even so, the benefits of my responsible cannabis use outweigh that negative possibility. Let’s take gentle parenting, for example.
Gentle parenting is a parenting method that considers a child’s desires and feelings around a “bad” behavior. Rather than attempting to punish the behavior out of them, children and parents open a dialogue. Some think of gentle parenting as allowing kids to run amok and make their own rules, but that’s a misconception. It’s a constant game of observing a child’s behavior, attempting to understand their motivation, and then reasoning with the little one, helping them correlate their root desire with a “right” behavior. We use this parenting method in my family.
This method requires immense patience. It isn’t as simple as relegating a kiddo to their room. That is where the microdose of cannabis comes in for me.
Now, let’s stop for a moment and say that I do not condone getting exceptionally stoned (or even a little stoned) while watching your child. And I 100 percent don’t believe in driving yourself or your kid while high, especially if you’re a recreational user with little understanding of titrating your dose. But for those gentle parents who are familiar enough with the cannabis plant to calculate a toke, vape pull, or bite of an edible down to the milligram, cannabis can be a godsend.
I’ve been a mother for almost two years, and I’ve been a medical cannabis patient for 15. Cannabis has been helpful to me since the day we came home from the hospital with our son. It helped me regulate my emotions after the immense task of birthing and avoid overstimulation while holding a little crying being all day. And cannabis has been my greatest ally on this gentle parenting journey(right behind my husband).
For example, while we play my toddler sometimes obsesses over hitting his toy hammer on every surface, a fun activity for him that damages the furniture. When I try to stop the behavior it can end in a heightened tantrum whether I approach him with gentle or aggressive methods. That’s just toddlers. As you can imagine, maintaining a calm approach while a little person screams, cries, and sometimes even hits you is a huge challenge. Now imagine the same experience, but you’re working with a mindful microdose of cannabinoids while trying to reason with the little monkey. If you imagined using cannabis makes it easier to keep a cool head and reason with a toddler who does not yet understand their emotions, then you’re right. That has been my exact experience.
Again, I’m not condoning getting overly high while around your children. And I definitely don’t want anyone smoking around their children. But I am saying that if you’re having an especially hard day and feel ready to yell at the little one, or get so overstimulated that you start to dissociate rather than be present, responsible cannabis use can be your best friend.
Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of GreenState.com and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.