On pot and parenting and answering the hard questions that are often asked of partaking parents. Photo by Andy Cross, The Denver Post.

Yes, my son knows I smoke marijuana

“Does your kid know you ‘do’ weed?”

“Does your child see you when you are stoned?”

“How do you ingest marijuana around your child?”

Pot lovers with progeny are often asked these questions and others. And they are valid questions.

“Does it help you with parenting?”

The more open-minded folks ask you that one. It’s an honest inquiry, and I’m the honest stoner mommy willing to answer.

“Does your kid know you ‘do’ weed?”

He doesn’t understand what marijuana is, but he does understand that there are lots of things that are just for Mama and Dada. As he gets older we will talk with him candidly about drugs and alcohol and keep an open-door policy. I think being truthful with him about our use, not trying to scare him and keeping a direct line of communication available is going to be key.

Whether he chooses to experiment with drugs or alcohol in the future will be up to him; Making him comfortable enough in our relationship that he feels I’m available to talk to and nonjudgmental of his choices is up to me.

“Does your child see you when you are stoned?”

If I’m being real here, most people see me when I’m stoned — or medicated, rather. I smoke as a natural way to settle my normally irritated tummy and to give me an appetite, which I usually just don’t have. (And it’s not a thyroid thing — I’ve checked.) I don’t smoke excessively while I’m taking care of my son. Certainly don’t infer that I’m sitting on the couch barely conscious or stoned to the point of recklessness. It is the same as taking any medication, and I always put the safety of my child first. But if I don’t smoke at all then I don’t eat. And if I don’t eat, I don’t feel well or have any energy. I know that I can’t parent that way and, luckily, I don’t have to.

“How do you ingest marijuana around your child?”

I don’t, never in the same room as my son. I smoke mostly, though I’m super-interested in getting a vaporizer pen. I choose to separate myself partly because I don’t want him mimicking that behavior. I have a friend who caught her daughter “smoking” a bobby pin after hearing that her daddy was going to smoke a cigarette.

My friend’s experience gave me a little insight before I let the same thing happen to us. Some things you just don’t want your child to act out. It’s not because there is something wrong with the behavior; Most parents have sex, too, and that doesn’t mean they let their child see it. So when we smoke, we adhere to keeping out of sight and out of mind.

More obviously I don’t want to be participating in any kind of behavior which could lead to my son being taken away from me. Child Protective Services is in the same place we all are — brand new territory. Marijuana is legal, but the use of the substance by a parent while under the same roof as their child (sleeping or awake) is a slippery slope. If you were to be reported for smoking marijuana or alcohol it could warrant a welfare visit by the police or CPS in which a judgement call would be made on a case-by-case basis. So I make sure to follow the law to a T and keep my son out of harm’s way.

“Does it help with your parenting?”

This one is a double-edged sword. I know marijuana helps me medically. And so when I smoke it I shouldn’t hear a tiny voice that says, “You’re doing drugs,” “This isn’t good for your kid” and “Go get a real job, ya hippie!” But sometimes I do. Sometimes that D.A.R.E. officer’s rhetoric in elementary school comes back to haunt me.

Because of the (unproven) stigmas drilled into my head over a lifetime, there is sometimes a feeling of guilt. It’s a guilt I know has no real legs to stand on, but even so, it pops up here and there. But I think that’s normal. A conscious parent knows that what they do affects and shapes their child. And a conscious parent is going to question their actions, hopefully often, to make sure they’re on the right path.

Does smoking a bowl help me relax and make dancing with my son a little more fun? Sure, it does. But that’s not why I’m doing it. I could have fun with my guy even if all the cannabis in the world was eradicated. (Truth, but please no.) I smoke because I need to, and my son is better off having a mommy who is stoned and eating and living life than a mommy who is wasting away. Just sayin’.

How do you address these questions, and do you feel good about your answers? Is there something else altogether people ask? As always I want to hear from you. Email me or comment below.