How Parenting with Cannabis Helps Me as a Mother
Parenting offers us some of the best and most difficult moments in our lives. I think we can all agree on that. Once you become a parent, you become so many more things than you were before.
I am a mom of three boys, ages 16, 14, and 10. I actually had the privilege to be a stay-at-home mom for about 10 years before stepping back into work. While being a mother has offered me many ways to grow and learn, it has also taught me a kind of selfless love I’ve never experienced before. I found that cannabis was not only a way for me to recharge and balance out that love with my personal self-care but also a way to help me be a better parent in my day-to-day interactions with my children. And, although still federally illegal and very stigmatized, I know this plant medicine is far easier on my body and better for my overall wellness than other options out there.
Cannabis gave me a way to get some reprieve from the daily stressors of being a parent, whether that be potty training, preparing food for the 10th time in one day, or ensuring my kids uphold their music practicing and homework responsibilities. No matter how big or what age your children are, stressors are present. In my extensive years of conversations with other parents, I have yet to come across one who doesn’t have their vices or coping mechanisms to help along the way.
I understand that “mommy needs her wine” and “mommy needs her coffee” are phrases that are normalized in our country. Even in legal states, “mommy needs her cannabis” would be unacceptable because of the level of stigma and persecution cannabis consumers—especially cannabis-consuming parents—still face each day. However, rather than trying to pit each of these vices up against each other, I am going to focus on how cannabis helps me and a plethora of others not only cope but actually be better parents.
Cannabis helps me be more present with my children.
When my children were younger and wanted me to play with them, I would often be out of my head thinking about bills that needed to be paid, what I had to get at the grocery store, or a pressing house project. When I consumed cannabis and returned to the same situation, I was able to focus on what my children were doing and saying, and what they were getting out of the play they were engaging in. I could foster their learning and creativity in a more present way, which is something we owe them as their primary caregivers and guardians.
Cannabis helps me stop freaking out about the small stuff.
Because wow, do we have a lot to freak out about! Whether there’s an issue at school or they’re not eating healthy foods or they won’t keep their room clean, we get upset. It is simply part of parenting. But does freaking out help? No. Usually, it makes things worse because our children feel the stress we’re projecting on them, and we’re thrown into a tizzy in which we’re no longer functioning as our best selves. My experience is that cannabis consumption helps me take a step back, take a deep breath, and keep things in perspective. I am by no means advising we ignore any of these issues. But freaking out does not need to be part of the solution. For me, consuming cannabis has been a consistent way to help keep my head straight and make rational decisions in the moment, without the unnecessary drama and chaos I might exhibit otherwise.
Whether it be painting, reading, dramatic play, sports, crafting, or anything in between, the activities your child enjoys might not be your favorite pastimes. I am great at creating superhero costumes and building forts, but I am not so great at putting together Legos or playing with action figures. But we certainly don’t want to stifle our children’s interests, so even if my child picks my least favorite activity, I am there to be his playmate and facilitator. Cannabis helps me not only tolerate and be involved with these activities but also appreciate and enjoy them. Cannabis can allow us to be more present and rational about the situations at hand, and help us actually enjoy them for what they are.
Cannabis helps me manage my mental health.
We all have strategies for managing our mental health, and responsible cannabis use is a way to do that. I have no judgment against other parents who choose different methods. But, personally, cannabis helps me be my best, most functional self and provides me with relief and understanding for the stresses related to parenting. And cannabis is just one part of my self-care and mental health support, which also includes yoga, exercise, eating healthy, and lots of hot baths.
While cannabis certainly won’t solve any of my parenting problems, it helps me cope with them. Cannabis should be an option for anyone who is seeking to expand their parenting toolkit, especially when it comes to self-care, being present, keeping things in perspective, and overall mental health management.
Leah Maurer is a mother of three, canna-journalist, and activist who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is a co-owner of The Weed Blog, a cannabis news and information publication, where she serves as the Editorial Lead. She helped found New Approach Oregon, Moms for YES on Measure 91, and the Portland Chapter of Women Grow.