If we met, you probably wouldn’t guess that I smoke pot.
I don’t look like a stoner. I look like a cute suburban mom with a minivan, two kids, a dog, and a picket fence. My husband and I have a moderately-sized home with a pool and a playground. We can both work from home. We have not left the house for more than essentials since March 13th. I circled it on the calendar one day, probably while I was stoned. I use it to count things: when we finally ordered takeout, I could say, “I has been this many days since we last had that.” Or when I look at the kids, I think, “They have not seen other children in this many months now.”
My husband and I are not only full-time workers, we’re full-time teachers, full-time entertainers, full-time everythings. So I smoke pot. I couldn’t cope otherwise. I am not made to play Big Brother, sans cameras, with my nuclear family for months on end. But I can smoke. And pot is getting me through this pandemic.
This Ain’t Your College Ditchweed
The pot I smoke comes from various strains which have been grown to create different effects. For example, I try to find strains high in CBD, which helps with anxiety. Pot, at this point, has passed “recreational drug” and moved into pharmaceutical compounding; what I get now in no way resembles the stuff I smoked back in college.
We usually have several strains around. Most of what we keep is high in anti-anxiety properties: the marijuana equivalent of a Xanax. As I’ve told my psychiatrist, who swears she’s writing us all scripts for it as soon as it becomes legal, one long-acting anti-anxiety med can take thirty minutes to stop a panic attack. A short-acting one can take fifteen minutes. Pot can stop a panic attack in no more than five.
But we also keep some that gives you a more cerebral high—in which you want to talk about life, the universe, and everything—and plenty that provide a general, relaxed mellow. This keeps me from breaking into tears when the house is a wreck, the dishes need done, the kids are screaming, and they used glitter-glue on the dog.
Pot Makes Me a Peaceful Parent
Pot makes me a better parent. Hands-down, no questions asked, I am a kinder, gentler parent when I’m high. Instead of yelling, which can be so easy when you’re trapped in a small house, I can get down on my kids’ level. I can say, patiently: “Hey. It looks like something’s bothering you. Can we talk about it?” Or, I can say, “It looks like you hit your brother. Can you tell me what happened? Now can you tell me how it made you feel? What can we do to fix this?”
On pot, I am the ultimate peaceful parent. Conflict resolution is my jam.
I don’t get angry about stupid things. Because my anxiety’s zapped, my fuse burns much more slowly. Spilled tiny jewels all over the floor in the middle of art project? No big deal. Does the dog want out again? Eh, I’ll get up and do it instead of screaming my head off for someone else, getting angry when no one listens, and fighting with people over whose turn it was. Kids leave the gate open so the puppy snarfed something? Whatever. Things are impermanent and don’t mean anything. Practice non-attachment.
Stuck in a house with five people for months on end, you need a slow fuse. You need to tolerate what was once intolerable. Pot lets me do that.
Pot Makes Me Playful
But my favorite part of pot is this: in normal life, I often lose perspective with my kids. They’re little people that must be cared for, not little people I can enjoy. Pot helps me be a fun, playful parent. I do more art projects: for example, we found a cheap wooden pop-out dino skeleton puzzles, hot-glued them together, and painted them. We glue paint canvases and glue antique buttons to them. We make attractive wall art.
But not only do I have fun breaking out the sharpies and making evil versions of various LEGO droids, I also play board games. Remember how your mom always hated to play Monopoly? Not me. I am the queen of Sharkopoly; I yell through Exploding Kittens; I will even sit for endless games of War, a card game devised by Satan himself. How do I deal with the monotony—not only of these games, but of everyday life? Pot. Everything seems new and interesting and fun, in a gentle way. That includes Parcheesi.
It Stops the Stress
Luckily, I have a freelance job that I can do while I’m high—partially because this stuff doesn’t make you stupid. I am a caring and interested interviewer with stellar interpersonal skills. I’m creative. It’s easier to get work done, especially with small people screaming in the background.
But more than anything, pot lets me live and let go. I can prioritize: months from now, will a clean house matter, or will my kids remember that I yelled at them? Does the glitter on the floor matter in the grand scheme of life? What’s important? The pot makes the answer clear-cut: my children. My children are my top priority, and I need to be the best parent I can be for them.
That means I need to be mellow during a crisis. I need to tamp down my own anxiety. I need to chill out. All these things help them to chill out, and gets them through. I’m mama. Navigating this pandemic starts with me. I set the tone. And I need to set a positive, mellow, happy tone for us.
So I smoke pot. It works. My kids don’t see, and they don’t have access to it; all they know is that their mom is peaceful and engaged.
Judge away, Karen. Tell us how you’re so much stronger and better because you can do this without pot. I don’t really care. If COVID-19 has done one thing, it’s taken every fuck I had to give (except for those related to COVID-19, i.e. we’re staying in and not coming out). If pot helps me cope, awesome. If crocheting helps you cope, crochet away. If training your dog, or standing on your head, or exercise, or eating helps you cope, do these things. We all need help. It’s no shame to admit it right now.
My help is pot. It makes me a better person. It makes me a better parent. So I smoke away.