Until You Have Kids…

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We’ve all been there: a younger, child free version of ourselves, enjoying a night out when *shudder* you suddenly see the hostess setting up a child’s seat at the table next to you. Ugh, there goes our peaceful dinner, you might have said. Or maybe Why would you bring a kid to a place like this?! Even if the child didn’t make a peep, you were horrified at the thought that this little creature could have possibly interrupted your evening. 

Fast forward to today, and suddenly you’re that table that the hostess is setting up a child’s seat for, the one that the patrons are glaring at for possibly ruining the kid free atmosphere you just walked into. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were enjoying a Saturday date night without our son at one of our favorite restaurants. The weather was nice so we sat on the patio, listening to music with a pitcher of sangria. An adorable girl about my age sat down next to us with who was probably her mother and sister, along with her precious toddler, a little boy who I soon learned is two (the same age as my little dude). He immediately didn’t want to sit still, and popped his head up at our table. His mother immediately apologized, to which my husband and I replied: “No worries, we have one too. We get it!” A wash of relief rushed over her face and we traded toddler stories back and forth. I said this to her because I do get it, and it really does make you feel better to know that not everyone in the world is out to judge you as a mother. I’d heard the phrase “Until you have kids…” a million times, but it couldn’t be more true. You don’t know until you have one, so cut us a little slack until you really know what we’re going through.

Lately I’ve seen lots of babble on social media like “Maybe parents should put the phone down and play with their kids instead of posting about them!” or “Don’t you think a mom should only talk about certain things once she has kids?” Let me ask you something: when you woke up this morning, did you decide what you’d be doing with your day? Ok, maybe you have a job, but did you simply wake up, get dressed, and begin your day? That must be so nice; I definitely remember those days. Want to know how my day starts? From the moment I open my eyes, my day is dictated by a two year old. What I’m doing, when I’m doing it: all in the hands of a two year old child. 

Adult conversation? Forget about it! An hour of reading with my coffee? Haha! Riiiight! A real shower everyday, whenever I want? Dear God, I wish! And don’t think I’m complaining, because I’m definitely not. I am well aware that there are definitely chunks of my day spent in sweats catching up on Real Housewives. But being a mom, even one whose happily married, can be SO lonely. Your interactions with your child are amazing, but they can’t chat with you about real life; about the big stuff or the stupid little things. So I’ll use that “Until you have kids…” line to tell you: if I want to take five minute breaks out of my kid friendly day to escape on my iPhone, I will. And until you have kids, you’ll probably keep judging me, but I’ll be there to reassure you that it’s ok when it’s your turn, regardless. 

What topics are off limits for moms? Oh, you gave birth, so no swearing. And no talking about drinking. Or drugs. Or anything remotely inappropriate. Tell me why people (especially younger people!) without kids get to decide what’s right and wrong for mom conversation. I understand not blasting your personal business for everyone to see (especially because there are some nasty souls out there who threaten moms with CPS calls. I’ve seen it and find it disgusting. How dare anyone just loosely throw around such a thing?!) but guess what: I’m still a cool person with a rad opinion to offer the world, and I just so happen to have a precious sidekick to do it with. Stop making moms feel like they are only defined as a parent and nothing more! Because again, until you have kids, you have no right. None. Zilch!

Things are tough enough out there. Protecting our children from all the sick things that unfortunately exist in our world these days is hard enough. Don’t make mothers feel like they have to shield their and their childrens’ lives from judgement from those who don’t even know what they go through. 

Next time you’re at a restaurant, smile at the family with the kid at the next table. You have every right to be annoyed when the kid starts wailing, but until then, just stop and think how to go to dinner that night, you got dressed and drove there, simple and easy. But I promise that that mother you see had to change two sets of clothes atleast twice, put on two sets of shoes, remember to pack a bunch of nonsense, wrestle a mini sumo wrestler into a carseat, and listened to mostly incoherent child babbling for most of that day, all to simply enjoy a meal outside of her own house and feel like a normal person for a few hours. 

Until you have kids…” don’t be so quick to think you know what it’s like to actually have one. Us moms you’re busy judging will be here to answer all those questions you’ll definitely have, and to make you feel less bad when people (like the current, judgemental  you) question every move you make.

  

Pregnancy and Pot: The Magic of Mixing Motherhood and Marijuana

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First thing’s first: There’s no denying that my love affair with marijuana began long before I’d ever even considered having a child. While my high school friends were always searching for a place to get drunk, I was the girl perfectly content with driving around on the (supposedly) haunted backroads of my hometown, puffing on some green leafy magic and feeling like that very moment was the happiest of my life and that the universe was alive with wonder just for me. Sure, I’m sure part of that was knowing I was young and alive and had no real worries in the world. But my almost instant realization that this substance that everyone treated like a terrible drug wasn’t really a drug at all but a miraculous product of nature, was instantaneous and everlasting.

Even long after the days of typical rebellious teenage behavior had run their course, I was still very much ‘proud to be a pothead’. I didn’t really know when I was young, but my love for marijuana didn’t actually begin with me. In fact, it seems to be in my blood: there’s more relatives that use cannabis in my family than there are that don’t. I didn’t exactly ever have my parents’ ‘permission’, but I know they knew what their oldest daughter was up to and were actually much happier knowing I wasn’t out drinking and driving. But it makes me think back to one particular incident when I was 17 and was pulled over and ultimately found to be in possession of a small amount of pot. Looking back, I was beyond lucky (they confiscated my stuff and called my parents) and understood why my daddy yelled at me from the front seat “WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS, SARAH? THAT 70’S SHOW?! YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS JUST OUT GETTING HIIIIIIGH?!” in his best angry tone. But no matter what the situation, I just didn’t see things that way. How is it possible that anyone could see anything wrong with getting high? Or with using a resource provided to us by nature, with zero chemicals (or destroyed livers)?! I knew my choice to use marijuana was the right one and I’d tell that to anyone who asked (which is EXACTLY what I’m still doing today!). I truly believe I found cannabis for a reason, as did so many others, and it hasn’t left my life since, and never will.
I mentioned my younger self’s brush with the law because it makes me think of what the future might be for our children. Fast forward ten years, and here I am with a husband and a child of my own, something that I wasn’t exactly sure would ever be in my future. My family teased me for years about my lack of maternal instincts (all because I hated babies on airplanes and constant annoying questions!), but learning I was pregnant really was incredible. I was a different from other typical expecting mothers from the start (that’s just how I roll!), like finding the need to make a ‘birth plan’ utterly ridiculous and reading my unborn son Hunter S. Thompson while I felt him kick and wiggle in my belly. But I did the obvious: took my prenatel vitamins, stopped all alcohol consumption (which was basically nonexistent anyway), and tried to eat and sleep better than usual. But what about smoking weed? The thought of stopping literally NEVER crossed my mind and I felt no shame in it. I know pregnant women who would never admit to using cannabis, but I was proud of my choice and I’ll tell anyone who is willing to listen. 

My pregnancy was literally the perfect example of why EVERY woman should have cannabis in their arsenal: I had no morning sickness. I actually had an appetite. I was chill and happy literally all the time. I slept like a champ and I had no postpartum depression issues afterwards, which can be so heartbreaking and scary.

Unfortunately, because the only information out there on marijuana’s affects on growth and development of a child and/or mother during pregnancy is almost never relevant or even factual. Information online ranges from old school, moral biased ‘preaching’ about fearing the reefer, to articles basically shaming any expecting mother for even thinking of using a *gasp* illegal drug (that we all should accept is classified incorrectly by now!) When my doctor asked me the normal questions about my lifestyle, I didn’t lie. Instead, I told her outright that I use marijuana on a daily basis and have for basically over 10 years. I expected a look of judgment at the very least, but to my surprise, she embraced me and said that telling me to stop outright would be much harder on my now ever changing body and that I should keep doing what makes me the most comfortable. If I had previously had any sort of doubt in my decision, it was now dead and buried. 

Fast forward nine long months and my husband and I were blessed were a perfect, healthy, beautiful baby boy, weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs 11 oz (so much for all that nonsense I read about the dangers of underweight babies with cannabis use!) with big bright eyes and dimples identical to his daddy’s. From the moment we brought him home, he blessed us with his forever happy demeanor and love to sleep, even through the night. All that shaming I read about pregnancy and weed? Nonsense. My baby was healthy, happy and would only continue to do so. He didn’t get a cold till he was almost eight months old, barely cried and would eat and sleep like a grown man, all without that gross spit up phase most babies go through. Then, before we knew it, he was a year old and walking, absorbing every word and place we went, all while always maintaining such a pleasant and sweet personality.

My only slight point of questioning myself was earlier this year while I waited for what seemed like months for my son to really talk. He said lots of single words, but would never string them together or fully express himself. And because all moms seem to love to torture themselves by comparing their child to others, I was worried that somehow something I did or was doing was contributing to his lack of speech. I read to him everyday, and tried my best to speak slowly on his level, often naming every object in a room. My family always reassured me, explaining that my husband and I talk so much that Carson didn’t really need to speak much (truth!), or that all those crazy noises he was constantly making were the verge of a ‘word explosion’. And just like they predicted, he literally woke up one morning and decided to show off all those conversations he’d be saving to have with us. And now we can’t get our friendly little chatterbox to stop talking, he’s even been known to show off his singing skills.

I felt the need to share my personal experience because the subject is still so taboo, and perhaps with more awareness will come more acceptance, which could very well lead to that big social change in perception that the marijuana legalization movement needs. I’m a firm believer that moms are the key in the ending of cannabis prohibition: now more than ever, moms are taking matters of their childrens’ health into their own hands and witnessing incredible results with the use of medicinal cannabis. It’s use to battle some seriously traumatic health issues experienced by truly suffering children is amazing and has been known to literally reverse the effects of multiple diseases and injury, improving quality of life and sometimes curing them all together. More mothers need to support these amazing results and push to move away from the chemicals pushed on us and our families by Big Pharma. Recognize that this beautiful gift of nature is about so much more than getting high, and stop making families live in fear because they are doing whatever possible to help their children, even if that way is not yet legal nationwide. And if you’re like me, a mother and wife who discovered long ago that marijuana was just meant for me; don’t be ashamed that while other mothers drink a glass of wine or three to wind down, you simply smoke a bowl. After all, I dare anyone to say they’re more ‘in the moment’ with their kids than I am, and I dare them to claim that alcohol is safer than marijuana in any instance, kids or no kids. My amazing bond with Carson is the only reassurance I need that I’m doing NOTHING wrong.  

 

Happy mom, happy kid: from conception, to toddler, to teenager and all the years in between. Do your thing, marijuana loving mom! You’re doing it right, I promise!