I joke around a lot about writing some sort of Stoner Mom Handbook, not only because it’s time we end the stigma attached to cannabis use by loving, real life mothers, but because we stoner moms really do exist and sharing our experiences with eachother is BEYOND important. But I think it’s really so much more than that: we tend to take an open minded, judgement free, ‘see what works best’ approach to parenting, which is a voice I truly believe could benefit the mom community as a whole. I’d NEVER claim to be an expert, nor would I offer advice claiming that I am. But I’ve seen the positive impact that real, honest words from real, honest moms can have on all of us. Why not share in our successes and our failures? We’ve all been there.
Moms learn something new everyday. It’s true. Whether from parenting articles, fellow parents, or your children themselves, you’re constantly finding new ways to make your family’s life easier. Or let’s face it, harder, depending on the day.
In my three years in the company of my tenacious toddler, I determined early on that I would find what works for us and roll with it. Whether it’s considered normal or not; I refuse to let others’ opinions sway my motherly instincts. So here’s a few random things that I’ve learned so far on this crazy ride. If nothing else, I hope it helps any mom realize we’re all doing the damn thing and we all know what you’re going through, sister!
1. Kids can be your biggest stress, but also your biggest comfort.
I’ve always been a night owl, so strict bedtimes are almost nonexistent around our house. Yes, a time will come that obligations will require a normal bedtime and wake up routine, but for these sweet younger years, I’ll gladly take an extra hour of cuddles than an hour of fighting with a small bear cub about going to bed. And if that means I get an extra hour or two of sleep in the morning, that’s just freaking wonderful! But even if my little man goes to sleep peacefully, I’m always left mind wandering and over thinking. Luckily, I’ve discovered a restful technique that is heavenly: if I’m having trouble getting sleepy, a few minutes of matching my breathing to my sweet, sleeping prince relaxes me instantly. Just try it; I swear!
2. Sleep is everything, regardless of who’s bed it happens in.
Stop beating yourself up and bring the kid into your damn bed already! I know I’m in the minority that praises cosleeping but HELLO?! I love sleep and I love my kid. So from the day we brought our son home, I held him all night. Yes, it’s a bad habit. Yes, it will be harder for him to have a real sleep routine. But you know what? My little boy won’t be little for long, and I’ll soak up every sweet moment of him snuggled up against me sweetly dreaming. And I’ll relish in every awesome morning where the first thing I see is his sweet face staring at me bright eyed and happy and ready o start our day. And before you start your hating, he WILL sleep on his own. I just prefer him in bed with us, and quite frankly, I don’t care what everyone says about it.
3. Just let them watch the tv.
Your kid watching a few cartoons isn’t going to rot their brains. You’re not a bad parent for letting them watch Disney Junior while you get ready because that puzzle holds his interest for literally a quarter of the time a cartoon would. Think about you as a kid: you watched plenty of tv, right? I know I did, and I turned out fine. I love to read and learn and my brain didn’t turn to mush. Just let Mickey distract them and enjoy that cup of coffee and 20 minutes of rare peace. Enough with the guilt trips! Give yourself a break. You deserve it, lady!
4. Little boys will be little boys.
I’m sorry to my fellow moms that have girls, but bare with me for a moment. I am forever worried about the bumps and bruises on my son’s shins, and it’s always because I’m afraid of judgment from other people. But sometimes you need to be reminded that BOYS WILL BE BOYS! They’re brave and impulsive and will constantly climb, jump, fall, push and force themselves in silly situations that may or may not hurt them. Give yourself a break and keep band aids on hand.
5. Don’t force yourself to like kiddie things if you don’t.
I can’t handle most kid songs. Nursery rhymes, classic sing alongs, variations on the alphabet, whatever: it’s not my bag. More than that, it’s like torture. The solution? Not up in here! Sorry, son. There’s no ‘Wheels on the Bus’ playing in mommy’s car. I might listen to an edited version of a rap song depending on who’s around (emphasis on might), but otherwise, I’m jamming to MY tastes. If you really believe that my child will grow up to become a criminal because he heard some trap music or hippie lyrics in his younger years, you need to get out more.
6. Don’t let your environment pressure your parenting.
This isn’t a problem I personally face yet, but I can tell it’s coming in the years to come. This topic is obviously broad; it could refer to any number of things. Personally, I foresee our issue being about the lack of stress we put on religion in our household. I was raised Catholic when I was very young, but my parents were never super religious and never pressured me when it came to church. My husband was raised Baptist (the norm around here), but has always felt as I do that church or the Bible doesn’t necessarily determine spirituality. We both follow the “Do good, feel good. Do bad, feel bad” mentality and are very open to all the mystery in the universe when speaking of a higher power or whatever happens after life. (Don’t even get me started on my ‘our souls are really stars’ theory!) But our friends, our community, and basically our entire state are almost solely Bible bumping, holy rolling, Jesus’s way or the highway Christian warriors, and it honestly terrifies me. Will my kid be ostracized because his parents don’t force him into Sunday School and insist he devotes his life to the Lord? Will he be forced to learn from a school curriculum that was built with Christianity in mind? Will he suddenly meet a girl whose parents might not like him because he’s not necessarily their idea of a “good Christian man”? And on another note, don’t even get me started on the anti-cannibis propaganda. Please let that not even be an issue when that day comes.
7. Every kid is different and every kid will “get there”…eventually.
I’m about to reveal, for the first time, the absolutely embarrassing parenting issue I’m currently experiencing: potty training. Our son is three, well into the age bracket of kids that should be fully toilet trained by now. But it’s just not happening, and it’s frustrating as hell. I’ve tried the tricks and tips and nothing is working. Seriously, my kid just has zero interest in using the toilet. So day after day, I question every move I make and everything I do, wondering what’s wrong and if I’m failing as a parent in every way. But I need to take my own advice and relax: he’ll get there. One of these marathon sit-on-the-toilet-for-nothing sessions will pay off and I’ll have a ready for society child. But every mom needs to hear, “It’s ok. They’ll figure it all out.” because we’re not failures, no matter how much we’ve convinced ourselves otherwise.
8. Just chill, man.
Things not going right? Demon child suddenly replaced your little angel? Picky eating making you silently scream multiple times a day? Wearing the same pajamas you’ve worn for five days? Take a deep breath, and just chill. I’ve lived most of my life in a “just chill” state of mind: I hate confrontation, I don’t like my happiness to waver because I’m stressed, and I don’t like my anxiety to have any power; therefore, staying chill makes my world feel right. So even when my son is making me want to hide in the closet and hope a black hole swallows me up, I remind myself to “just chill“, because this too shall pass.
9. Pay no mind to those haters who judge when they themselves have no kids. Karma is sweet and they’ll see. Oh, they’ll see alright…
Remember that father who posted a picture of him and his daughter enjoying a bath a few months ago and basically got torn apart by the internet? While I do agree that he probably shouldn’t have posted that type of picture in such a public forum, and that sickos are very real, I definitely felt for the dude. Newsflash, childless humans: it’s not weird to grab a quick shower with your kid. Quite frankly, if I didn’t bring my son in the shower with me, I’d never be clean. Seriously. It’s not like you can leave a toddler to their own devices while you take twenty minutes of steamy heaven. My little man loses himself in his toys and occasionally sings me the SpongeBob theme song, just in case you were thinking something more scandalous. It’s a young CHILD, fools! They’re not ogling your goodies in any inappropriate way. You’re getting clean, they’re getting clean, they’re entertained for a semi extended period of time, and your hair finally gets washed! (because lets face it, it might have been awhile…) Clearly you don’t plan on bathing with your offspring when they’re old enough to let you have your own shower without the possibility of them harming themselves, so pay no attention to those “ew, that’s weird!” naysayers. Just let them experience a week or two of that motherhood curse of the missed shower opportunity.
Same goes to showing affection to your kids. Reading articles about why some parents choose not to kiss their children or be overly affectionate to them is absolutely INFURIATING to me. Could a child be TOO loved? Could they be TOO aware that their mother loves them? Could they somehow be hindered by a parent’s warm embrace? (Just typing this made me angry, fyi!) I have three words for you cold hearted souls: CUT THE BULLSHIT. My son gets all the kisses he wants, all the hugs he can handle, and every cuddle, with our hands held tight and boo boos made better by a ‘momma kiss’. There will be a few years in the not so distant future that that little being begging for your love right now will suddenly want nothing to do with you, let alone let you show them ANY kind of affection whatsoever. We’ll probably be lucky enough to get a wave goodbye, to be honest. Also, think about this: if a child thinks that they’re not even worthy of being shown affection by their own parents, don’t you think they’ll search for it elsewhere? Or maybe even be left with a kind of twisted view of basic human intimacy? And further down the line, be unsure how to show love to the people in their life, like their own children, thus repeating a vicious cycle? It’s heartbreaking to me. This is 2016, folks. There’s no need to raise children to ‘be seen and not heard’ or to ‘keep a stiff upper lip’. I kissed my parents and told them I loved them every night before bed growing up. I’m a full blown adult and I still give my mom a huge bear hug every single time I see her. I tell my dad I love him randomly whenever I feel like it, because my parents are not only awesome, but raised us to know we were loved and cherished. By denying a child’s basic human need for affection, you’re not raising a ‘tough guy’, you’re just being a monster. Who could seriously find something wrong with loving on that sweet nugget you made?!
10. Appreciate that side of you that didn’t exist before your child.
We all have days as moms that we’re flooded with ‘what if?’ moments. What if I hadn’t had a kid? What would I be doing with my life? I am 100% guilty of this; and I’ve been known to get downright sad for a minute or two, thinking of all my plans I had for myself, all the free times full of laughter with long gone friends, and being known as ‘just a mom’ instead of that published novelist I just knew I’d become in no time. But all it takes to snap me out of it is one silly thing said by my son, hearing him say “Aw, Momma so cute” while stroking my cheek, or singing a killer duet with him while dancing barefoot in the kitchen. To my son, I’m the funniest person on the planet. I’m the heart that makes the world he sees everyday somehow keep going. I’m the coolest person that ever existed. And in his eyes, I’m fantastic at everything from cooking to cutting tiny fingernails (I’m not good at either, by the way), because he’s just delighted at every little thing I do. I may have had fun in those years before motherhood, but never has my life literally felt like one big inside joke that never gets old. And I might still be that published author one day, and the dedication on my first printed page will be for the tiny soul that has really made me someone I am happy and proud to be. Lots of questions were answered for me when I became a mom, like why I get so excited about the littlest things (so that my child knows to always find joy in whatever greets him day in and day out), and why I always knew having a boy was the only plan for me (whether its my appreciation for football and motocross, my disgust with pink and frilly nonsense, my inability to be prim and proper, or my flare for little boy style, I was truly made to raise a cool little dude). And I’m also far more patient than ever before. I’m way more aware of money and what it’s spent on. I know how powerful a good night’s sleep really is. And I know that being a stay at home mom (who happens to smoke pot, because it’s not like I’m TOTALLY lame these days 😉) with a hard working husband and a gorgeous child is a really great life that I’m pretty damn grateful for. So I thank you, son, for showing me who I was always meant to be.
So maybe none of these are traditional ‘important’ parenting tips, but the little lessons we learn daily sometimes give us the most peace in the longrun. No mother is perfect, but together, we might just all come out alive, with precious beings by our side. And remember, life is so full when you’re loved by a little soul 💚