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Thursday
Jul192012

A Cocktail of Judgment for Moms? 

Did you hear about the latest "mommy wars"? No, it isn't breast versus bottle, crib versus co-sleeping, cloth versus disposables or stay at home versus day care. The latest war, or so says the media, is wine versus marijuana. Yes, that's right, according to an article by Corey Binns, the pot smoking moms are tired of being judged by the chardonnay crowd.

Cue the shock.

Cue the whispers.

Cue the judgment.

Who cares? I've written about this before when the media was obsessed with writing about moms who were BREASTFEEDING DRUNK, while also doing something else that was completely dangerous, illegal or neglectful. But it wasn't the other thing they were doing that was the focus, it was the BREASTFEEDING DRUNK.  The reality is that you shouldn't be drunk (or high) if you are responsible for children, whether you are breastfeeding or not. But a pinot noir, a pilsner, a pina colada or a bit of pot, doesn't turn you into a bad mommy.

My colleague Jessica at Care2 wrote a post in response to the pot smoking versus wine drinking article. In her post, called What If We Just Stopped Judging Moms, she makes this point:

Admittedly I’m puzzled by many of the “gangs” this article creates. Certainly some moms like to smoke pot AND drink wine and do both responsibly, for example. And isn’t the real story here that anything taken to excess is, well, excessive and by its nature contrary to good parenting?


Indeed. But no, it is more fun to stir the pot and create wars and gangs where there really don't need to be any.

...and on that note, I'm the guest bartender today over at Cocktail Deeva, serving up a fun summer cocktail with tea as an ingredient. Curious? Go check out my recipe for a Colada Tea Cocktail on Dee's blog.


So raise a glass of Colada Tea, or a special brownie, or a sparkling juice to all of us moms and dads and to a beautiful summer. Cheers!
« Does it Matter if Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Takes Maternity Leave? | Main | This is How Our Garden Grew »

Reader Comments (21)

It is no secret i luv a fab drink ... But to be intoxicated in any way dri
Anything when you are "In Charge" of children or anyone for that matter is not OK...
Great post as usual!! Thanks for being my guest Cocktail'ista!!!

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee Brun

love this! some neighbour gals & i were just talking about stone-throwing.. we must all be careful ;o)

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia Mumby

I stumbled across Binns' article and the situation seemed so ridiculous I initially thought it was a spoof. When I saw it was on msn I realised to my horror it wasn't.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTamara in NZ

I'm so exhausted by the media-created "mommy wars." I am, however, up for a tea-infused cocktail, so I'll have to check that out.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTwo Chicks and a Hen

I think a big part of the problem - here (in the USA, I mean) - is that marijuana is illegal; it is only legal with extreme restrictions and prescription in a few of our more progressive states. So, in spite of it's less physically damaging status (as compared to cigarettes or excessive alcohol), it still resides in the same class - in illegal status AS WELL AS in many peoples' minds - as cocaine, heroin, etc (the anti-drug messages given to kids - at least when I was in school - taught that marijuana was a "gateway drug"; suggesting that it was as dangerous as the aforementioned narcotics). In addition to the stigma of causing possible arrest, it carries with it the heavy social stigma of being associated with frat parties, Dave Matthews Band followers, and lazy hippies. ;)

So, until these things change - the laws and the public mindset - a mother smoking marijuana will remain here in the US as seemingly more awe/shame-inspiring then a mother drinking alcohol. Regardless of how much more impaired she may be with the latter than the former. In light of the current social/political view on pot, this latest "Mommy War" doesn't surprise me.

Frankly, I find my country's stringent laws on marijuana, and the accompanying number of individuals in prison on marijuana charges, when compared to our lax laws and social acceptance on alcohol and accompanying number of injuries, domestic abuse, rapes, car accidents, and deaths associated with alcohol outrageous, damaging, and hypocritical. And I don't smoke pot.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

It's also illegal in my country, so that's another reason why the article struck me as a spoof. As is "woe is me, people are judging me 'cause I do illegal drugs!".

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTamara in NZ

By the way, I totally agree with your last paragraph and the exact same goes for New Zealand (except for lax laws - the laws seem pretty tough, it's the culture that's the problem).

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTamara in NZ

Yes, absolutely.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I have no judgement one way or the other about what people do that does not harm or endanger their kids, period. Also, I personally think MJ should be legal for a million different reasons, but it's not.

I recently had to write a letter to a judge and district attorney on behalf of a young mother I adore. She blew off a DUI class 11 years ago, and had a bench warrant. Now she's trying to work through an adoption of her eldest child by her husband and had to take care of her past. Things worked out in her case after a night in jail and a terrible amount of stress when facing the possibility of serious jail time and picking her kids up from school with a really big and obvious ankle bracelet.

For MJ users, the idea that their kids could be taken away, their access to programs and opportunities limited . . . makes me think it would not be worth the risk. Any woman of legal age can buy and (if she chooses) abuse alcohol but without a medical need in certain areas, whether we like it or not, MJ is still illegal and carries some risks that alcohol doesn't. I'm not saying that's good, fair, or right, but it is reality.

I just think the risk appraisal should be part of parenting all the way, both with alcohol or recreational drugs.

July 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Rose Adams

Funny I think Kelly and I started writing at the same time, then my sister called and I finished my post after Kelly already finished the thought!

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Rose Adams

i don't do either. It doesn't make me a better or worse mother than anyone else

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha

Of course, all that has been said here is true. For me this is not an issue of judgement, really pot is not a big deal... if we are looking at the facts of real-life experiences of moderate and responsible use... just like alcohol. The implications, legally, for even possessing marijuana do change the game a bit. It may be not better or worse than alcohol but the risk taken in terms of parental rights by using it are not miniscule. There are no hard and fast rules about how "protective" a parent is when using marijuana; and thus, even a very light to moderate user can have his or her parental rights challenged when caught. It is a huge risk. Many of my friends smoke pot and are fantastic parents, quite a while ago I decided that it was not a risk that was worth taking for me. I think people sometimes for get that even though it is not a good law, it is a law that change your parenting experience for a long time.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

I love me a good glass of wine, it's no lie. And honestly, my only problem with pot-smoking moms is the same problem I have with cig. smoking moms. Babies shouldn't be around that smoke! I've been in houses with babies with bronchitis & gasped for air as I walked in b/c it was so thick. That's just not right. But occasionally, to relax AWAY from your babies and children, that does not make you a bad mom any more than me drinking a glass of wine when my daughter goes to sleep makes me a bad mom!

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I agree, there is a legal risk to moderate pot use that doesn't exist with moderate alcohol use. That is a risk that parents need to take into consideration and fully understand when they make that decision. If the judgment others are making is "oh wow, that is totally irresponsible because she could have her children taken away from her", that would perhaps be reasonable judgment. However, the judgment usually seems to come from a place of judging the mother's ability to care for her child and I think that is misplaced, especially when it comes from someone who is getting a buzz from a different substance.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

absolutely - thank you for articulating the "other half" of my thought process. I was just talking to Spiffy about this post and said basically verbatim what you did to him as you were typing. :)

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Honestly, I don't even see what's wrong with being a little high and doing your childcare/household duties. There are matters of degree. It *is* possible to just be chill and not stoned out of your mind. I don't partake now because my husband has asked me not to and I respect his feelings (don't want to lose the house, lose our standing in society because of the unjust drug laws in the U.S. I get it) ...BUT, I spent most of my 20s in college AND working waking and baking and going about my day followed by evening tokes. I got good grades, have never been fired, et cetera. Millions of people are on Rx mood drugs. For people like me who run at a high idle and are a bit anxious, pot is a godsend. Now, I have to rely on yoga, valerian and kava tea to set me right. I miss the pot.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMamanonymous

WOW, many thanks for that very interesting article :o)

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLelala

Having never smoked pot (certainly had the opportunity but was not interested) I can't comment on that really. But I'll second what another commenter said--that in the US, pot is still illegal and that HAS to have some impact on how people feel. I'll also say that while regular cigarettes are legal, smoking parents get a lot of judgement for doing things like smoking while holding the baby. (Having once broken up with a guy in college because he would not stop smoking while I was in his car, with the windows shut, and used the "child lock" thingy on the windows so I couldn't put mine down, I'm not sure such judgement is a bad thing. Anyway.)

However, I'm curious how you feel about the website STFUParentsblog.com. I've been reading this blog for awhile and agree with the childless author on some points (the woman who posted a picture on FB of her husband on the toilet, for example, is horrible.) but I also feel like there's a lot of unjustified judgement going on. Thoughts?

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKayris

Judgement of smokers aside, that guy's actions sound abusive -- using the "child lock" on a girlfriend would be a big red flag for me. Good thing you got out. I know plenty of smokers who are responsible about where/how they do it.

I don't want to comment in detail on the STFUParentsblog because I hate it when people make rash judgments about my blog when they've only read a post or two, but I don't like the premise of it in general. Are there good points on it? Not sure, I haven't really read far enough to tell.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

That's the angle I look at this from -- "Seriously? Is it worth it? Do you know what kind of hell you will go through if you're caught? THEY COULD TAKE YOUR KIDS AWAY!"

For the record, I've never smoked pot. For the record, I think it should be legal. It's mind-boggling to me that it's not.

With most things, and specifically with things pot-related, consequences are largely a result of class/race/privilege. While drug USE mirrors population demographics, who is thrown in prison (and whose children are removed from their custody) varies a great deal by class/race/privilege.

I grew up in a poor household in a poor community, and the police were a presence. Rich kids could do pot and get away with it -- or get caught and get grounded. Poor kids get caught on the corner and get arrested and sentenced to court-ordered rehab with the real (adult male) drug users.

I know several (good) people who work for the state and social services and foster care, and I never want DFS anywhere even close to opening an investigation on our home.

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal_B

[...] this post from PhD in Parenting. “Cocktail of Judgement” describes the latest “Mommy War” between two groups that I didn’t realize were [...]

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSummer blog reading « Hi

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