“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
~ Carl Sagan
The rise of so-called marijuana mommies, a new trend both in parenting and on social media, may very well be changing the face of parenthood today. In the last several years, the social acceptability of marijuana use has been on the rise. Just this past year, four states legalized the recreational use of marijuana. This raised the total number of states with more relaxed marijuana laws to eight, plus Washington D.C. With this kind of momentum, many experts (and critics alike) agree that it is only a matter of time before marijuana is legalized for recreational use across the United States.
Whether or not you agree with the quote from Carl Sagan above, there is one specific development that brings the issue of marijuana legalization and social acceptability directly into the home and family life: the rise of the so-called stoner mom.
Where it All Started: The Stoner Mom
If the idea of the stoner mom had an origin story, it would begin with Kathryn VanEaton, the founder of the YouTube channel and blog known as Stoner Mom. VanEaton describes herself as “a thirty-something, yoga-pants-wearing mom to four. You can find me in the suburbs of Colorado, usually in a Target or at the elementary school, doing regular mom things.” Her Instagram account reflects this self-description, with the description of “legal cannabis user, activist, and mom” – listed in that order. According to stoner mom proponents, the idea behind this kind of social media presence is to reduce the stigma associated with marijuana use, particularly for parents who want to smoke pot casually.
“Kathryn VanEaton is a stay-at-home mom of two, and a step-mom to two more. She picks up her kids from school every day, she makes dinner every night and the family sits down at the table to eat together. Kathryn VanEaton is also a user of cannabis. VanEaton had already been blogging for 12 years before the start of Stoner Mom in 2014. At that point, she thought, she was in a unique position to blog about being a mom, as well as a blog about being a legal user of marijuana.”
~ Kyle Clark, writing for KUSA News
Both the Stoner Mom blog and YouTube channel are filled with how-to videos covering the basics of marijuana use, as well as guidelines and suggestions for parents who smoke marijuana. The titles range from “Why use pot?” to “Productive Stoner Schedules: A day in the Life”. The blogger and YouTuber also host “Stoner Sesh” videos, giving other stoner moms and marijuana mommies the chance to have a conversation with the community while stoned. Are you intrigued yet? We certainly are.
It is also worth noting that the founder of Stoner Mom goes out of her way to make it clear that marijuana abuse is unacceptable. In one blog post, she writes, “You cannot abuse marijuana and expect the law or society to consider you a responsible parent.” As an alternative, the YouTuber and blogger outline what she calls “Eight Easy Ways to Be a Responsible Stoner Parent.” These include apparently common-sense tips, including:
- Children come first
- Keep your home clean
- Avoid using in front of kids
- One parent at a time
- Don’t drive when high
- Keep your stash inaccessible to children
- Respect and keep good relations with your neighbors
- Keep your standards high
Maybe the most interesting part of the Stoner Mom blog is in her discussion of why it is important to avoid smoking marijuana in front of children:
“Kids mimic. Kids become you. You become your parents. If you drink in front of your kids they will likely drink. If you smoke in front of your kids they will likely smoke. If you use marijuana around your kids they will likely use marijuana. When they are amazing, accomplished, wise and joyful adults that we know they will become, they will be free to make their own choices. As parents, we take special care of them now, when they are young and vulnerable to influence. As such I advocate limiting marijuana use around children to pretty much zero. When you are parent every stupid choice has far extended consequences. Never put getting high in front of any child’s needs.”
Surprisingly enough, this entry from the Stoner Mom blog reflects research that has shown the profound effect of substance use and abuse on family life. Substance use can quickly turn into substance abuse, and there is no denying the fact that substance abuse and addiction cause disruption in families and home life. Whether or not substance use, including smoking marijuana, has a negative impact on your family is more of a personal rather than a professional question.
The Building of a Community: Marijuana Mommies and Parenthood
While the Stoner Mom blog and YouTube channel may be the most well known in the sphere of marijuana moms, it is not the only representation of how marijuana and parenthood interact – for better or for worse. Facebook is home to millions of different groups, but certainly one of the most unique groups has arisen in conjunction with the rise of marijuana mommies. Called “CannaMoms Uncensored”, one Facebook group describes itself as “a group for all mommies to come together to talk, chat and post all green related topics.” As one would expect, the group is filled with self-identified marijuana mommies asking questions and relaying their latest marijuana-related exploits. All of this is in the context of parenting, of course.
Despite Stoner Mom’s caution against letting marijuana use affect parenting, perusing the #StonerMom hashtag on Twitter results in a wide range of posts. Most originate from the Stoner Mom herself, though others reflect marijuana use that is unlikely to be sanctioned by the original blogger. For instance, one “stoned mom” wrote that she was “currently hiding” from her baby and her husband “in the wardrobe with a bud and a bong.” This kind of attitude has led to a backlash against the rise of the marijuana mommy.
Recent coverage from ABC News presents this alternative approach, with the reporter stating, “It’s not against the law to get high. But that does not mean taking a toke is socially acceptable. In fact, some are adamant that pot and parenthood simply do not mix. The risk comes with higher stakes than just being judged on the playground. Some have seen backlash from neighbors reporting marijuana use. This inferred risk might not necessarily include investigation by Child Protective Services. As the ABC News segment reports, according to CPS, “The use of marijuana by a parent is treated no differently… than any other similar substances, for example alcohol or prescription drugs.”
According to Dr. Margaret Haney at Columbia University, if you are a parent who uses marijuana at the very least “you want to think through what your kids are witnessing and how your behavior might be changing after you smoke.” In other words, those looking to both use marijuana and parent should ensure that their drug use does not affect their parenting in any way. Since every person responds to marijuana differently, this can be more difficult than one would think. Finally, despite all of the recent legal and social changes to the acceptability of marijuana, it is worth noting that recreational marijuana use is still illegal in nearly every state.
The rise of the stoner mom, as well as the prevalent representation of marijuana on social media, is certainly one of the most interesting developments that we have written about here at Northpoint Recovery. While we do not necessarily condone the use of marijuana, the rise of this new form YouTube tutorials and coverage creates an interesting opportunity for discussion about what casual and recreational marijuana use looks like today. Since marijuana is not only being legalized around the country, but also becoming increasingly socially acceptable, where does that leave marijuana in terms of drug use as a whole? We not have the answer to this question, but we are ready and willing to engage in its discussion.
If you have a perspective to share about the rise of the ‘stoner mom’, feel free to join in the discussion with our comment section below. Of course, some people truly do struggle with the abuse of and addiction to marijuana. If you think you may be addicted or abusing marijuana, you should stop using the drug immediately. You can also take our drug addiction quiz to help you determine if you are addicted or just a casual user. If you have questions about what constitutes drug abuse or addiction, do not hesitate to contact us today. Whether or not this new fad of marijuana mommies is changing the face of parenthood, we are here to help those who think they may be struggling with substance abuse or addiction.
Kate Briquelet. (2017, April). The Rise of Stoner Mommies. Retrieved from: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/20/the-rise-of-the-stoner-mommies.html
The Stoner Mom. (2014, September). Eight Easy Ways to Be a Responsible Stoner Parent. Retrieved from: http://thestonermom.com/responsible-stoner-parent/
ABC News. (2015, April). Pot-smoking Moms Unapologetic About Getting High. Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/pot-smoking-moms-unapologetic-high-25718519
KUSA News. (2017, April). The Stoner Mom: Colorado Woman Wants to End Shame For Moms Who Use Marijuana. Retrieved from: http://www.9news.com/news/local/next/the-stoner-mom-colorado-woman-wants-to-end-shame-for-moms-who-use-marijuana/430238617