I know from five years of experience that playing with young kids can be difficult. They make up unreasonable rules and then suddenly lose interest and try to eat a puzzle piece. So it’s no surprise that parents are self-medicating, and with marijuana becoming increasingly decriminalized, it seems a growing number of moms and dads are proudly admitting that, for them, familial bliss is smoldering at the end of a joint.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive, or even allergic to it, but I’ve had enough uncomfortably psychedelic experiences with this century’s super pot to be terrified of it. The last time I sampled some, called Sour Monkey, I made it through five minutes of the movie Looper before confusion and panic set in, causing me to change course and feverishly organize my father’s ethernet cords. I can’t fathom caring for a kid when I’m so helplessly distracted by taking my own pulse.
I guess that’s my loss. After returning from work, today’s green parent simply runs down to the boiler room, takes a few tokes, and returns ready and willing to cover Thomas the train in scarves and cheese dust.
In his New York Times op-ed, “Pot for Parents,” Mark Wolfe describes how medicinal marijuana helps him engage at a deeper—far out, man!—level with his kids:
“Here is what a typical weekday evening exchange between me and my oldest daughter once looked like:
Child: Daddy, can you show me how to make a Q?
Father: (sipping bourbon and soda, not looking up from iPad) Just make a circle and put a little squiggle at the bottom.
Child: No, show me!
Father: Sweetie, not now, O.K.? Daddy’s tired.
It’s different now:
Child: Daddy, can you show me how to make a Q?
Father: (getting down on the floor) Here, I’ll hold your hand while you hold the pen and we’ll make one together. There! We made a Q! Isn’t it fantastic?
Child: Thanks, Daddy!
Father: Don’t you just love the shape of this pen?“
Sounds good to me, though if all his kid wants is some help making a Q, he’s got it way easier than I do.
Similarly, in an essay on Jezebel titled “I’m a Mom and I’m Stoned Right Now,” an anonymous mom admits,
“In the middle of playing some totally vacant, rule-less game that involved pretending to chew stuff, making growling noises, and giggling, I realized that she's like the funniest fucking person I've ever met. Anybody who thinks that weed makes parents ignore their children has clearly never been high around one.”
Again, this sounds amazing, and I’m jealous of this mom’s ability to have fun after smoking weed instead of panicking over the state of her father’s media room. I don’t live with my dad; he just always seems to have pot whenever I visit, and, well, it just occurred to me that maybe he started smoking it when I was a toddler.
But I wonder what happens when Mr. Wolfe and Anonymous Mom are high and a Lego piece goes missing? Do they wander around aimlessly while their child stands in place screaming, or do they construct a new and way way way way way better one out of Play-Doh and fire it in a plastic oven like hobo pottery?
What happens when one of their kids asks for a sandwich and they hand him two oven mitts smeared with mayonnaise? Wouldn’t it be better if they were just drunk and told their kids to eat the cold Hawaiian pizza mommy ordered from Domino’s last night because she was crazy baked? Again, maybe I’m allergic to marijuana.
You know what could make us all really amazing parents for 20 minutes? Crack. If we all started smoking crack cocaine at 6 p.m., just imagine how much fun we’d have playing tag or regrouting the shower. Sure, it’s possible that we might end up selling our kids for more crack, and that would be bad, but that’s the crack dealer’s fault for accepting kids as payment for crack.
How about LSD? Mushrooms? We could find Waldo anywhere while tripping—like beneath a fingernail or inside our eyelid. Consider the amazing games we would invent with our children while under the influence of a powerful psychedelic. Games like, “Why does daddy have shoes on his hands?” “Pet the plants,” or “Hide mommy’s passport.”
The potential problem here is consistency. Kids thrive on it, and that’s why they watch the same episode of Dora over and over again: they like knowing what’s going to happen. As a dad, I can’t be “Make your own damn Q” one night and then “Oh, look at how the felt marker moooooves and swooooshes when you make a circle” the next. If you want to be high around your children, you’re going to have to be high around them all the time. Maybe that’s good news; I really don’t know. What I am certain of is that your kids totally know you’re stoned. And, well, that’s probably OK.