Somewhere in YouTube land, Kathryn VanEaton is getting baked and holding a purple bong with a Hello Kitty bowl, and it’s packed with Colorado snow.
“What’s up, everyone,” chirps the 34-year-old mother of four, after the show’s sleek titles dissolve in what feels more like a makeup tutorial. But this is a different kind of how-to video, and VanEaton is a new strain of mommy blogger.
“I am the Stoner Mom, and this is the Stoner Mom show,” VanEaton greets her viewers. “For today’s show, we are just going to do a solo stoner session together. Me and you. Because that’s all I have planned.”
The stay-at-home mom notes that not all things Mary Jane are PG. “If for any reason you have a Hello Kitty bowl laying around and you have daughters, there will be a ‘What’s that?’” she advises.
In this particular video, VanEaton tackles using cannabis to deal with depression. But first, another bowl. “I know you guys are blazing up with me,” she says, before blowing smoke into the camera.
In the crowded world of mommy blogging and weed culture, VanEaton might be the queen of stoner momtrepreneurs.
She and her husband, David, also produce the podcast Mom and Dad Are Stoned from their Denver-area home, where they grow medicinal ganja behind locked doors in the basement. The episodes are replete with bubbly bong hits and blazed musings on their high-achieving elementary-school kids.
Part of VanEaton’s playbook is to fight the stigma against parents smoking pot, sometimes through blog posts like “10 Tips to Avoid Looking Like a Total Stoner” and “Eight Easy Ways to Be a Responsible Stoner Parent.”
“I am a thirtysomething, 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,” VanEaton writes on her website.
“But in addition to my role as mother and wife, I am also an enthusiastic medical + recreational marijuana advocate. In plainer terms, I smoke a lot of pot,” she continues.
Or, as she states on her YouTube channel, “I’m a mom, I do normal mom things—but I do them stoned.”
Some moms have taken to Instagram to proclaim their #stonermom cred, while others join private Facebook groups such as CannaMoms Uncensored. Yet they do so anonymously in many cases—especially in states where marijuana is illegal—afraid that Child Protective Services will knock at their door.
VanEaton decided to go public as The Stoner Mom in a local TV segment last week.
“I would get high with my girlfriend on girls’ night in, and we would just talk about how funny it was that we were secretly smoking pot,” she told News 9.
“People didn’t really know that the mom at the grocery store with the enormous grocery bill is also a pothead.”
Her interview predictably sparked a debate on social media. One Texas mother fumed: “Because it’s perfectly OK to take care of kids while you’re stoned out of your mind…. yea there’s not much expectations anymore is there? As long as you cooked dinner and didn’t forget to pick your kid up from school.”
Another mom chimed in, “Smoking marijuana doesn’t make you a bad parent. And for the record she never said she was high all day long. Holy crap, the amount of judgmental people here is through the roof. Get a life.”
VanEaton started blogging in 2003, first covering her relationship with her now ex-husband, and later published a photography blog.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, she said, “I didn’t want to work. I’ve always kind of been a not-wanting-to-work-for-the-man type of person.”
The mama-juana did a stint as a shutterbug before easing into the role of suburban stoner housewife. “There’s isolation that comes with parenting in general. When you add cannabis on top of that, now you’re mega-isolated,” she said.
It was in 2013, at the height of her divorce proceedings, that she started smoking habitually. That year, she got a state “red card,” and has been using medical bud to treat her depression and anxiety, along with prescription drugs, ever since.
VanEaton’s bong-centric blog—launched one year later, and two years after Amendment 64 legalized weed in Colorado—made a splash by offering tutorials and “live stoner sessions” where the mom vapes with people on Google Hangouts.
She also creates “Stoner Sesh” videos, or footage in which potheads record themselves lighting up and having conversations.
“I had no idea this was going to be a thing. But people are lonely when they smoke pot,” VanEaton told The Daily Beast.
“They actually use those sessions to have a buddy to smoke pot with,” she said. “If you’re a mom or a woman and don’t want to watch some dude or somebody a decade or two decades younger, you can smoke pot with the Stoner Mom.”
One August 2016 video shows VanEaton ripping a purple bong, then segueing into a show-and-tell of school supplies. She flashes construction paper, markers, and other items one by one, then raises the pipe again. “No, that’s not on the list,” she says before taking a hit and exhaling. “Oh, that was a good hit though. Very, very nice.”
On camera, she takes her reefer with the ease of someone sipping cups of tea. At one point in the video, her hubby gets home, drifts past the camera and announces, “I got some carrots for us to juice.”
Her other day-in-the-life videos reveal the prosaic schedule of a stay-at-home mom—peppered with smoke breaks.
VanEaton narrates her summer routine for a June 2016 video, where she’s seen brushing her teeth, drinking her morning coffee, and later taking a bong rip out her back door. Then she makes her kids breakfast before doing her makeup upstairs.
“And of course I cannot do my makeup without having a little tiny sesh, and that is possible because today I am using my Sploofy in my bedroom,” she says, referring to a hand-held smoke filter into which she exhales.
After she’s ready for the day, and a quick check to make sure her children play in another room, VanEaton heads outside and says it’s a safe time for a “quick session.”
“And now here I am guilt-free, enjoying my first official wake and bake, where I actually sit for a good eight or 10 minutes and get concentratedly medicated,” VanEaton narrates.
“I feel no guilt, as I said. I know that this time outside in the morning helps me be a better mom for the rest of the day.”
Indeed, VanEaton told The Daily Beast that cannabis could be the secret to better parenthood.
“There’s a lot of people with untreated mental illness or mental illness that they’re treating not correctly. Kids really benefit from having balanced and present and joyful parents,” she said. “And since I introduced cannabis into my self-care routine, my kids have never seen a [depressive] episode.”
VanEaton said she’s had depression her entire adult life, and it sometimes left her in bed and unable to speak. “The only medication that has 100 percent eradicated these depressive episodes has been cannabis,” she said. “It’s been a complete life-saver for me.”
Her two kids and two stepchildren, ranging from 7 to 10 years old, know that The Stoner Mom’s online show is for just for grownups, she said.
“The kids know that I’m also doing this for a living. Companies will send me vaporizers, that kind of stuff…. The only thing I have on lockdown is the cannabis itself. I keep all my bongs in a cabinet they don’t have access to,” she said.
The Stoner Mom claims she maintains a strict code to never smoke around her children and does not advocate doing so on her website. She would only consider using cannabis around kids if she had extreme pain from a serious medical condition, she said.
“I know moms who have their bongs out on the counter. They hit it all day,” VanEaton said. “For me, it’s that case-by-case thing. What are you using cannabis for? Are you using it to deal with motherhood and is that OK?”
“There’s a right way to parent, and it has nothing to do with smoking pot,” she added. “It has everything to do with loving your children. That’s the bottom line.”