Parenting on Pot Resources

This article from Today’s Parent that came across my Facebook feed is worth the read. 

Parents Who Smoke Pot
Resources such as The Stoner Mom make me feel normal, but I am still a mostly closeted cannabis user. 

Cannabis has affected my parenting positively in multiple ways, most especially in how it effects my attitude about life.  I’d like to be more open about it, but in light of my employment and the stigma, I mostly choose discretion.  I also can’t imagine having an honest conversation with my mother about it. But that silence is a little suffocating sometimes, so it is no Che to have these online resources that normalize cannabis. 

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Loose ends, tying them up

Sometimes follow ups get neglected.  Life moves on and I forget to mention that my mother’s cancer scans are coming back clear.  I write this blog mainly for myself, with the idea that years from now my grown daughters might read it and get some insight into their mother and their childhood, though I’m sure by then blogs will be an archaic form of communication.  In case anyone else is reading though, I suppose I should tie up a few lose ends:

My mother’s breast cancer surgery was successful. She had Stage 1, she went through radiation, did not require chemo, and is doing fine.

My husband still has his $100 per month part-time gig for work and not anything else.  He did bid a job recently for $5000, but he did not get a call back.  He’s continues to do small projects without pay “to network,” “to get his name out there.”  Usually his dad is involved in these, and it frustrates me quite a lot that he is not being compensated.  But, at least he still has the $100 gig.

I got a raise at the new year.  A dollar an hour. Working half-time that’s $80 a month. I’ve been at my job 10 years.  There’s a lot I don’t like about it.  I don’t like working for Republicans.  I feel like I am worth more money.  I’m frustrated by the gossipy girl at the front desk and the lack of managerial structure, but I like the schedule and flexibility, so I’m not looking for other work.  Maybe in a year and a half when our youngest is in kindergarten…

I feel at once thankful that things are holding together–is that God’s Provision?–and simultaneously on edge, wondering when the ball will drop:  We both have been told we need expensive dental work that is not covered by insurance. Our cars are 20 years old and I’d really like a car that fits us all comfortably.  Our dishwasher broke, our faucets in this 70-year-old house drip, there’s dry-rot in the south-facing wall, the house could use a fresh coat of paint and shouldn’t we be setting aside money for a new roof sometime in the next decade?

My maternal grandfather is still alive, blind, living in a local assisted living facility.  I am still sure I don’t make an effort to see him often enough.  My paternal grandmother also lives in a local assisted living facility.  She moved from “independent” to “assisted” six months ago, due to her own blindness, and it’s been difficult for her to make friends at the new place.  On the most recent school holiday, I brought her to my house for lunch and a visit with my girls.  I’m pretty sure it was the highlight of my her week. (Relatedly, my eye doctor says I am too young to worry about blindness myself.  My eye glasses prescription was updated recently.)

 

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The neighbors who I wrote about previously, the three young college students who didn’t have a great sense of appropriate volume while in a family neighborhood have moved out.

Something utterly crazy and possibly wonderful and most certainly God-ordained happened.  A friend of mine from church and her family just moved in.  She’s more of a friend of a friend.  We go to the same mom’s group and have a mutual friend who we are both quite close to.  I think she’s really genuine and fun and interesting.  She’s a good communicator with incredibly helpful insight.  I’ve heard her say brilliant things about sex and marriage and parenting. Our politics are similar.  She’s a teacher and she has a two year old.  She and her husband both have good jobs.  Her husband has a background in marriage and family therapy.

Wait, what?  A marriage and family therapist, who is also our friend, who lives next door?  Egads!  Our marriage is not really “healthy” enough for that.  We better either quiet down our arguments or it’s gonna feel kind of awkward.  Is that an okay thought to have?IMG_6588

 

That’s a pretty normal, rational idea, I suppose.  Another anxious thought I’ve had seems less rational: If our house catches on fire, or one of us has a heart attack, they will be the first of our “loved ones” to know. That might be anxious, but it’s kind of true, right?

A few weeks before they moved in I noticed that I was getting a bit anxious about them being our neighbors.  I’m excited of course, and I had been excited about having friends as neighbors (how retro!), about having “couple” friends who are also Christians, but my initial response to most things is some rendition of nervousness, so it stands to reason that I would feel a little anxious.  Over the last couple weeks I’ve become aware of things.  I tell myself it’s okay.  They are super-reasonable people.  We’ll both be understanding if we happen to see or hear something embarrassing. I’ve warned her that I yell at my kids.  She’s admitted that I will hear her yell at their dog.

Honestly though, I’m a nervous about them catching me smoking pot, because while I’ve told some friends about it, I don’t flaunt my cannabis use to my friends and colleauges.  Neighbors tend to pick up on who in the neighborhood smokes, though. There’s a smell involved afterall. And lots of people don’t like the smell.  And lots of people, religion and politics aside, have some negative ideas about pot-smokers. So I am nervous about how that subject is going to be addressed (or awkwardly ignored).

They moved in a week ago and we did the friendly neighbor thing and had them over for dinner the night they arrived.  It went well.  They were fashionably late, which was perfect because my husband was having some trouble with the barbeque.  Their son had a meltdown, because moving day is understandably rough for two year olds; and our daughter had a meltdown because she was tired and her “pee pee” hurt.  Par for the course with that age group, I suppose.

In the midst of that, we had a good visit, lots of laughs, minimal neighborhood gossip, and we asked agreed on very basic ground rules:  We all prefer calling or texting before knocking on the door.  We are not obligated to greet each other every time we see each other and we won’t be offended by this.  If we see anyone naked, we will look away.

This is honestly really exciting and fun, and, though I try not to use the word, because I think it is used inappropriately so often in our culture, this is a blessing.

Chili-Mac

I made Chili Mac for dinner tonight.

I’m pretty sure my husband could tell that I was high.

Our evening routine changed recently when our middle daughter started karate, which meets Monday and Wednesday evenings.  I get home at 5:15 and everyone else gets home around 6:00.  As the mom (obviously) I am expected to cook dinner.  But as a tired, hungry (hangry) working mom, sometimes the very idea of cooking dinner exhausts me.  I dilly-dally in the garden, snack on carbs, and waste time trying to dredge up the motivation to cook. Then I get cranky, because our routine is pushed back and it’s bedtime and kids aren’t ready for bed and I am tired and I just want to go to sleep or at least be off-duty.

This Monday I knew I had some leftover rice to use up, and carrots, peas and green onions.  Sounds like fried rice to me.  I knew coming home to an empty house that I had two options: relax by watching a show and possibly lose my motivation to cook the damn dinner or, just cook the rice as soon as I got home.  I was utterly exhausted that day.

I decided to smoke a little bowl of this sativa-leaning hybrid, Sour Lemon Kush.  I sat in my backyard, smoked, enjoyed it.  (It’s a different experience enjoying a bowl in the backyard in the fresh air when no one is home than it is sneaking a few puffs by the side of the house.)  I came inside, got out the veggies, the coconut oil, the rice, a couple of eggs and some shrimp.  By the time the rest of the family got home, dinner was almost ready and I was happily able to respond to all the things they wanted to communicate.  Discipline issue with the tween?  No problem. I’ve got your back, honey.  Let’s tell her she’s grounded and give her opportunities to show respect, until she really demonstrates a respectful attitude.  Great day at karate?  Great!  I’m so proud of the effort you are putting into that!

Tuesday evening did not go so well.  Everyone was home when I got home, so I didn’t get any “transition time,” and I didn’t smoke.  I reheated frozen soup after a trip to the library for a book someone needed yesterday.  Dinner was late and I was cranky.  My husband had good humor about it, but it was a (typical) rough evening.

Wednesday I got home before everyone else again and smoked a few puffs before trying to figure out dinner.  (Sometimes I meal plan for the month, but I haven’t for this month, because this spring weather oscillates between nice and wintery, when warm-soup hits the spot, and “almost summer” when I’d really prefer more of an antipasti platter.)  We had no meat defrosted and there wasn’t anything dinner-like in the fridge, but the freezer is well-stocked with soups and such.  Roasted tomatoes.  Chili. Chicken Stock.

It was a stormy day.  Gray and rainy.  Kinda chilly.  Pasta would be quick and comforting… with chili.  I’ve heard of Chili Mac before, but I’ve only ever really thought it sounded like a good idea when I was under the influence of cannabis.  So I figured tonight’s the night. I’ll try to make it.  I put the frozen chili in a pan, boiled some macaroni, and soon the rest of the family got home and asked “What’s for dinner?”

“Chili Mac.” I said triumphantly.  “Are you supposed to make it with a cheese sauce or just top it with shredded cheese?”  I looked at my husband.  He grew up with financially-deprived parents in eighties; surely he would have an expectation for what a good chili mac would taste like.

“Chili Mac?”  He and the 12-year-old asked.

“Yeah, it’s like chili and mac-and-cheese!” I said, asking again about the cheese sauce vs cheese.”

“I have no idea.” my husband said, laughing at me and my good nature and my stomach-turning dinner choice.

I remembered something my church used to serve occasionally when the organist’s wife was in charge of meal prep.  I think she called in Cincinati Spaghetti?  It was spaghetti topped with chili, shredded cheddar cheese and diced onion.  No cheese sauce there.  I thought for a bit.  Something about being a little high makes me not mind an extra step in the process. “I’ll make a cheese sauce AND we’ll sprinkle cheese on top.” I decided.

img_9977

So I did.

And my husband liked it.

I liked it.

My 12-year-old liked it.

My three-year-old ate the pasta and a bite of chili along with the “salad” she makes for herself every night: frozen blueberries and frozen mango topped with garden-fresh mint leaves.

My 7-year-old made herself a PBJ.

After dinner I got distracted getting things ready for school tomorrow and when I returned to the kitchen I found my 7-year-old voluntarily washing dishes in hopes of earning a prize from the prize box.  (There’s a fresh supply of cheap and chewy fruit snacks in there.)

I call that evening a win.

Now if only I had a strain of cannabis on hand that would help me get to sleep…

Everything to Everyone

For those of us who are “more aware of mental health than the average person,” it’s important to consider how the emotions of those around you affect you.  Mental health advice that is entirely self-focused is often short-sided, as my emotions are tied in to the emotions of those close to me.  If I lived in a vacuum and was only dealing with emotions that are truly my own, I think they might be easier to navigate.  But as a wife, mother, daughter and employee, I am constantly managing–to some degree–multiple other people’s emotions.

My husband has been preparing for a job interview all week. He’s stressed.  At times he’s hopefully, but I’m watching him be very down on himself. I can’t relate to him the same way I can when he is feeling well.  His negative emotions make me feel like I have extra responsibility to parent my kids through this time.

My middle child, who is seven, has had some intense meltdowns lately, wherein she just looses all control of her emotions.  I don’t understand where they are coming from.  She’s usually easygoing, but has always been prone to meltdown when she’s overtired.  This last week she’s had a meltdown every single day. As a parent I feel some responsibility to figure this out, or at the very least, comfort her in the midst of the meltdown.

It’s not just the people closest to me, of course, whose negative emotions affect me.

At work there is a woman who is defensive in almost every conversation.  I don’t work directly with her, but the conversations I overhear often make my eyes pop.  For a while, my thought stopped at “How unprofessional!” but lately I wonder what inner anxiety she’s dealing with that causes the awkward defensiveness.

I guess what brought this all to mind was the situation I faced last week with a different colleague.  She was incredibly stressed because of circumstances beyond her control and because of attempting to communicate with her husband, her family and his family in the midst of it… while working.  On top of that, the workload was heavier than normal for both us.  I was working and overhearing multiple stressful conversations and we talked at length about the decisions they were making.

And by the end of the week my anxiety was through the roof and I was renewing my medical marijuana recommendation.

 

 

Priorities for 2017

I’m not one for New Years Resolutions, but I do tend to make a goal or two for the new year each January. I wrote these priorities and boundaries as a response to an assignment in the book, Making Work Work by Shola Richards. 

1. Raising kids who enjoy life. 

Modeling downtime, valuing one-on-one time with each child, finding things to do as a family that do not involve screens. Batch cooking some dinners ahead of time, so that I can enjoy my evenings more.

Hopefully, finding an affordable, enjoyable extracurricular for both of my older kids some time this year. 
2. Getting adequate sleep, approximately 8 hours per night. 

Continue to teach my youngest to sleep alone. Get myself to sleep by 10:30. 

3. Spending time in my garden weekly. 

More often in certain seasons. 

4. Fostering deeper friendships by making time for social interaction. 

I’m an unapologetic introvert, so this one is tough, but I’m committed to going to my Moms Group at least 3 times a month (not difficult, because This weekly meeting is often the highlight of my week). Attempting at least one other social interaction per month. Last month I had some friends over for a baking session. Next week I’m having lunch with a friend who moved away after high school. 

5. Frequent downtime to maintain mental health.  

Taking pockets of uninterrupted time alone: sitting down for a cup of coffee at home, naps, time spent in the garden, watching TV. Anything that honors my introverted need to recharge on my own. 

6. Practice the mindful habit of acknowledging the value of my time each day. 

Especially when I don’t get things done that I hope/plan to. 

For example, “I didn’t get my closet organized today, but I took The dog for a walk, and I made a list of priorities for the year.” 

“I got this month’s bills paid this morning.” 

“I had some quality down time today and I spent some quality time with my family.” 

Getting a medical marijuana rec is easy.

I ran out of medication this weekend. Filling my pipe with the last little bit this weekend was an odd feeling. I knew I would have a better afternoon if I took a couple puffs, so I did the responsible thing and smoked it.  (I feel like I should say lol here, but I’m not being sarcastic. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.)
My most anxious time of the month is when I ovulate, but that won’t happen for another week. When my medication ran out I kind of assumed I would have a couple weeks to figure things out. I’ve been working extra hours this month, which has been stressful for a lot of reasons, and I found myself REALLY struggling with anxiety midweek.  

My recommendation expired a few years ago, and I’ve put off getting a new one. This week I got a new one. 

I’ll share the experience briefly, because the process is interesting to me and incredibly easy. I’m sure most people who smoke pot would smoke it whether or not it was legal, but I’m sure there are a few people out there who are curious about the process and don’t currently have access to it without a medical recommendation.  

I didn’t want to go to the local “pot doc” clinic that I’ve used in the past, because when they texted me their clinic hours, they included a website that advertised a scammy, unrealted $3000 per month health package. (WTF? I guess all the get-rich-quick doctors who capitalized on the need for medical marijuana recommendations are having to find other get-rich-quick-schemes as recreational use is legalized in more states.) I take voting with my dollar fairly seriously, so even though it costs a little more money I used an online option that had very good Yelp reviews.  

And it was “stupid easy.” I typed in my info (name, address, medical concerns, credit card number–which would not be charged if they were unable to issue a recommendation), uploaded a copy of my driver’s license and downloaded an app on my phone for a teleconference. Before the app finished downloading the doctor called me, assuming I was having technical difficulties. Within 20 minutes a copy of my recommendation was emailed to me. The original is in the mail.  

I used the Leafly app to find a delivery service near me, and if this wasn’t an anonymous blog, I’d tell you who it was because I was so, so pleased with their quick, discreet service. 

Their menu is online on Leafly. Each strain is described well, including the appearance, flavor, medicinal uses and most frequently reported side effects. I knew I wanted a sativa for daytime use, not too potent, just something to hit the anxiety and irritability without negatively effecting my energy level or ability to focus. I called, told the person my medical concerns and he agreed with my choice of strain. I  ordered my meds and the gentleman delivered it to me the same day in an unmarked car and an unmarked bag. (Cash only – lol.)


All told, I spent $84 for the recommendation (more than their advertised online price, but I’m not complaining, but did someone say “get rich quick?”). 

I spent $60 for 1/4 ounce of medication, which will last me months. 

 Spending money is difficult for me, and the decision to use this semi-legal substance is sometimes difficult for me. But this is my life. I’m managing my anxiety. I’m juggling a job, a marriage and three kids. And I think I’m doing ok.