It’s Okay Hilary Duff, I’m A Mom And A Smoker Too

hilary duff cigaretteMy personal opinion is that like a lot of mothers, Hilary Duff – who was recently caught holding a cigarette – is a liar. Duff was trending a couple days ago because the new mom was – gasp! – holding a butt. People, it seems, are mad at her because not only was she caught with a butt in hand but also she’s a new mother, which somehow makes this habit worse. Quite frankly, everyone I’ve ever interviewed in the entertainment industry smokes. (I won’t out them, but let’s just say most A-list actors do smoke.)

Duff apologized for it and insisted she was holding the cigarette for a friend. “It looks worse than it is,” she said. Honey, it’s okay. You were caught smoking. Just say you’re trying to quit. I pretty much think/know she’s a liar because no smoker in his or her right mind would give a cigarette to a non-smoker to hold. Why? Because generally speaking, non-smokers hate smoke, and smokers understand this and would stamp that cigarette out before even thinking about asking a non-smoker to hold it.

I know this because I, too, am a part-time smoker. I am not proud of this. In fact, I hate myself every time I light up. Starting to smoke was the worst thing I have ever done, especially since I started smoking in my twenties, which is way past the time anyone with half a brain should start to smoke. Would I ever give a cigarette to a non-smoker friend to hold? Absolutely not. In fact, half my friends don’t even know I sometimes like to smoke. They have no clue, and they’ve known me for years.

But I have another group of friends – all mommies – who do know I smoke, because they smoke, too. Sometimes, I feel like my house is a daycare for smoking mommies. But, like Hilary Duff, no mother I know wants anyone to know she smokes. Because I have a backyard with a high fence that blocks anyone from seeing in, I have a rotating group of mommies who come to my house, not really to see me, but to use my backyard to smoke in privacy.

I have a couple mommy friends who come in the morning, after they drop their kids off at school. This is my morning group of mommy smokers. Then I have another couple friends drop by late in the afternoon, before they have to pick up their kids from school, to smoke. Finally, I have a night crew who comes by after they put their kids to bed. I really should start charging them an entry free, because I could make a lot of money.

Sometimes I’m not even home, but they have the code to my backyard, and I have an open door policy for my “smoking mommy friends.” Smoking is a disgusting habit. And yet, I know so many mothers who smoke. “We need to smoke because we’re the ones who are stressed out!” said one of my smoking mommy friends the other night. She never smokes during the day, and only smokes when her kids are in bed and asleep. (She’s part of the night crew in my backyard.)

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  • shhh…

    Ditto… my house is also the secret smoking house. Yes its a horrible habit, yes we all know its bad. But I wouldn’t say any of the Mom’s are “Bad Moms”. We all have something to hide, at least my big, bad secret is smoking. It could be a lot worse.

    • jim

      you should be shot

  • Frances

    I hold cigarettes for my best friend and my husband all the time. Maybe you have the money to stamp out a full cigarette instead of asking someone to hold it for 10 seconds, but no one I know does.

    I’ve held them for my Dad and step Mom too.

  • Katie B. of

    I’m a part-time smoker, too. One with coffee in the morning, and then usually nothing unless and until I’m having cocktails. (Which, okay, is every other evening in the summer. Once your kids get to school age, you get used to having time to yourself. Summer is the PITS!)

    I quit when I was pregnant with both kids, and started back up shortly after weaning each. I don’t smoke in the house or the car, and I wave my son away when I am smoking (it’s great for getting time to yourself), so it’s not like I’m poisoning HIM.

    But, the way I look at it, I need something to do with my hands. Smoking is one option, strangling people who irritate me is another. So, you see, I smoke to spare other peoples’ lives.

    • jim

      i hope you Die of cancer

  • Jenni

    I consider myself lucky; neither of my parents smoked. They both grew up in homes where their parents smoked, though none of my grandparents smoke anymore. My dad particularly hates cigarette smoke.
    My MIL smokes like a chimney, and my FIL smokes a pipe. Thankfully, since my two SILs had kids, they don’t smoke in front of a pregnant woman or the grandkids. I must say, it is nice to be in their house without emerging smelling like an ash tray.
    I’ve never been a smoker, but to me the benefit of a cig doesn’t seem to outweigh the guilt and stress trying to smoke a cigarette causes you and these other moms. But, I’ve never felt a nicotine craving, and maybe the moment of enjoyment trumps all else.

  • CW

    What I’ve never understood is that if you’ve managed to quit smoking and stay smoke-free for 6+ months, why on earth would you ever start up again? You’ve gotten the nicotine out of your system and are long past the physical withdrawal that causes so many would-be quitters to give up. It just seems like the hard part of quitting is over, so why wouldn’t you want to stay smoke-free?

    • Karlee


      Nicotine is only half the battle. Smoking is just as much a mental addiction as it is a physical one. Getting through the physical need for nicotine is only the first step in quitting smoking. The mental addiction is why so many of us end up relapsing, even after going 9 months without.

      There are certain things you do when you are a smoker that you associate with smoking. Drinking coffee in the mornings with a cigarette, driving to work and smoking, etc. These things are triggers, and even long after you’ve quit smoking, doing something as simple as driving to work can cause the desire for a cigarette, especially if it’s something you did every single day for years.

      I quit smoking the moment I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. It was hell, but I did it because I wanted her to be healthy. I stayed quit until I went back to work. The very first day, I got in my car, and started taking the drive to work that I hadn’t taken in almost a year. My first time driving there not pregnant. All I could think about was how wonderful a cigarette would be. I hadn’t smoked in over a year, but the desire was right back. I fought it, and continued on. I sat at work and watched as my co-workers went out to smoke, and I sat and did my work. As much as my physical need for nicotine was gone, my mind still said “Hey, don’t we always smoke when we’re here?”

      I was able to fight the urges for a couple of days, until the stresses of work and missing my daughter all day finally beat out my rational thinking. I was bumming cigarettes from co-workers for a few days before I finally just started buying my own again.

      It’s really hard to explain to a non-smoker why we smoke. I’m one of those women who really does enjoy smoking. I know it’s bad, and I will quit again one day for my health, but I honestly *like* smoking. Just being able to have a few minutes to myself at points during the day.

      Now before anyone jumps down my throat, I’ve given myself rules. I never smoke around my daughter. I have one or two in the morning out on my deck before my daughter wakes up and then I shower. I do not smoke in the car. My daughter rides in there. I have a few cigarettes during the day at work, and then I get home and shower and change before picking my daughter up. I refrain from smoking again until after she goes to bed, then I’ll have a couple outside on the deck again. I keep her exposure to my habit as little as possible.

    • jim

      every stinking smoker should be shot DEAD

    • SCErRN

      I was so sick when I was pregnant, I couldn’t stand the smell of smoke, so it was easy not to want one. I also didn’t want to eat chicken or drink coffee. I didn’t smoke when I was breastfeeding either. But when I wasn’t pregnant or breast feeding, I’d be out with a smoking friend and have “just one” which would turn into smoking again. I’ve been quit for about a year now, but I still want one every now and then. Totally mental.

  • k

    I am also a closet smoker, I don’t like it that the neighbors know of people at work even though I have 3 or less a day. Thanks for writing this, all this Hillary duf nonsense had me feeling really guilty when my kids don’t even know I smoke. In response to cw above, starti.v again after quitting is very hard to describe to someone who hasn’t been there. Imagine say, you didn’t eat cake for 9 months and you see others eating cake and just a little bite woidld be nice, even if I do need to loose weight….sorry I can’t make a better analogy for you :)

  • k

    Sorry for errors, phone typing

  • Your Name

    Gawd – part of the reason I’m not having kids is that the whole world now gets in your Parenting Business. (I came here via the ‘STFUParents’ site, cos that stuff is hilarious.) These folks crucifying this ‘New Mother’ are A-holes (btw, I know plenty of ‘Old Mothers’ who smoke and do NOT hide it, why should they? They’re grown-ass women who pay their bills and taxes and take care of their families. Balls if anyone should tell them what they can and can’t do) They should be checking on what their own kids are up to instead of being critical of a person they don’t know (and don’t really care about, tbh) from behind a keyboard. Did she have the baby in a sling while she was smoking? Was she in a children’s park? Was the baby in ‘Flavour Country’ too? No. Mind you’re own damn business. And what really gets me is, I’d bet ya that any of these torch-bearers would attack anyone who’d question THEIR parenting. Jeez.

    This smoking hysteria has to stop. It would take a smoker 30+ years to put the same amount of carbon dioxide in the air as an SUV Mom-Mobile does in ONE DAY. And, face it – cos it’s the reality – the amount of waste (diapers, toys that end up in landfills, plastics for cups and bottles, etc) a baby creates is freaking enormous. There is SCARY little difference between the lungs of a smoker and someone who grew up in a major city. We are WESTERNERS, we waste our resources and poison this planet – and each other and each other’s children – in FAR worse ways than smoking. There’s a difference between just NOT LIKING smoking and this ‘A Puff of Cigarette Smoke Will Kill You!!!!’ insanity. I get terrible head-aches from perfume but I don’t bitch and whine about it when I’m in a room with someone doused in it, cos the world isn’t here to accommodate me (or you or your kids.) But I will say, let me stand next to a smoker any day of the week rather than someone who took a bath in Chanel no. 5 or cologne.

    And, Hilary Duff Critics – get off the bloody computer and go hang out with the kids you brought into this world.

    • Sara

      I assume you’re just as annoyed by the NYC ban on large sugary drinks?

    • jim

      all smokers should be shot

  • Emily H.

    Why do we feel the need, as a society, to police the bodies of others? As long as you’re not smoking around my baby, I don’t give a shit. In fact I’m jealous because I quit when I got pregnant and almost 9 months later, I STILL want a cigarette at least once every day! It’s a sacrifice I’m happy to make for the health of my baby, of course. But I refuse to feel guilty for having an occasional cigarette once my child is outside my body. It’s MY BODY.

    • jim

      every smoker should be shot, stinking addict

  • kfreed

    There are lots of things in life that are bad for you… lots of them cause cancer and may even eventually kill you… oneof them being automobile exhaust, but we don’t hear anybody complaining about the brown cloud overhead.

    The anti-smoking jihad has gone beyond the pale and I’m personally pretty fed up with everybody and his dog acting like they’ll drop dead if I pass them on the sidewalk with a cigarette in my hand.

    We smokers are all outdoors now… we don’t smoke in your house, your car, at work, or inside anywhere except in our own homes. So lay off, already.

    I smoke. I’ll continue to smoke because I like it. Should I drop dead at some point, none of the people who wrinkle their noses at me will even notice I’m gone. I’m so past caring about people’s peeves and I’m not about to endulge them further by actually feeling guilty about smoking.

    I’ll be damned if I’ll hide behind a dumpster because some priss has a bug up their butt.

    • Sara

      “we don’t hear anybody complaining about the brown cloud overhead” Seriously? Pretty sure we hear about it on a daily basis. I agree with you that smokers are harassed too much, but don’t pretend that we don’t also have to hear about the environment on a daily basis as well.

    • jim

      every smoker should be shot in the gut so they bleed painfully and slowly, u stinking addict

  • LizB86

    Thank you THANk YOU for being real about this subject! I am a secret smoking mommy too, and I love your spot on description of the “after smoking ritual” we use to cover our tracks. I carry a can of my favorite air freshened in my briefcase to get rid of the smell; it’s less overbearing than perfume and dissipates faster.

    • Jim

      all smokers should be shot in the gut so they bleed slowly and painfully

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  • Kel R

    You’re a smoker? Why am I not surprised…

    You are as trashy as trashy gets. No amount of designer clothes or money in the bank will make you less trashy. You will always be low class.

    • jim

      right on buddy!

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  • Jim

    all smokers should be shot in the gut so they bleed slowly and painfully, thats what they deserve

  • Really?

    “The whole world gets in your parenting business…” Okay, one, it’s POSTED online, so you opened the door to your business. Two, what part of willingly providing second hand smoke and other health ailments to vulnerable children is morally okay? Especially in a society that has options for quitting? There is no pity for people who chose not to quit because they are too weak to seek help. You may have the right to slowly kill yourself, and allow yourself to look like a leather handbag and smell like rotten garbage, but to force the lifestyle on your children is so beyond selfish. Grow the F up and stop reproducing until then.