Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
Before we got married, my husband smoked pot morning to night. As many users do, he used it as a way to cope early in life rather than developing healthy (sober) coping mechanisms. This developed into a serious habit, one that didn’t seem worth breaking before he had a family. However, when we got married, he seemed to have no trouble quitting. He still smoked cigarettes, but marijuana was a thing of the past. It went on like this for at least a couple of years, and he didn’t seem to even experience withdrawal. I was truly impressed. He even quit smoking cigarettes while I was pregnant.
Then we had a baby. I responded to the stress of it by focusing all of my energy on that baby. He responded differently, resuming his cigarette habit immediately, and resuming smoking pot shortly after. He even rationalized it by saying the habit wasn’t full-blown because he never sought out weed on his own — he just smoked it when it was offered to him. When work became stressful and coworkers offered it, he would smoke at work. Although he realized the danger of smoking pot on the job and vowed to stop doing it at work, he has now resumed buying it and doing it at home. He smokes outside, so our child isn’t exposed to it, but it still alters his perception and sometimes makes him too sleepy to care for our child (which, of course, leaves the responsibility solely to worn-out, stay-at-home me).
The worst thing that happens is when he has a day off and, for whatever reason, can’t get any marijuana. He turns sullen, like a teenager, and quick to anger. It’s tough enough for me to care for a crying child, but add in the stress of knowing anything I say to my husband — any misinterpreted glance or comment — has the potential to turn on a dime into a raging fight and I’m left feeling utterly hopeless. And when my husband claims he’s just in a bad mood for no reason and I suggest it’s because he hasn’t smoked that day, he goes instantly into defensive mode. I can’t win.
What really gets me is that I quit smoking cigarettes for many years, and just recently I’ve decided to start again. I don’t smoke pot. However, a few of my friends (who do smoke pot) criticize the hell out of me for resuming my cigarette habit, all the while merrily smoking pot with their thumbs up their asses. They don’t say a word to my husband, however, as he goes about smoking both cigarettes and weed.
Why would they tear me apart and not even suggest what my husband is doing is wrong? I can’t help but think it’s another one of those stupid double standards that apply only to moms…moms must do A, B and C but don’t even think about X, Y or Z. Dads, however, you get gold stars just for showing up! I guess it’s enough that he isn’t absent, a crackhead or in prison. Awesome.
The fact of the matter is, smoking is stupid. It’s unhealthy, expensive and gross. Whether it’s cigarettes or weed, it’s better just not to do it. But I’m not about to defend the merits of marijuana or bemoan its detriments. This is a problem because of the intense frustration I have, and the fact that I can’t vent to anyone about it. My friends smoke pot, so they tend to side with my husband. “Maybe he just needs to blow off steam,” and “at least he doesn’t do it around your kid.” Right, okay, awesome, but you’re not the one who has to live every day with either the lazy, exhausted Jekyll or the antsy, irritable Hyde. Eff off.
My family, on the other hand, is blindly anti-drug (they’re the kind of people who still call pot “dope” and group it in with cocaine and heroin) so we keep my husband’s smoking a secret from them. I’ve had horrible dreams of him getting busted, losing his job and losing my family’s respect. This tension perhaps weighs on me even more than my hypocritical friends.
I may sound like one, but I promise I’m not a nag. This venting session is the product of many years of built-up frustration. I don’t nag my husband about housework or getting my own free time anymore, because we’re equally stressed out. But I’m afraid I’m going to blow up at him any day now about the weed thing. This may just be hearsay, but I’m pretty sure that in my state a child can be taken from his or her parents if one of the parents is in possession of a certain amount of marijuana. I don’t think my husband keeps enough on him for this to apply, but still, it seems so risky.
My husband and I have gone over this a million times. Sometimes he says he’s done and he’s just going to quit. But then he follows up with this self-indulgent request to “please be understanding if I’m not in the best mood for a few days.” I have heard that proclamation so many times it’s laughable. Now, whenever he says he’s quitting, I just stay quiet and continue with whatever I’m doing. Sure, I’d love for him to quit for real. There would be no more of this back and forth hell that is his withdrawal cycle.
But at the same time, I must admit that sometimes — when he’s not stoned out of his mind and falling asleep on the couch, that is — it’s easier to deal with him when he’s high.
I guess the best I can do at this point is vent to my journal and remind myself of all the other great things in my life. Even if weed gets legalized, that doesn’t change the fact that it alters my husband’s personality. Marijuana may be just as difficult to get when it’s legal, anyways, so I’ll still have to suffer through his withdrawal. As I said before, talking to my husband hasn’t helped a bit, and obviously talking to my friends doesn’t help, either. Even the few friends who are more sensitive don’t have an answer.
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