My 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.)
I managed to kick the habit during my latest pregnancy and for the past two weeks – since giving birth – I’ve had a total of three cigarettes. I don’t buy them any anymore. Why would I need to, anyway, when I have so many mommy friends who smoke? At last count, I had nine mommy friends who smoke. And I definitely don’t smoke around my children or in public.
Last week, there were three of us mothers who dropped off our kids at a singing lesson. We all had an hour to kill. A mother came up to me, one I didn’t know, and whispered, “Do you smoke?” I said "No, but I’ll come with you if you want.” (I lied because I do not like strangers to know I smoke.) So I followed these two women behind an alley, where they lit up and I looked on enviously, even though I thought I’d barf because of the stench of garbage in the alleyway. (See what Mommy Smokers have to endure just to light up and not get caught?)
The problem with mommy smokers is that while it only takes a few minutes to have a cigarette, it takes twice as long for the After Cigarette Process. This includes watching friends wash their hands and faces manically, then Purell their hands, then spray themselves with body spray, watch them suck back mints or pop in a piece of gum and take off their “smoking” sweater, which they put on to cover their clothes before they light up. They also always tie their hair back.
The point is all mothers already know that smoking is disgusting and they don’t want anyone to know they smoke (myself included). It’s a pain in the ass preparing, hiding, and doing everything in your power to not smell like smoke. But when you have paparazzi taking pics of you, it’s probably wise not to smoke in public at all.
Not that I’m judging Duff. I think she was at the wrong time and wrong place and just needs to hide her habit a bit better. I’m suggesting she does what the rest of my mommy smoker friends do, which is stop by my place and use my backyard or go into an alleyway. Because after all, Hilary Duff, you’re a new mother.