Staci Lawrence has always been a worrier.
Having kids only multiplied that tendency tenfold.
“I’ve always had a lot of anxiety and I’ve always worried a lot, but now that I’m a parent, it’s like I’m always afraid; afraid of losing them, of them losing me, of anything bad happening. I’m just always worrying.”
This would turn out to be the impetus for the reintroduction of cannabis into Lawrence’s life.
An occasional consumer throughout college, she quit altogether when she decided to have kids roughly eight years ago. Now, as a mother of two kids under the age of seven, her life is understandably hectic.
What’s more, the family recently relocated from Los Angeles to San Diego County. With Lawrence’s husband working full-time, she’s doing the “stay-at-home mom thing” for the time-being. To say it’s been a stressful adjustment would be a serious understatement.
It wasn’t until recently, Lawrence says, that she realized she doesn’t need to feel this way – that is, “so upset and frazzled and fearful.”
“I’ve been trying to set up a brand new house and be a good mom and take care of my kids but I could barely even finish a thought. I started to feel depressed,” she says.
“I decided to have cannabis re-enter my life just to see if it would help me get more present and less high-strung around my kids... because it’s really not fair to them if I’m always [stressed].”
The moment Lawrence took that first hit off a vape pen – which she indulged in well away from her kids – she felt “focused and happy.”
“It took away all that sort of noise that’s always in my head,” she says. “The kids and I had this great day because I wasn’t a wreck. I wasn’t mad or frustrated or impatient.”
Lawrence is far from the only American parent making the realization that cannabis can be a healthy part of a parenting lifestyle.
A poll conducted by Civilized in 2016 found that 51 percent of cannabis users surveyed had children under the age of 13, while 27 percent had children between 13 and 17. Another more recent study found that many new parents in the U.S. continue to consume cannabis after having kids.
“I really believe it makes me a better parent,” says Lawrence, who admits she “used to think that getting stoned was a way to escape” but now believes just the opposite.
“I think there’s a time and place for everything, and sure there can be an element of escapism to [cannabis consumption] sometimes. But there’s such a huge difference between smoking a joint at a party and hitting a vape pen to spend the day doing something that’s normally anxiety-inducing.
“I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to say that [cannabis] is a medication for me, when I see what it does for my anxiety.”
That said, Lawrence still struggles with the stigma surrounding cannabis – and, specifically, the judgment heaped upon moms who consume it. It’s frustrating, she says, to see so much support – even celebration – for parents who indulge in a glass of wine every night, but not a joint.
“I still have a lot of guilt about it. It’s like I don’t want to be caught. I would never want to be in Target and see another mom and smell like weed,” she says.
“I get invited to Happy Hour with the neighbours now and I’m wondering, ‘does anyone else here get high?’
“On the flipside, I’m very open about it with people who know me... because I’m not getting stoned and driving my kids around. I don’t do it in front of them. And I know it doesn’t make you a bad mom.”
Read more in our 'Parents & Pot' series: