Of my peer group, my mothering situation is a tad unique. Now barreling with a vengeance towards 50, I have a 21-year-old son who still mostly hangs his hat at home and a 10-year-old daughter who – despite the fact that she often feels otherwise – is a long way off from being raised.
While the experience of raising a girl vs. a boy is, in itself, a whole other kettle of fish, the world I’m raising my daughter in is also so very different from the one my son experienced.
BPL VERSUS APL
When Brody was small, technology was nowhere near what it is today. Phones, even the ones you took with you out-and-about, were simply for making calls. It’s much easier to monitor a kid and their online activity when you’re dealing with a family computer or a shared laptop, but when the world comes to a personal hand-held device wherever you happen to be – including the bathroom – then that presents way more challenges.
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The stigma tweaking of marijuana use with the adjustments to the law also marks an interesting spot in any parenting timeline. There’s now a ‘BPL’ (before pot legalization) mothering skill set and a ‘APL’ (after pot legalization) one. Gone are the days when the drug line in the sand was cut and dry. Drugs were bad because they were against the law. Period. As a non-using mother, I hoped that setting a good example was a good starting point. Combine that ‘goodie-two-shoes-sainted-mother’ routine with real-life as-they-happened discussions about a kid in school who went without school supplies on day one because her parents ended up in jail just in time for back to school shopping or chats about someone’s dad who was sent home from out west because of drug use and you have a pretty well-rounded basis that screams ‘drugs are bad, kid, so make better choices,’ from the rooftops.
SAILING WEED SCENTS
But that’s not the case now. These days a neighbour – a lovely mother of two off on disability – is growing her own supply, and frequently puts her ‘babies’ out on the deck for some afternoon sun. It’s obviously not a fern. Weed scents sail across our sensitive noses on afternoon dog walks in the park or as the kids play outside on a warm-enough winter’s evening. Gone are the exaggerated mom-looks of disgust meant to show the wee ones that what they’re inhaling is the stink of bad life choices.
So, now what? As a mother, I still want to raise a drug-free child. You can’t fault me for that, can you? But I’m also afraid of speaking out of two sides of my mouth and not being heard at all, because I’d also like to raise one who never raises a glass of booze to her lips.
What’s the chances of that when I’m gulping down goblets of red with glee on a scatter evening or on any given weekend? Mommy might not puff, but there’s been many a night mommy-dearest was ‘under the red-wine weather’.
One evening at the camper this past summer I apparently made us both go to bed with our clothes on – hoodies included – when the task of a regular bedtime routine was sinfully way too much for my wine-sogged soul to deal with.
What life lesson did I pass on the morning after by saying; ‘all the better to be ready earlier to face the day, my darling’, the morning after, I wonder?
Had I been stoned instead of sloshed, we probably would have woken up with our jammies on.
The reality now is this; weed has to become what booze has long been; just one more parenting hurdle that needs to be overcome with as much grace, style, and, most importantly, humour as any parent – including this flawed 50-year-old one – can muster.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]