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If you think your child wouldn't get high in a million years, think again. It's not just the troubled kids who are getting high — it's the kid in AP Calculus, the one who comes from a two-parent family, the one who grew up in church, the one who plays varsity football. I always tell my teenage sons that I have three simple goals as a mother. One, they must graduate high school. Two, they must not make me a grandmother (at least not before they get married — and please, no baby mommas). And three, stay away from drugs. If they can make it to the age of 18 being mindful of these three things, I will give myself a pat on the back and breathe a sigh of relief. My oldest son will turn 18 this fall and as I gasp at how quickly life has passed us by, I've since extended this magic number to 21. I'm the one who gave birth to all of these kids, so I reserve the right to change the rules, right?
Interestingly enough, it's No. 3 that has proved to be the most challenging hurdle in my parenting journey thus far. Drugs. No, I don't mean meth, heroin or cocaine or any of those scary, insidious addictions, thank goodness. I'm speaking specifically about marijuana.
Bottom line? I don't want my teenagers to be stoners.
This is a bold statement, coming from a mom who just stopped smoking marijuana seven months ago. But it was definitely a step I had to take in order to be healthy and able to stand in front of my kids and tell them why they shouldn't smoke pot.
I grew up in a home where one of my parents smoked marijuana every day, so I've always believed this green plant was natural and harmless.
We live in Southern California, where the streets are dotted with medical marijuana dispensaries. If you blink, you may not notice the green doors and windows, but their presence is heavily felt. Walk through any parking lot, beach town or skate park and you'll smell the distinct aroma of marijuana wafting through the air. Now, more than ever, it is becoming socially acceptable to smoke marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. It's no longer relegated to hippies and burn-outs — walk in to any dispensary and you'll see people in business suits picking up their marijuana alongside those with tie-dyed tees and long hair.
I grew up in a home where one of my parents smoked marijuana every day, so I've always believed this green plant was natural and harmless. In it's true essence, I still believe it to be true. But that doesn't mean I want this lifestyle for my kids. I've been there — I've lived it. I'd be doing a disservice to my children if I didn't communicate to them that yes, there are risks to smoking marijuana, especially at a young age.
This means I had to do something that no parent wants to do, ever. I had to sit down with my teenagers and come clean about my marijuana use over the years — full disclosure. I told them that marijuana may seem cool and fun, but there are harmful side effects, too: difficulty thinking and problem solving, long and short-term memory loss, problems with learning, loss of coordination, distorted perception of life, increased appetite and a decrease of inhibitions. For a teenager, those are all roadblocks to a healthy life and future.
Marijuana is more accessible, and therefore easier to disguise, than ever. With vape pens, wax, e-cigarettes, marijuana edibles in the form of candy and treats (think brownies and rice krispy treats), parents have a whole new world to contend with these days.
If you think your child wouldn't get high in a million years, think again. It's not just the troubled kids who are getting high — it's the kid in AP Calculus, the one who comes from a two-parent family, the one who grew up in church, the one who plays varsity football.
To be completely honest, there are worse things my kids can do then smoke marijuana. But I won't tell them that. I just want them to grow up never needing to lean on a substance to help them function in life. When I look at my kids, I still see their beautiful little baby faces superimposed on their older, more mature faces. I remember all of the hopes and dreams I had for their future. No new parent ever hopes their child will become a stoner.