Cannabis and Parenthood – The Ultimate Balancing Act

I live a selfish lifestyle as a childless 30-year old, and no, I’m not complaining. Frankly, the sheer thought of having to give up cannabis if that were to change, is freakishly daunting. Fortunately, for myself and other cannabis consumers, the laws affecting this plant are constantly shifting across the country. Perhaps “Cannabis and Parenthood” aren’t two words you’d normally see together, but for parents like Keira Sumimoto it’s more than a lifestyle, it’s a movement.

For the first time in a really long time, parents are publicly admitting to some form of cannabis consumption, and we’re starting to see a new (yet unlikely) figure emerge – ‘the stoner parent’. Not only are they expressing their cannabis consumption while proving that they can still be loving, doting and responsible parents, but they’re also changing the conversation around cannabis for generations to come. I attended Keira’s latest event in Downtown Los Angeles called “MAMASTÉ x Lit Yoga”, a cannabis friendly yoga class dedicated to the gathering and unwinding of some hard-working mommas. This event and others like it curated by Keira, allow parents to let down their guard and connect with other parents who also enjoy cannabis. It was a judgment-free zone on that blissful Sunday afternoon, which included complimentary medicated massages from Apothecanna, a DIY bath salt bar, and tasty hors d’oeuvres.

Keira even had a representative from Utopia stop by to help educate parents on safe vaping.

I spoke with Keira after the event to talk more about her latest mission bridging the gap between cannabis and parenthood.

What inspired Cannabis and Parenthood? How did this platform come about?

I started Cannabis and Parenthood immediately after my first OB appointment. I didn’t know I was pregnant until month 4 (my jeans just didn’t fit right anymore). I was unknowingly consuming cannabis (daily) during those first 4 months. I shared with my OB that I was consuming but stopped when I found out. She got very defensive and short-tempered. She said things like, “You should stop. Marijuana is unsafe and can cause birth defects.” I asked her where she got her information from, and sadly she was unable to provide me with any references.

Was there any hesitancy on your end to pursue this path, and what’s been the largest takeaway from creating this space?

Yes, I felt hesitation but this is something that needs to be done. Don’t get me wrong. It is terrifying sometimes. I am putting myself out there as a cannabis consuming mom. Mothers already deal with so much shaming, judgement, and guilt. I feel so deeply for the mothers dealing with CPS, hiding their consumption from theirs friends and loved ones, and feeling guilt for consuming. This is why it must be done. There is so much healing that can be done here. So much to learn and most importantly, women are taking control of their bodies, asking questions, and ultimately doing what they believe is best for themselves and their child. I am happy to provide resources and studies for women to reference and make their own educated decisions. Along with the overwhelming anecdotal evidence, I have always believed in plant based medicines and always will.

When and why do you personally consume cannabis?

I consume cannabis because it helps me manage my anxiety. I have PTSD which is slowly subsiding due to my cannabis consumption.

Do you find it acceptable for parents to consume cannabis in front of their children? Are there exceptions?

Yes and no. It depends on what it is. Have I eaten an edible in front of my daughter? Yes. Have I smoked a joint in front of my daughter? No. Cannabis consumption, especially for parents, is a conscious decision. I do feel that most parents are aware of these boundaries and respect them, naturally.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about parents who enjoy cannabis?

That, “smoking weed makes you a bad parent.” or “Parents just smoke to get high.” I understand why people may assume these things. They don’t know any better. I think the biggest threat is misinformation, and uneducated assumptions and opinions.

Tell us about your platform cannabis and parenthood, and some of your recent or upcoming events? I.E. MAMASTÉ

I am working on organizing monthly yoga events that are cannabis and mother/parent friendly. As well as launching a website that will have all the resources and up-to-date articles for parents to reference and learn more on the topic.

What has the overall response been to this topic?

So far so good! I haven’t gotten too many hateful messages or emails. I believe it is the way I approach this topic. I am not for or against the use of cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding. I am for the conversation of the use of cannabis while breastfeeding. It is an open conversation.

Is there a balance between self-care and selflessness when parenting?

Yes, you have to really look for it though. Haha! I would say the balance would be to maximize and respect your time and energy. Everything else just falls into place.

What are your thoughts on CPS [Child Protective Services] and its approach towards parents who consume cannabis? My understanding is that a report is considered credible until investigated by an agent, can you explain further?

I feel that most times CPS is used as a weapon against someone. To my knowledge CPS workers are aware of this and will attempt to approach each case with an open mind. Unfortunately, depending on the professionalism of that worker sometimes their own personal bias can interfere with their work. For the parents out there, when CPS knocks on your door, remain calm. I know it is hard but you must. The worker is there to do a job and won’t leave peacefully if they didn’t check off their list. They react to your response. If you have done nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide.

Would you be concerned or upset if and when your child decides to use cannabis?

That would be fine. I would like to discuss the purpose of use and expand her knowledge whilst encouraging her to learn more. If used appropriately, cannabis is just the same as any other vegetable/herb.

Any tips on being a responsible “stoner” parent?

Stay up to date on news, products, and studies. My cannabis and parenthood page is perfect for this! Keep your product locked away and out of reach. Consume consciously.

Any tips on parenthood in general?

Go with the flow. Float in the space between discipline and surrender.

Favorite part of being a mom? Least favorite?

My daughter makes my heart full; she is my favorite part of being a mom. I love her dearly but at times, I wish I had more #metime. I am an introvert/empath and sometimes I need a little extra time to “charge”.

Biggest surprise or lesson you’ve received through parenthood?

Meeting another version of myself. I learn each day that the balance of pre-mom and being a mom is fragile. Everyday, the old me learns from the new me and vice versa.

Favorite thing about your daughter?

Her! The good, the bad, and the ugly #terribletwos – I love it all!