High on Motherhood

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According to a recent story, more women in New York City are substituting alcohol and prescription meds for weed. And it turns out a lot of these women are moms in need of finding new ways to just to make it through the day.

Now, on the question of whether raising children can sometimes drive you to want to drink vodka from a sippy cup, my hand is up. A missing shoe, a science project or a trip to the ER – depending on what else is going on – can send me careening right over the edge.

But as bad as it can get sometimes, I’m thankful that I’ve never resorted to smoking or drinking.

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Now, before I get a bunch of text messages, that’s not to say my kids haven’t seen me knock back a margarita at Chili’s – I like to call it Adult Lemonade – but that isn’t the point. I’ve found other ways to cope with things (like my eight-year-old allowing a group of kids to bury him up to the neck in the sand), and it doesn’t involve physical violence or anything 100 proof.

Before any of us rush to judgment of these women for partaking in their drug of choice, we should think of what we reach for when the stress gets to us. I’ve revisited a large bag of Lays Barbecue Potato Chips like a crack addict, each time telling myself it was my last trip.

But, like the weed moms, I’m sure, when the good feeling was over, it was over – and there was still laundry to be folded, spelling words to be gone over and an awkward conversation about figuring out the size needed for an athletic cup still pending.

My point is at the end of the day, for another, 10 years – or let my parents tell it, 30 years – your kids will be giving you something to stress out over. Unless a trip to rehab – or in my case, a chip-detox program – is in our future, we all better find out a better way to deal with the curveballs life (or our nine-year-old) throws us.

But then I’ve really got to laugh. We must look like such punks to our moms and grandmothers, who had to do as much as we do or more without a lot of the things modern technology provides to make life easier. I can tell my children to “go Google it” when a tough homework question has us all scratching our heads. My oldest son was part of a third grade study group that would meet online. Certainly eliminated me having to worry about whether or not it was my turn to bring the snack. You can even buy breast milk now.

But whether I’m Skyping with my boys, who are spending the summer 2,000 miles away with their dad, or picking up the poop from the dog they left behind, the key for any busy mama is balance. And that never changes.

My mom made it look easier than it probably was because she wasn’t afraid to say no to us when things began to get overwhelming. Moms like us, who were made to think we can do it all and have at all, are paying the price – and so are our kids. But feeling guilty for tricking them into playing The Quiet Game so that we can conduct a meeting via conference call doesn’t help either.

In the end, we should all try being more honest all around – with our bosses, with our kids, and ourselves. When we face the truth and recognize and accept our weaknesses along with our strengths, we realize saying yes to everything is a recipe for stress, burn out and sometimes self-medication. Suburban moms smoking pot at play dates makes for good headlines, but when you look closer, it’s no cuter than the sister in the ‘hood who has her kids taken away when her drug test comes up dirty.

Motherhood is great, but when we reach our low points, getting high can’t be the answer – certainly not long term, anyway. For me, prayer and meditation, a trip to the gym or some other adult recreation are healthier ways to de-stress. With an Adult Lemonade chaser from time to time!

Nikki Woods is senior producer of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” The author of “Easier Said Than Done,” the Dallas-based Woods is currently working on her second and third novels. You can friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter: @nikkiwoods.