Parenting is exhausting, sacred work. I know this because our daughter is nearly 7 and I've been home with her since she was born. In the past few years, I've parented alone.
The writer, Leah McLaren, opens with cheap jokes about Joe, her layabout neighbor who resembles Cheech & Chong in dungarees and a goatee. Finally, she notices something: Joe pays attention to his kid and seems to be a decent father. She enters the world of stoner dads, depicting a smoke-cloaked Canadian utopia where families subsist on single incomes from grocery store clerking, dads share joints in city parks, and moms get steadily smashed.
McLaren compares weed to mommy blog staples like mimosas and chardonnay, touches briefly on Xanax and Lorazepam (she describes it as "soul-calming"), and curiously neglects to mention prescription opioids, which her newspaper reported "skyrocketing" across Canada in April. The stoner dads in McLaren's article each applaud cannabis for fostering interaction and wonder in child-rearing.
The most incisive quote comes from a father of two in Toronto: "The fact is, weed makes playtime more fun, suppertime more delicious, bathtime more relaxing and storytime more interesting. What's not to like?"
Related: We Got High With Our Parents
Primary caregiving as a father is isolating. Stay-at-home dads account for only 16 percent of American stay-at-home parents. Most community and support groups exist to serve mothers, either outright or de facto because being the only dad in a band of moms is…disquieting.
My daughter now converses with complexity, but she certainly couldn't a few years ago. Now, she reads whatever she can, filling her mind with stories and facts, but I recall afternoons when our family sat cross-legged on carpets, reading board books as she smacked at the pages. Those are fond memories, but at the time they could be mind-numbing. Endless hours stacked one on another. And I didn't smoke much back then.
There is little to no affirmation or feedback in parenting, especially doing it alone. Even finding an effective parenting style is fraught. There are books to read, common ground to find, in-laws and neighbors with startling opinions on breastfeeding and spanking and gluten and head thwaps and the word "no" and co-sleeping. If you've got the gall to find a different way, even then the fruits of your labor are gradual, ground gained unseen centimeters at a time. I think this is the main reason mommy blogs litter the landscape—there's a need to connect, commiserate and assure.
Moment by moment, being a parent carries heart-bursting joy, backed up to pain and sadness. It is hard, thankless work, and the appeal of chemical assistance is understandable in the same way a shopkeeper swallows ibuprofen, an accountant pours coffee, or a day trader cuts coke.
For me, weed has helped.
Cannabis does not solve day-to-day problems. A person's experience being high depends not simply on the strain or terpenes ingested, but the mindset and surroundings of the partaker. If you've been repressing your fears, anxieties and shame, getting stoned may stir them up. If you're toking lightly, opening your eyes and heart to engage others, keeping track of inspirations that bubble up and appreciating what exists around you, there's a good chance you'll benefit from cannabis.
There are times being high aided my sense of presence and playfulness, when it allowed me to empathize with my daughter, to see her perspective more clearly.
Other times, being high aided my ability to ignore her while paying devout attention to whatever shiny black screen was in front of me.
Both have their benefits and downsides in certain situations. And if you've been a parent, you know that. Perhaps Father's Day is a crass excuse for gift-card perpetuation, but here's a cloud to all you dads out there, stoned or otherwise. But especially to Canadian Joe.