On January 7, 2011, the Tyra Show aired a show on “Soccer Mom Stoners,” highlighting the recent trend for ordinary soccer moms to engage in marijuana use. These moms claimed that they used marijuana to help keep them calm and relaxed while caring for their sometimes misbehaving children, and generally to help relieve some of the stress and pressure of motherhood. Although none admitted to using marijuana in front of their children, they did admit to picking up their children from school, taking them to sports practices and engaging in other activities with their children while under the influence of the drug. To present a balanced viewpoint of this striking phenomenon, Tyra Banks, the show’s host, also introduced a panel of mothers against the use of marijuana. The marijuana moms considered their drug use as no worse than the use of Xanax or drinking wine - the alternative strategies that the opposing moms may have used to relieve parental stress. This dialogue raises questions in my mind: “Why are traditionally prescribed anti-anxiety medications (Prozac, Xanax, etc.), marijuana and other intoxicating substances regarded as acceptable coping strategies for parenting stress?” And, “what is this discussion teaching the typically twenty-something year old television audience about motherhood?”
|Panel of "Soccer Moms"|
For those twenty-something year old Tyra Show viewers who watched this episode and question their own (future) parenting practices, I would urge them to consider the long-term consequences of drug-reliance for coping. I urge them to reflect on what strategies have worked to help them to deal with past stressors, and apply those skills to their parenting pressures. As a working mother, I understand that sometimes the demands of parenting and life can be high. However, I also understand that I must choose what is healthy for me and the long-term well-being of my family when coping with stress. As therapists, we may reflect upon our personal values in parent stress-management and how we can treat our clients’ affective needs through coping strategies training. We should also consider both the short-term benefits and possible long-term draw-backs before referring our non-disordered clients for treatment-by-medication. This episode on ‘Marijuana Moms’ on the Tyra Show was fascinating, certainly, but also a motivator for further discussion on motherhood , marijuana, medicating and stress-management.