Judgmental Jerkwads and conversations about pot

20140818-113753.jpgJack asked Mike and I our thoughts on marijuana this weekend, I had two initial responses:

(1) I need to tread carefully here, lest one of us ends up sounding as evasive as Bill Clinton, and
(2) Ooh, yay! Another blog topic.

Mike thinks a blog on talking to our teenager about pot has the potential to draw a little ire, and he’s understandably a little anxious about my broadcasting this kind of conversation to the whole, wide world.

Of course if he had his druthers, about two thirds of the stuff I post for the whole, wide world’s reading pleasure would never have seen the light of day.

He has a point, though, about opening ourselves up to the criticism of others. I never thought of myself as thin-skinned about my writing, until I actually started receiving one or two comments that weren’t 100 percent, gushingly positive.

Earlier this summer I posted a blog on Huffington Post about raising an introverted child, and was gratified by the dozens of positive comments and shares it received. A big reason why I keep a blog is the feedback. I can only chortle at my own jokes for so long before someone suggests I get professional help. When I share sometimes it helps explain why people around here are as goofy as they are.

Or maybe it doesn’t explain anything. Maybe it’s just fascinating in the same way as a wreck is on the highway and everybody’s getting a crink in the neck from gawking.

I like to think better of you people.

Anyway, I was talking to my friend, Angela, about all of this, about the blog and pot and Bill Clinton and feeling vulnerable about people judging me and my parenting skills and my family. I’ve never professed to be any kind of an expert, far from it. I don’t hang out with a lot of experts either, and there’s a lot to be said for information sharing among rank amateurs. Still, it stings when a complete stranger calls you a dysfunctional parent, and you can’t punch them right in the junk like you want to.

Then as I’m going on about people judging and vulnerability and blah, blah, blah, it hits me how stupid I sound talking to Angela about this without even tipping my hat to the fact she lives with people being Judgey McJudgersons every damn day.

Angela and Darin have three beautiful children, two of whom have profound disabilities.

Parenting teens can be a vastly different experience from one family to the next. Throw in a personality disorder or a delay or a physical disability, or all three, and you can take your standard parenting advice and chuck it.

And still so many people have the unmitigated gall as to offer advice when they know absolutely nothing about why an otherwise typical-looking little girl would be throwing the mother of all fits in a grocery store. They have the nerve to stare openly as her sister sings what could be the theme from Sesame Street in a restaurant. People will stop on the sidewalk to stare when an SUV pulls into an accessible parking space. They stand – seemingly at the ready – to deliver a stern look, or perhaps a scolding, until they see a father helping his daughter from the car, her limited mobility deemed by them to be appropriate to the accommodation.

So, here I am, mulling over the possibility of parental judgement, enjoying a weekend camping trip with good friends whose children we’ve cried about and prayed over. And maybe it’s Angela’s assuring me that my stories do have a place with people who need to know they’re not alone, or who just need a laugh, or maybe it’s the spicy margarita she just mixed for me …

But suddenly my vulnerabilities don’t seem so important.

And YOU were thinking this was just going to be about pot, didn’t you?

Vote for me now, and I promise we’ll get to the pot thing, later. Thank you.


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  1. My husband feels the same way about what I write sometimes.

    When we lost our daughter nine years ago, blogging was still so new, and for me it had been overwhelmingly positive. So, here I found myself facing a fatal diagnosis for my unborn baby and having to make a decision about continuing a pregnancy that would be dangerous for me.

    Of course I blogged about it. I got over 25,000 hits that month as people came to watch the trainwreck that was mothers telling me that if I delivered her early, I would be murdering her.

    So, I get being afraid of criticism. I kind of wish my first experience with it had been with something as tame as pot. Instead it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me, and people were acting as if they loved my baby more than I did!

    And like you, I love the interaction.

    Keep posting, you have an amazing voice, and I promise that I will keep chortling at your jokes right along with you. We may all need professional help before the day is done, but that shouldn\’t be why. 😉

  2. Thank you for this great post, Manicmom! What is it with us that we always feel the need to judge other people, their parenting skills and their children?
    Even our sympathy is sometimes misplaced because of our judgments. I thought of a family my sister helps out occasionally when I read about your friend Angela. This family has four children, and three of them have disabilities, two are somewhat severe, emotional as well as physical. Yet the mother never behaves as though sympathy is warranted or wanted. She never complains, which I think is amazing. She is positive and upbeat and takes everything as it comes. What a lady! Best of all, this family does not get angry or judgmental toward those who give dirty looks at public outbursts without any understanding of what their lives are like. Too bad most of us can\’t imitate that goodwill.

  3. Good one M.E. Oh, and by the way, I was asked: same question; same person.
    And of course, since I am in my 80th year and with \’gained wisdom\’ I told him what I think.