Parents

'Marijuana moms' say smoking pot makes them better parents

Kaycee Bawdon is out to show that smoking marijuana while taking care of children is perfectly acceptable.

When the mother of four from central California gets together for a playdate with other moms, they often enjoy some herbal refreshment while kids frolic in the yard nearby.

Whether it's smoking from a bong or lighting a joint, these moms make marijuana a regular part of their lives.

"Mommy needs a joint just as much as mommy needs a glass of wine,'' Bawdon told Maria Shriver on TODAY Tuesday. "You can still be a good parent and use marijuana at the same time."

Middle-aged parents are now more likely to use pot than their teenage children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bawdon, 30, and her friends believe marijuana helps treat pain and depression and also helps them relax and boosts their productivity. Recreational pot use is legal in California.

"I can smoke it and go clean my whole house and do all my laundry and just get everything done,'' Elizabeth Orduno told Shriver.

"I feel like I am actually more focused and attentive while I am medicated, it kind of gives me that spruce of energy that I don't have,'' another mom, Saydee Perkins, added.

Bawdon, who started a blog called "The Cannavist Mom," suffers from migraines and says prescription pills left her feeling foggy and disconnected.

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Until six years ago, she was staunchly anti-marijuana. When she was 5, parents services removed her and her three siblings from her home due to her own parents' drug abuse, according to the bio on her blog.

Her husband, who has smoked marijuana since he was a teen, urged her to try it for her migraines instead of pharmaceuticals. Now she grows it on her patio and says it has made her pain-free and a much better parent.

"I've heard from hundreds of moms who use marijuana,'' she said. "They're happy that I'm out there, putting it out there. There are so many moms that are still hiding because they're ashamed. And you shouldn't be ashamed."

Some health experts warn against parenting on marijuana, and the CDC says it has strong evidence that smoking pot can lead to addiction, memory problems, short-term declines in memory and learning and more effects.

"One's reaction time may be slowed, ability to respond in an emergency, coordination may be impaired,'' Dr. Larissa Mooney of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center told Shriver. "Smoking is inherently unhealthy, and by sending the message that we're smoking something to take the edge off or to cope with pain, that sends a message to our children."

Bowdon says she and her friends smoke marijuana in moderation and use designated drivers. They also warn their children never to touch "mommy's medicine" and make sure to keep their pot, pipes and other paraphernalia out of reach.

The CDC says marijuana use may cause an increased risk of low birth weight for babies while also increasing their risk of developmental problems.

Using marijuana hasn't come without a backlash for Bowdon. A mother of one of her daughter's friends banned her child from going to Bowdon's home after discovering her blog.

"She saw that I was a cannabis mom and then all of a sudden, 'Savannah's mom's a pothead and I don't want you hanging out with her anymore,''' Bowdon said.

Her ultimate goal is to normalize moms using pot and remove the stigma that comes along with it.

"I feel like people think that marijuana makes you lazy, that you're just gonna sit on the couch and kinda let life pass you by and let your kids pass you by,'' she said. "And it doesn't. I'm out there, playing with my kids, and we're just that normal family."

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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