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How not to smell like weed when you sneak out for a puff around the relatives this season

Mom 4/20: ‘We mothers have to plot our 15-escape as if we were spies’

This holiday season, many of us will be sneaking away from our relatives to smoke a joint. Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus

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    In the article “Your mom is destined to annoy you” in The New York Times, the author sums up what many of us feel as we amp up for the holidays with relatives: “I have a 48-hour serenity limit when I’m with my parents. After two days, it’s like an alarm sounds inside me and sends me right back to 1999,” she writes. “I’m a petulant teenager again with a bad attitude, and everything my mother says, no matter how innocuous, inspires the response, ‘Ugh, Mom, stop nagging me!’”

    48 hours? Impressive! My “serenity limit” can be getting through one dinner. Last summer, I spent five consecutive days at the cottage with my parents and my children, and much of that time I was on very low-dose pot capsules. This was not because my kids were driving me crazy, but it helped me deal with my ultra-organized mother who had activities planned for us down to the hour. I purchased pre-rolled joints for the first time. I figured, I was on holiday and if I could get through a day being forced to do activities like I was at a Club Med, then I deserved to get buzzed at night as my parents and children watched a movie.

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    This holiday season, many of us will be sneaking away from our relatives to smoke a joint. We mothers have to plot our 15-minute escape as if we were spies. You need to be ultra-prepared, so you don’t smell of weed, which can lead to your 85-year-old dad saying something like: “It smells like skunk. You better not let the dog out.” Even though I’m pretty sure most dads know that smell really isn’t skunk, just their adult children sneaking out for a puff.

    Once I’ve managed to “escape,” I go to my car trunk, which is where I hide supplies in an old beach bag to make sure I don’t smell when I smoke a joint. I call it my Cannabis Emergency Kit. First, I throw on a ratty old bathrobe over whatever I’m wearing because I don’t want my coat or outfit to smell of pot. I also always wear a hair elastic around my wrist. I put my hair back in a low ponytail, and I stick that ponytail inside the back of my shirt. And, no matter how hot or cold it is outside, I always put on a specific hat, used only for the times I smoke a joint, because I’m obsessed with my hair smelling pretty at all times.

    I also own a lot of dollar store mittens, so my hands won’t stink when I hold a joint. I move around while smoking, trying to dodge the smoke, which is fruitless. In my ratty bathrobe, hat on my head, with one mitten, I try to enjoy the joint as much as I can, while appearing like I’m in some sort of witness protection program, and praying that I’m not going to hear, “Mommy! Mommy! I want to play Connect Four for the 130th time!”

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    After I’m in a nice “holidaze” what comes next is what I call, “the Post-Toke Freshen Up” phase, by far the most important steps for the Secret Mommy Toker. Of course, I have gum and mints. That’s rookie stuff. My trunk kit also includes hand sanitizer, Visine for red eyes, vanilla-scented hand and body lotion, which I’ll rub in my hands and on my entire face, especially around my mouth and neck. And yes, those are laundry detergent sheets in my trunk, which I use to rub on my hair and clothes. One of my mommy friends taught me this brilliant trick, almost like Febrezing yourself.

    Some of my friends will actually smoke a cigarette to cover up the smell of a joint, which I find funny, because then they have to go through the entire process of de-stenching cigarette smoke. One of my friends starts cooking, so the aroma of homemade garlic sauce sticks to her clothes and hair instead of the weed she just smoked outside.

    All these steps, both pre- and post-toke, can take a while, even longer, when you’re buzzed. Sometimes, I’m like, “Shit, I just put hand sanitizer on my face!” Or, “Where’s my gum? I can’t find my gum. Oh, it’s in my mouth!” But here’s the truth. After all this work, we still stink.

    There is one other option: Telling the truth, which is what I did over the summer. When I arrived at the cottage, I immediately told my parents, “I may step out sometimes. I don’t want to hear any comments or questions. Oh, and can I use this empty water bottle as an ashtray?” Yes, our parents can make us middle-aged mothers revert to acting like petulant teens. Now, when I think about all the pre- and post-steps I take to hide the fact I partake, I’m actually feeling like a teen again. Oh, the irony!

    Rebecca Eckler is the author of Blissfully Blended Bullshit.

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    Mom 4/20: ‘We mothers have to plot our 15-escape as if we were spies’

    ‘My friends are still sneaking out’: the truth about life as a quaranteenager

    From the pressures to socialise to family tensions, life under lockdown can be hard for adolescents

    The day that school ended, everything suddenly seemed irrelevant. We’d all been told that the summer after GCSEs would be the best of our lives. As well as the school prom, I had been planning to go on holiday with friends to Paris and Pembrokeshire and two festivals.

    Instead it feels like all of that all these rites of passage have been taken away from me. At first, I was so sad that I just lay in my bedroom. I think my parents were worried – they had to tread on eggshells around me because I was struggling with the idea of not being able to see all my friends. Things have improved between us, but there is still tension about how I’m spending my days.

    I’m trying to keep in contact with my friends on Facetime and Houseparty – an app that allows users to have group video conversations. At the start it was exciting, and we’d be on until 3am. Now, it’s dying down a bit.

    I know lots of the boys in my year see Houseparty as a way to pick up girls. Strangers can join your video calls and I’ve had random guys join in while I’m trying to talk to my friends. There’s this one guy called ‘John’ from South Africa who sometimes joins our chats with his camera off. I’m not sure who knows him, but it’s become an ongoing joke now.

    Some friends are still sneaking out to see their boyfriends and a group of boys I know have been sneaking out to a roof to smoke weed all night. I know risk taking is a normal part of teenage life, but I do think they are being irresponsible and selfish.

    I don’t know the long-term effect all of this will have on our friendships. It was my best friend’s birthday and I made her a cake and sat in her garden, where we chatted from two metres apart. She posted a picture of it to her Snapchat story, and straight away a girl messaged me to say I had no respect for the lockdown.

    I feel frustrated and angry that everything I knew was suddenly taken away from me. It’s been really difficult thinking about all the things I should be doing now, how much we’re losing. But my physical health has got better. I’ve stopped smoking and vaping. My parents knew I smoked, but I’m not interested anymore now I’m not going to parties.

    I’ve started going on bicycle rides every day and I’m cooking more. We’re sitting down and eating meals together, whereas before I would always be out, seeing friends. I have two older brothers, and we’re helping much more than we ever did – someone now cooks, washes up and clears the tables for every single meal. So, if anything has come out of this, our family bonds are probably tighter than before.

    *name changed to protect identity

    As told to Alice Hall

    During what can only be described as an extraordinary time for the world, the Telegraph wants to give readers the opportunity to come together as a community. Join our Facebook Group.

    From the pressures to socialise to family tensions, life under lockdown can be hard for adolescents