DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old single mom of two young girls. After my divorce, I returned to my hometown where my family is. I'm enrolled in school full time and set to graduate in two semesters. I have a 3.7 GPA, my girls are well-adjusted and well-behaved, and I have my own place. My mom primarily watches my girls when I'm in school, and I feel lucky to have her support.
The other day, Mom came into my room and opened my bedside drawer. Like most people, this is where I keep my most private things. She discovered that I had a pack of cigarettes and some marijuana. Abby, I don't smoke often, but sometimes when the kids are down and things are taken care of, I like to smoke a joint, watch some shows and fall asleep. I take care of my responsibilities, and I don't feel like an occasional joint impacts me negatively.
Mom now says she will no longer watch her grandchildren and doesn't want to see me again! I feel completely hurt, violated and disrespected. We said some nasty things to each other, and I can't help but feel like she is completely wrong for reacting the way she did. Any advice would be much appreciated. -- RESPONSIBLE (OCCASIONAL) SMOKER IN OHIO
DEAR RESPONSIBLE: Your mother overreacted, but she should not have been going into your drawer(s). Apologize for whatever you said to her in the heat of anger. (She should also apologize to you for snooping.) Make whatever arrangements you need for child care apart from your mother, and either quit smoking or do it away from your home.
Children are a lot sharper than they are often given credit for, and their sense of smell is particularly acute. In a few short years, they will recognize that Mommy "smokes," so quit setting a bad example. That way, when you tell them that smoking is bad for their health, you won't be a hypocrite.