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I'm a Marlboro Mom

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Guest Blogger Mom De Plume: "I've gone a long way from sneaking a smoke in the girl's room. These days I hide my secret from my toddler."

I have a confession -- every once in a while I like to have myself a nice smoke. And so far, my toddler has no clue.

Hey, I'm not all bad. I didn't smoke through my pregnancy or while breast feeding (I did it for six months, but the moment my milk dried up, I switched off the breast pump with one hand and lit a cigarette with the other).

Yet, in her short 2 1⁄2 years of life, she has never seen me smoke.

I smoke outside when she's asleep. I've smoked when she's fallen asleep in our car in our driveway. I've had friends play with her as I sneak out back to sneak a smoke. Up until now she's been completely shielded from my secret.

Until last week.

On a quick errand to buy a pack of cigarettes and a magazine, my darling tot finally caught on at the cash register.

"What's that?" she asked, pointing to the pack of cigs.

"A magazine," I stammered, nervously attempting to distract her.

No dice.

"No, mommy, what's THAT??" she yelled, grabbing at the box.

Suddenly, I'm every horrible mom I've ever read about. I've taken my daughter into a 7-11 to buy cigarettes -- am I half a step away from putting beer in her sippy cup and sending her wandering alone in a parking lot?

I really don't smoke that much, barely a pack A WEEK. Yet, the smarter she gets, even that is going to be hard to conceal.

Maybe I'm doing her a favor -- my mom DIDN'T smoke. I rebelled against everything she did, so I took it up. If I let her in on my secret, maybe when my baby is a teen she'll reject smoking as the filthy, deadly habit it is.

OK, I'm grasping at straws.

But I got to think of something because, frankly, I don't think I'm ready to quit. Is there ever going to be right time to be honest with her about mommy's shame?

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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jenny September 22, 2008, 2:52 PM

Oh, thank you. I also smoke in secret, 1 … sometimes MAYBE 2/day, and always at night when my kids are finally in bed and fast asleep. I feel so awful about it and I know it’s so wrong to admit but I look forward to those five minutes ALL DAY LONG. It’s just five minutes of peace and quiet and I can’t imagine giving that up.

Cindy Cavuto September 22, 2008, 4:19 PM

Ooooh oh that smell. Can’t you smell that smell?

Even though you think she doesn’t know, I’m sure she has noticed that mommy smells funny sometimes. Your best course of action would be to give up the cigarettes altogether, but I’m guessing you already know that.

be ashamed, be very ashamed!! September 22, 2008, 4:22 PM

not really…I blame the breast pump!! I’m an ex-smoker now but I was a smoker and decided to quit when I decided to have kids and once the breast pump went off for good I lit up again. I finally quit for good about a year later… When I was ready!
my goodness… where is all this guilt coming from? If you smoke then you smoke. Don’t hide it. Obviously you’re not ready to quit yet and maybe one you will be. Until then smoke outside, don’t smoke when your kid is in the car, and whenever possible wash your hand after smoking or use hand sanitizer.

Kristin September 22, 2008, 5:25 PM

I am an ex-smoker who started smoking again. I also hide my dirty secret. Honetsly if you’ve never smoked you can never know the feeling. If you are not ready, you’re not. Plain and simple don’t waste the time or money trying. When you are ready (there will come a point as you already know) get the patch. I swear by them!

Quit September 22, 2008, 7:44 PM

I think if you truly cared about your child you’d quit. It’s not about you anymore. What is she going to do when her mom dies of cancer??

Anonymous September 23, 2008, 1:34 AM

Ugh, the secret smoke…I am THERE. Some people don’t regard it as a health thing, to them, its moral and I’m the devil. I take college classes and a professor caught me on break, my one cigarette a day. She actually called me a bad mom, in no uncertain terms.

“Therese! Ne fumez pas! C’est tres mal…ton pauvre fille…”

I knew I was busted, and even though I never smoke around her and will sometimes change my shirt before I go home…I blushed 8 shades. For me, it was the opposite, my mom smoked ALL THE TIME. still does. We’re Irish, so everyone in the family does.

It’s hard to quit…even harder since i keep making excuses for myself.

gentrydog September 23, 2008, 8:42 AM

TELL ME ABOUT IT!!! My 7 yr old went through the “don’t do drugs” program in school and now I have to actually hide out to grab a smoke. She catches me and reads me the riot act about how she doesn’t want her mom to die and goes on and on and becomes hysterical crying. I’ve always been a closet smoker but now it’s INSANE! It’s so easy for some people to quit, but I have tried many times with no avail.

Sandra Deffner September 23, 2008, 3:26 PM

I stopped smoking 3 years ago when I decided to have a child ..I had smoked for over 15 years I come from a family of smokers both my parents smoked and 3 of my 4 siblings smoke.
my father died (smoker who had cancer) just before I decied to have a child. his death made me decied to have a child cause I would never have a picture of my child with my father . well my husbands mother died(ex smoker who had cancer) when I was about 2 months along, his father died 3 months later when I was 5 months along from emphysema.they said his lungs looked like swiss cheese just before he died and that was 5 years after he stopped smoking
My mother is the only grandparent my daughter has and she is gravly ill from smoking she has copd very bad and is in and out the hospital all the time .. my daughters only 2 and when I ask her if she wants to see grandma she says no I dont want to go to the doctors again . she thinks my mom lives in the hospital.
my mom has half heartedly tryed to stop smoking but its very hard for her because she lives in a house with 3 other smokers and 1 of them refuses to smoke outside so they all smoke inside. Its killing my mother and no one seems to care. my mother is only 67 but she is so ill from not getting enough oxygen that she cant really walk anymore . I would love for her myself and my daughter to go to lunch and such but she is too ill for that to happen anymore. she cant even make it to the restroom anymore let alone shower to leave the house .
I havent been able to go visit my mom since shes been out of the hospital this last time because I have a cold and if she gets sick it can kill her.
I sometimes wonder if the last time I saw her will be the last time I ever see her alive

mom22 September 23, 2008, 5:29 PM

Sandra D- I feel your pain. My mom was diagnosed with COPD about 18 months ago. She has been smoke free for about 1 year now. She is only 63. The only reason she is smoke free is she went into the hospital and really thought she was going to die. Yes it sucks my sister swears she does not smoke around but I know my mom still likes the smell. I always tell my kids smoking kills. My 4 year old likes to play “pokin’ I get so aggravated with her. As far as the secret smokers if it’s one a day who cares I’d be more concerned about other judgmental mom’s finding out they can be brutal I imagine. oh and I smoke only when with the girlfriends and when the cocktails are flowing so like maybe 2 a month. shhh don’t tell…

cara September 24, 2008, 10:21 AM

I used to be an addict…back in the ‘90’s, okay….and ‘00 it’s been the road to where I am now, in the best shape of my life, now hear me when I tell you this…..Tobacco is the SLOWEST FORM OF SUICIDE. “Do the cigarette mash” ladies. I swear, I was addicted to opiates in the ‘90’s and up until I started to run,in ‘07, when I woud hit trying times, you know what I craved - A CIGARETTE! They do noting for you other then slowly destroy you body. You don’t get IREI, like with a J, you don’t get anything from it. Go and inhale air, eat a carrot (it’s how I quit) but do not smoke tobacco. (and if you smoke when you drink booze,don’t drink booze - personally, I don’t think anyone should do anything other then an occasional J, but that’s me AND THAT does not ruin your longs, I run an average of ten miles a day! It’s their propaganda)

anonymous September 24, 2008, 3:30 PM

you are SO telling my story! I’ve been very intentional about my 1 year old never seeing me smoke, and even wear different clothes and try to cram in a shower after my daily ciggy…not sure how i’ll keep it up as she grows, but i’ll cross that bridge when i get to it.

i am so glad to know i’m not the only sneaky one

Anonymous October 6, 2008, 1:35 PM

I just have to say…all these comments on the dangers of smoking…

Don’t you know that everything good is bad for you?

Like chocolate? Wine? Skiing?

Read: Obesity, Alcoholism, Accident.

Don’t play like some of you self-righteous ladies don’t weigh a couple hundred and get down on the Big Macs…you’re killing yourself slowly too.

katy February 25, 2009, 8:04 AM

these are old blogs-nobody reads often? so i can vent-do cig smokers REALLY think it can be hidden? you have ONE puff in a room and I will know it. i grew up with 3 smokers and it horrified me from the start. it was a form of abuse, in my mind, just as having 10 unclean litter boxes in a tiny room and forcing someone to live with it would be. if given the choice of smoking 1 puff on a cig or eating a cat poop i would eat the poop(and that would be most unpleasant)but thats how disgusting i find cigs.

Sharon February 25, 2009, 9:23 PM

Katy, who heck cares if you know they smoke. Get over yourself.

Dierdra March 21, 2009, 4:51 PM

I have a light smoking habit also. Sometimes one or two a day, sometimes none for weeks, sometimes 10 when I’m on the long drive to see my kids in another town (I’m a nervous driver!) I quit when I decided to get pregnant with my first son. My kids are grown and I managed to not smoke again until my youngest son had graduated. (Yeah,I know-I can hear your huge groans for starting up after so long!) Then he went directly on a nationwide tour with his rock band for 7 weeks, right before his college started and guess what? Yeah, I started smoking again. At that point I was so worried about all he would encounter on the road that I smoked as a calming down device. Here’s my take on smoking-like it or not.

If you have never had an addiction get off your high horse, and shut up!!! When people are ready they will quit. You do not get to judge what other people do. Help someone, only if they ask otherwise, stay out of their cigarette issue! We are not stupid, we choose to ignore the dangers, so we can continue to relax. Some people have a hard time letting go of things and a cigarette or two helps them unwind. What about your glass or two of wine, etc., it’s doing the same relaxing for you, but is not as dangerous as cigarettes unless you abuse it and use too much. Above comment-agreed, fast food, (meat eaters) unhealthy weight is also a slow suicide. I smoke outside, away from people, by myself, so I can think. I know I will give it up soon, so am not too worried about it.

Do your best, try not to use it as a crutch too often, get away from it as soon as you are able, stop feeling guilty-it’s your business as long as you keep the smoke away from others- be the best, kindest, most humane person to people and animals and all the rest will follow.

Rita October 11, 2009, 10:13 PM

I know exactly how ALL u M.M’s feel. I smoke too, about a pack a week, but I don’t see any point in keeping it a secret. Yes, it is a bad habit, an expensive habit, and it is very hard to quit. Unless you’ve ever smoked, you would never understand. I’m not going to justify it, but I love having one with my coffee on a cold morning. There is no reason to call me a “bad” mommy, because you don’t know me. My hubby quit a couple of yrs ago and hasn’t started again. I smoke outside and I always wash my hands when I’m done.

All that being said, I just wrote a blog about hoping to find a mommy like me on this site. Maybe I should write about hoping to win the big lottery lol.

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