Smokers: When you smoke, where are your kids?

Katherine - posted on 01/01/2011 ( 69 moms have responded )

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I have a friend who smokes. She is a heavy smoker and has 2 kids. When she smokes she leaves them in the house: Alone. She claims the newborn is sleeping and the 3yo is fine. Seriously?
Since when could a newborn and 3yo take care of themselves? What about the what if's?


Would you or do you do this?

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Rosie - posted on 01/02/2011

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i don't think there's anything with going outside and leaving the kids inside. there's so many things that can go wrong when you're there next to them watching like a hawk. i think it may be a bit paranoid to keep an eye on your children 100% of the time. :)

[deleted account]

Teresa, if I'm making the effort to go outside to smoke, I obviously don't have the windows and doors open so the smoke can linger into the house. Kinda defeats the purpose, no?

Trish - posted on 01/02/2011

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Wow? Showering after a smoke? Sounds like someone is buying into that whole 3rd smoke nonsense. I live in the second most polluted city in the US. I should probably shower every time I come in from the outside. Course, studies show, the inside of the home is usually five times more polluted than the outside. And most of it hovers at about knee level. Who in your house breathes at knee level?

Never crack a window? Do you burn candles? Have a thing for baby powder or talcum powder? Use perfume, cologne, aftershave, underarm deodorant, fabric softener, scented soap, scented lotion, etc? Use hair spray, bug spray, spray wood polishers, etc? Ever burn dinner? Like to dust with the old fashioned feather duster? I could go on and on.

Seriously, all that stuff is pollution. If you burn scented candles, you are probably doing as much damage to your lungs as smoking. Not to mention killing the effectiveness of a static air filter if you have one of those, too. Heard of all those chemicals in cigarette smoke? They almost all come from the paper. Use paper to start your fireplace and you've just added a cigarette carton worth of crap into your air... probably a case worth.

I know we need to demonize cigarette smoking, and I'm ok with it for the most part, but don't think for a minute it is the only bad thing you breathe out there.

Erin - posted on 01/01/2011

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I'm a smoker, and I don't see the big deal with your friend's scenario. It's literally 2 mins, and as long as she can hear them it's really no different to going to the bathroom or laundry.

I smoke on my front verandah/porch, which is right off my living area. There was a stage when she was just starting to get mobile that I could only go out when she was sleeping, but now, at almost 2, I am happy to leave her for those couple of minutes.

Trish - posted on 01/03/2011

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Smoke smells like smoke regardless of where it comes from. I usually smell like whatever I am cooking. Tobacco smells, of course it does. That doesn't mean the smell is from those 1000 chemicals the ads go on about. I personally find pipe smoke to be much nicer 2nd hand. 3rd hand it smells like smoke. Same as if my husband were a fire fighter (he's been a pipe smoker for decades).

I haven't noticed it rubbing off in the car. We've never smoked in our car. Course I peed in it a lot when I was pregnant and my toddler dumped a whole bottle of chocolate milk on the back seat. We also live in a swamp so smell wise that car is f#@&ed up.

Showering is definitely overkill. Course I couldn't shower that often anyway and I only smoke once or twice a day. I'm allergic to shampoo and most soaps. I've tried showering without getting my hair wet, but since I don't use a shower cap when I smoke, I doubt I'd get much of the smoke smell away just washing my skin. I'm topless soon as my front door is shut so I've never had to worry about holding the kids with a smokey shirt. Oh, and just an aside, pour white vinegar into your wash to get out any deep seated smoke smell. Works wonders.

And lastly, just because you can't smell it, doesn't mean you aren't covered in other chemicals that could be harmful to your child. I grew up on a farm/ranch. My father worked with pesticides, herbicides and such all the time. They have little to no smell. My husband drives tankers. Those chemicals hardly ever smell either. He strips when he gets home and keeps his shoes outside. He showers as well depending on how close he got to the chemicals. Very seldom does he gets that close, however. He basically just drives. If he does have to get close he has hazmat clothing he has to wear. We are more concerned about his shoes. They aren't allowed anywhere near the kids. I live in a city that does hard core pesticide spraying. There is also rumors going around about chemicals in the water supply, so showering several times a day would be making that much worse.

I have MCS so you'd think I'd be much more freaked out then you. I just do my research and deal.

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Jeniene - posted on 07/26/2012

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I am the mother of a 3 month old. I work 8 hours a day and after I get home and baby girl fed bathed and sleeping, I enjoy a smoke. I live in an upstairs apartment, so I simply take down the Video/Audio baby monitor and watch her from that. I only take 3-5 minutes, but honestly what about when you're sleeping... If it makes you a bad mother for taking 5 minutes away from your child to smoke then sleeping while your baby sleeps is just as bad (unless you sleep with one eye open) You can tell me smoking is bad... blah blah blah.... I know this already, but who are you to judge? My baby comes first, I know I am a GREAT mom, so that's all that matters at the end of the day :)

Trish - posted on 01/04/2011

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I totally get that if sensitive to the smell of smoke. I can't be around people who use perfume or even fabric softener in their clothes. It is just awful to be stuck in an elevator or small room with such people. I can't be in houses with spray or plug in air fresheners. The worst is scented candles. It all makes me really sick.

[deleted account]

Who's freaking out Trish? I was simply pointing out that if your child were allergic to cigarrette smoke or the lingering effects (as I am) a shower would not be an overkill. I don't care if you shower or not... I don't have to smell you. ;)

I was simply stating how it is for ME.

Veronica - posted on 01/03/2011

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Beverly, you make a strong point - something I ponder alllllllll the time -- just haven't made it a priority in my life, mom comes last in the family -- so mom is least cared for in this household --- i guess its time mom takes care of herself to benefit and fullfill my children..... Never thought of it in this aspect -- the cancers and other health risks involved with smoking - have been one of those, "it will never happen to me" scenerio --- which concludes how naive and ignorant i am about my health and smoking..... Thank you dearly, Bev.

Veronica - posted on 01/03/2011

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I smoke, I smoke outside. Ive left my children in the house by themselves as I smoked. However, my ears and eyes are open to their every move, because the minute Im out of sight, my kids take it as a free for all, get into everything and anything they can while mom is out the door --- I usually get a few puffs in, and then i have to snuff it out and run back in the house to stop someone from doing something. I smoke more when my hubby is home, and he is inside with the kids, while i run outside - and I also save most of my smoking until the kids are all in bed at night. Ive always had a 'smoking' jacket (mainly cause majority of the year its winter-like-weather) and I almost always wash my hands, cause Im always dealing with kids/food,etc.
I also leave my kids 'on their own' when I have to take a shit, take a shower, run down in the basement to switch laundry, cook supper, clean house, etc.etc. I just have to trust that they will be ok, and if something did happen, that I can handle it. A person cant hold their child's hand with everything - and I have 6 - i cant be everywhere at once. I focus more on safety in the house itself - if I have to leave my 9 mo. unaccompanied, I either have my 8 year old right there, secure him in his carseat, or put him for a nap first, and then do what I need to do. My two year old gets into everything imaginable, and when I need to do somethig without supervision of him - i put him in his room, until im finished with what im doing -- its for his own safety and protection, as right now, he is the busiest little boy ever! hahahaha the other kids I dont have too much of a worry about - they are almost 4 up to 8 - and are out of those stages, and mainly play or watch tv anyways. As for an earlier question - Id like to know when sex occurs too -- we are lucky to have any at all, and its usually in the nighttime hours, or naptime if we are lucky!! hahahaha

Yes, smoking is a dirty habit -- but its one of those things, at the time, that is MINE and MINE only -- the rest of me and my belongings are the kids' too -- I cant even eat a candy bar, without having to share it with everyone! hahahaha Usually i have to hide tons of 'mom's goodies' and wait til they are all asleep to delve into my stash.
Kudos to those who are at least stepping outside with the smoke, and washing up --- its a dirty habit, but at least you arent puffin away at your kids in the house, and having at least the common sense. Non-smokers - I commend you for not smoking, or quitting smoking -- I dont down you for your choice to not smoke - and I would go out of my way to smoke as far away as possible from you as I could, my children are non-smokers too, and I respect them enough to stay away from them when I do, and take care of my 'mess' the best that I can. We are allowed choices in life, and smoking happened to be one we chose.

Beverly - posted on 01/03/2011

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Katherine, you ask, would you do this?? Well first of all I think the question should ask, "What will you do when your children will be left alone without you forever!" This is a thought, STOP SMOKING! I have watched a few people close to me die of lung cancer and it aint pretty, but in your case you debate if they should be left alone or not? When you die from cancer you will leave them and it won't be a choice you make, your lungs will say, bye, bye!! Please think of your little one's and pray their not raised by someone else, be around for a long time to raise them yourself.

[deleted account]

While I most certainly am not going to tell a smoker how to handle things.... I just wanted to point out (yes, again) that 3rd hand smoke IS a real danger... especially to those who are sensitive to it. The first time my ex had visitation w/ my son... he smoked while holding my son. When my son came home for his 2 hour 'nurse and nap' break.... I had to strip my son down to his diaper (left the clothes outside) and baby wipe his entire body. I still spent the entire 2 hours coughing uncontrollably.....

Of course, I do live where pollution is minimal. Good thing or I'd probably be dead by now.

[deleted account]

Well that's interesting! Thanks, Sherri. I try not to be too over protective or freak out too much, and I usually think I do a pretty good job......but looking back, I guess I'm weird about things I can't see, but smell :P Like If J ate a cheerio he found behind the sofa that was probably 2 weeks old and covered in dog hair, I didn't blink an eye, but if my husband picked him up in his "smoke shirt" I'd go ballistic....okay, you're probably right, might have been a bit irrational on that :P
On the plus side, all the hoops he had to jump through to smoke gave him a great incentive to quit!

Sherri - posted on 01/03/2011

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Ya Kelly sorry it is way overkill. I protect my kids the best I can but I am not going to freak out about ever small little thing. They are more likely to have trouble from pollution then 3rd hand smoke.

Desirée - posted on 01/03/2011

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I stopped smoking before I got pregnant, and am happy to say I didn't start up again! But I like most moms who replied don't see a problem with what your friend is doing. It is just like doing any other chore around the house and leaving your little one for a short while, except this one is a pleasurable chore haha.

[deleted account]

Really?!? You think the shower is overkill? I always made my husband shower after smoking and he never said a thing about it.
I do buy into the 3rd hand smoke stuff--I could smell that stuff on his clothes HOURS after he had a cigarette. Something had to be left on the shirt to make it smell like that. I could smell it in his car if he wore clothes that he smoked in in his car, so i know it rubs off onto other things (like my kid) too.

One question, if the chemicals are mostly in the paper, how come pipe smokers smell too?

Erica - posted on 01/03/2011

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I'm not a smoker...but I guess apparently I'm just a terrible mom...We live in an upstairs apartment, and when it's really cold outside, I leave my 2 year old, watching tv to take our dog out...which is only for about 2-5 minutes, cause I rush him to go potty....and then I'm back up...thankfully the walls are not really thick to the point where I can't hear her scream if anything happens and sometimes I see her watching me from our sliding doors- which is cute cause she'll wave...but anyways- my dog is to stubborn to pee/poop on the balcony...but the time I come back up the only thing I've come up to see, is her using my phone to call people in my call history... So if a smoker needs to smoke outside, I don't see the harm....

[deleted account]

"It's like SHIT! You're driving me nuts, run outside puff, puff, pufff."

Exactly!!! LOL! Half the time I don't even get a whole one, just enough to get my nic fix and then get back to it. Sometimes it takes me three times to smoke a whole cigarette. Which is good, because it keeps me from smoking as much. At the end of the day, I total about maybe 5 smokes on average. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Lately, with the holidays over (hallaluja!!!), less :)

Katherine - posted on 01/02/2011

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Yeah, I need my time outs too Sherri.

It's like SHIT! You're driving me nuts, run outside puff, puff, pufff. Run back in take a shower....haha just kidding.

[deleted account]

I smoke outside and my kids do the same thing as they do when I'm inside. Seriously? Most moms, even the smokers, put their kids needs before everything else.

Joanna - posted on 01/02/2011

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When my daughter was a newborn I'd shower after every smoke, but I only smoked twice a day so it wasn't too much. Then I started smoking more, so I'd just change my shirt and wash my hands. I had a "smoking shirt," so I'd wear that to smoke, then change back into my normal shirt. I figured if I was holding her close to give her bottles and cuddles, it'd be respectful Of me to not have the yucky smell around her.

Nikki - posted on 01/02/2011

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lol, I don't know that I have ever heard of anyone showering after a smoke. Imagine the water bill for a pack a day smoker!

Sherri - posted on 01/02/2011

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Certainly no shower after a cigarette or change of clothes. Honestly don't wash my hands each and every time after either. Just being honest.

Jodi - posted on 01/02/2011

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Heck, sometimes I used to sneak off for a smoke JUST to get away from the kids. Now that I have given up, I just lock myself in the bathroom with a book instead.....they always still seem to find me :/

To the shower after a smoke, I think that is overkill. Washing hands, yes, but a full shower?

Lindsay - posted on 01/02/2011

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Well I don't shower between each smoke. I do come in and wash my hands. *gasp*

[deleted account]

For me, the difference between running out to take the trash or pick up the mail and running out for a quick smoke is that you don't have to shower after running out for mail or trash. I just don't see how anyone can smoke, shower, and get dressed in the time it takes to run the trash out.

That said, I still don't see a problem with it--the real danger would be while the mom was in the shower, and I'm pretty sure we all leave out kids long enough to take a shower in the morning, so it should be the same later in the day.

Sherri - posted on 01/02/2011

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I smoke and leave the kids in the house. It is only for about 3mins. I really was never concerned and my kids are now 13, 12 & 4. They now where I am but lord sometimes just give me those 3 mins to myself.

Heck I used to shower when they were little too everyday and that took a heck of a lot more time then having a cigarette.

Kim - posted on 01/02/2011

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At least she is going outside. I know a lot of smokers who think nothing of lighting up in the house or car with their kids there. My family all smoked and in the house, car everywhere. Of course this was years ago. I couldn't believe how bad the house smelled once I moved out and visited. I never smoked. I did work in daycare and some poor kids would come in and they would stink of cigarette smoke and the inside of their backpacks. Its just sad this day in age when they know how bad cigarette smoke is for themselves yet still smoke with their kids present.

Amanda - posted on 01/02/2011

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I smoke and I smoke outside. I usually go out for a few puffs quick and it's usually only when my oldest who is 7 is with the younger ones. I don't see the difference between running out to smoke quick and taking a quick shower, or poop! I mean seriously! I usually wait until naptime, or early in the morning while they are still in bed.

Trish - posted on 01/02/2011

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Yes. I've done this. Once the newborn and the 3year old are in bed at night, I go out for a smoke. I don't smoke much. Sometimes I'm too tired to even bother, but I have done it and will do it again. I'm just outside the door as I'm sure your friend is. You never leave the house for any reason for any length of time without your kids? I know people who wait for their kids to nap so they can garden, wash the car, take the garbage out (which takes the same amount of time as smoking where I am), talk with a neighbor, chase off the neighborhood mutt, and so on. If you live your life always worrying about the "what ifs", you'll smother your children and yourself. Crime is lower than it was in the '70s. Fire and other accidents haven't changed in decades. My mom and dad used to leave us kids alone for hours when we were little. We grew up on a working farm/ranch. Life and earning a living doesn't stop just because you have kids. And it's just plain stupid to get a baby sitter for every five minutes you step outside your door to smoke a cig.

[deleted account]

I step out onto the front porch a few times a day for a smoke and leave the 3 year old inside. He doesn't nap, so that's no longer an option. It doesn't take long to smoke a cig, especially in the cold lol It's not like I'm gonna sit outside and leisurely smoke my cig in this cold....I pretty much hot box them these days or just smoke halves (or until my fingers freeze, whichever happens first lol). Also, I always wash (ALWAYS) my hands immediately after I smoke. I've always done this, even before I had Jacob. I don't like the smell....go figure.

Katherine - posted on 01/02/2011

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And why do I have to post right after you? Now you'll get a notification for my deleted post lol. Sorry.
They really need to fix that glitch.

Sarah - posted on 01/02/2011

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I stand outside my back doors, which are glass, so I can see right inside.
I don't think there's anything wrong with popping outside.
You can't always be right their side every minute.

Katherine - posted on 01/02/2011

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Very true Dana.
But that woman was off her rocker IMO.
I know you do it and I know your story and I'm ok with that. That woman made it sound like she just LEFT.

[deleted account]

This thread reminds me a lot of the 20 month old in the tub.....it depends A LOT on circumstances, the layout of the house, your child etc. There is no right or wrong answer.

Stifler's - posted on 01/01/2011

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I put my kid in his playpen and go hang out washing or take the rubbish out or check the mail too. Or vacuum in another room without watching him. She could see him through the front windows but she opened the windows so she could hear the tv... defeating the purpose of going outside.

Johnny - posted on 01/01/2011

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I don't know. I take out the trash from the basement when my daughter is playing upstairs and I even go down to do the laundry and she's out of sight. But it definitely takes less time than having a whole cigarette and I can still hear her. Having a 2 year old in the house, I'm not sure I'd consider knowing what she's up to as "hovering".

Although, I've got no issue with the baby monitor thing. If my friend had bothered to set one up and take it outside, she would have, in all likelihood, heard her son knocking a potted plant down the stairs before his own fall. I'm sure most of us take our eyes off our children quite often, but we still have a good idea about what is actually going on. Hearing is also an excellent one of the senses.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/01/2011

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When my son was young, he would be napping if I needed to step out. I would take the baby monitor outside with me.

Lindsay - posted on 01/01/2011

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I don't see much of a problem with it either. I am a smoker and don't smoke in the house but it's definately not the only time I'm not and haven't been hovering over the kids. Me walking out to get the mail, sign for a package, or bring in the toters from the road takes longer than stepping out for a quick smoke.

Charlie - posted on 01/01/2011

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I don't see the problem if the child is asleep and the three year old is playing I don't smoke but I do leave the room or house to hang washing while my two year old is playing, I honestly don't think i need to be hovering over them twenty four hours a day .

Becky - posted on 01/01/2011

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I don't smoke, but I have stepped outside for a couple of minutes to take out the trash or recycling or get something from the truck and left the kids inside. They've been fine. Usually Zach follows me to the door and cries at me until I come back in because he wants to come out with me!
Hmmm, some of you are going to think I'm a terrible mother when I tell you this... There have been a few times when I have gone out in the backyard or even over to the neighbors behind us (before we had fences between our yards, so it was a 5 second run across the yard back to our house) after the kids were in bed and asleep. I always take the baby monitor with me, but Cole is in a bed, not a crib, so I guess he could get up and something could happen. I'm never more than a minute away though - I'd never go out of range of the monitor.

Jodi - posted on 01/01/2011

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I used to smoke. Our living room is an area that can be totally shut off and my toddler couldn't get out. I used to smoke outside with the door closed, but could see her at all times. No biggie.



However, when she was about 4, she used to follow me outside, pick up a stick and pretend she was smoking. THAT freaked me out, and is the reason I have now not had a cigarette for 1 1/2 years!!!

Stifler's - posted on 01/01/2011

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I don't smoke so no. My old housemate used to leave her son inside and go out the front to smoke, quite pointless since she'd leave the front windows open and let smoke in the house.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/01/2011

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I guess if you have them in a safe area where you can either see them or if infants in a crib have a monitor to hear them - it probably beats the heck out of smoking around them. It's certainly preferable to smoking in your house as long as it is done safely. As far as I know the whole thing takes about five minutes.

Obviously it's best to not smoke, but I'd rather people kept the smoke away from the kiddies as much as possible if they do have to smoke.

[deleted account]

yea i have sex a couple times a day, nap time and when shes asleep is when that happens.NEVER when shes awake, she needs my supervision at all times, shes at that age when everything is interesting and who knows what she might get into while im gone.

Johnny - posted on 01/01/2011

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A friend of mine's son fell down the basement stairs and broke his leg while she was out having a smoke. He was 3 1/2, it was about 6 years ago now. She thought he was watching tv, but he climbed over the baby gate and fell. He was lying there for who knows how long while she was out back out of sight having her cigarette. She couldn't hear him because the door was closed. Personally, I think that if you can't see the kids or at least hear them while doing something else, you should do it later when they are either asleep or safely being cared for by someone else. Oh, and when my husband and I are having sex a couple times a day (which happens sometimes on weekends) she's either asleep at night, having a nap, at the playground with our neighbor or next door playing with her friend.

Petra - posted on 01/01/2011

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I smoke and my boy is either with his Papa or in his playpen when I go out. When he was younger I mostly smoked when he was sleeping, but he's cool with hanging out in his playpen for a few minutes now. I watch him through the window and we make faces and laugh at eachother the whole time.

[deleted account]

Kiara, smoking right outside the door w/ it open completely defeats the purpose of going outside.



Thank you for answering Dana. That's what I figured would make more sense. As I said, my question is only coming from someone so extremely sensitive to smoke that I am seriously effected by even a trace of 3rd hand smoke....

Kiara - posted on 01/01/2011

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I agree with Erin.She smokes what do you want her to do smoke around the kids.Her nw born slps all day long n her 3yr is a baby bt nt a child that she cnt leave in the crib or n their play area to play being right outside to smoke.I smoke cig heavily with a 4mon n 3yr old.I keep my babies right in my eyesight y i stand otuside my door with it open n smoke.I mean if this is such a thing to you have you even considered what she should do if what she's doing isn't right.

[deleted account]

My mom smoked around us,,, then we started pressuring her to smoke outside, she just hung out the window?? The smoke still came in, eventually she started going outside. So now the youngest two can grow up in a smoke free home....too bad she had no sense when i was young...the youngest is 8 though. so hes big enough to take care of himself for the whole 4 mins it takes her

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