Are you a mom or a dad who thinks that smoking or vaping with your drink of choice at the end of the day are an inseparable pair? Maybe this is also something you feel trapped by?
It’s easy to fall into this trap of thinking that a cigarette or vaping at the end of the day with your wine, beer or cocktail is a treat that you can’t live without. But ultimately, the honest result is it leaves you feeling guilty, am I right?
I’m a parent, so I get it. You feel like you’ve made it through the day without anyone ending up in the hospital, the kids are fed, loved, and tucked into their bed. You’ve juggled a million things, and now it’s time to sneak outside to the porch or patio and unwind with your cigarettes or your vaping device and your glass. Guess what? It’s not your fault that you see this as a reward. And you’re not alone. A lot of parents feel this way. I have parents who come into my practice several times a week that have this same story. And they feel stuck. And it doesn’t matter if you smoke throughout the day, or you only indulge in this treat in the evenings. Keep reading.
To your subconscious mind, a cigarette isn’t just tobacco rolled up in paper. It sees it as an escape. It sees it as a symbol of you making it through the day and now you get a treat. At the end of the day, you may go outside and watch Netflix, or scroll through social media, or read while you’re smoking or vaping and indulging in a drink. But your brain sees the cigarette as the portal into this experience. That’s why it values it so highly, and is so insistent that you keep doing it. And that is compounded if it’s something that you and your partner do together. It bonds you, it’s intimate, it’s your thing.
But the cigarette isn’t the actual experience. In fact, the majority of that experience has nothing to do with the cigarette or your juul, puff or vaping device. It’s just that your brain sees it that way. It almost makes you feel as though the smoking gives you the permission to sneak away outside and indulge in your wine or your bourbon and your social media. It feels as though it gives you permission to literally sit and do nothing. Which is something that parents feel guilty about.
And you shouldn’t feel guilty for that. After cooking, cleaning, working if you work outside the home, taking care of kids and pets, sports, school, you name it, you deserve a treat at the end of the day. But it should be a treat that is truly a treat, and not something that is slowly killing you and making you miserable...aka cigarettes or vaping. It’s time to sit down outside, guilt free, and enjoy that drink and Netflix.
Sitting outside with a cigarette isn’t the ultimate retreat. Sitting outside and breathing deeply and relaxing is. But we get addicted to that feeling, so we start to associate smoking or vaping with the feeling of relaxation and unwinding. But we create that association in our brains. The cigarettes and the vaping isn’t the portal, but we think it is. More on that soon.
When you go out with your friends, your brain thinks that cigarette equals party time. You get away from the kids, from the responsibilities, and you really let your hair down. And if you’re a smoker, that means smoking. And your brain sees smoking as the portal to your fun time, to your girl’s night out, or guy’s night out. But then what happens? You wake up the next morning, and your chest feels heavy, and you’re coughing, and you feel horrible. And you wonder why you keep doing this to yourself. You wonder why you keep smoking even though you know it’s taking time off of your life, time that you could spend with your kids.
When we feel guilty, we aren’t our best self when it comes to anything, but especially parenting. We feel like we’re a bad parent. And then we feel bad also if we’re sneaking around to smoke. So there’s extra work and stress involved.
And then we hide our smoking from other parents. We may hide it from our own parents. We are embarrassed and we feel guilty, so we hide it all. And that adds so much stress! And it makes us feel like, why am I doing this? And the answer is because we don’t want our kids to see us smoke or vape, because we don’t want them to see that example. And we don’t want others to know that we smoke because we feel like it makes us a bad parent. We don’t like looking or feeling like an addict. So ultimately, even though our brain sees smoking or vaping as a treat, it makes us feel horrible physically and mentally.
The biggest mistake most people make is they strip away all th other stuff that goes around the cigarette. They think “Okay, well if I'm not going to smoke, then I'm not going to drink, I'm not going to sit down and relax...I'm just going to do chores. I'm going to finish up those things, I'm going to be productive.” They go and they do more chores and then they're wondering like, why am I missing my cigarettes and wine? And, and it's usually because they've stopped giving themselves permission to take a break because the cigarette marks time, it's like, well, if I'm going to go smoke three cigarettes, that's going to take 40 minutes and that's my, and that's the time I have for myself to relax. So as a non smoker you still need to give yourself permission and say “ I have 40 minutes or an hour after I get the kids to just do mindless stuff” because your mind actually needs a break in this time.
Let's say you were going to start breaking the wine and cigarette habit. What you want to do is practice what you're going to do in the evening in your mind in the morning. That's when you have the most willpower. By five o'clock we have zero willpower left, especially with where when we're parents, because all of that willpower has been used up over the course of the day. So you can't hope to get to the end of the day and not smoke and drink if you haven't prepared your mind first.
So you really want to start to practice in your mind like, okay, after I put the kids to bed, I see myself going to the fridge...I'm going to get some nice seltzer water with some lemon and I'm going to get my book or I'm going to get my trashy magazine or I'm going to give myself permission to sit and play my game. Maybe I can sit outside if I live in a nice climate that allows me to do that, cause you maybe are still enjoying that. Or maybe I'll go find a quiet corner and do that. Or maybe my husband and I will sit down and have a cup of tea together and converse and enjoy each other's company. But what you're doing is you're inviting yourself into this new reward scenario and you're doing so in your mind first. So your mind gets used to that idea and it's a lot easier to glide into that. Rather than getting there and going, “I'm not going to smoke or drink tonight.”
Then the other thing is when you're hanging out with your friends, you can still be the non-smoker who hangs out with your friends as a nonsmoker and they really aren't going to think that you're a jerk. They're actually going to want to be like you, right? Like most people who smoke desperately want to stop smoking. But we get into this tribal mentality of like, we all have to be doing the same thing.
You can still have the glass of wine with them, but you're having that glass of wine as a nonsmoker.
If you want to really transition from smoker to non-smoker, I have a free masterclass. In that masterclass you're gonna learn the three mistakes that most people make that keep them in that smoking cycle. You're going to learn the three things that you can do that are going to help you eliminate withdrawal, cravings and weight gain when you stop smoking. You'll also learn how to quit smoking cold turkey wihtout feeling deprived. And you're going to get my four-part stop smoking process that has helped over 10,000 people stop smoking easily and happily in one session. You can register for that here. It's free, online, and on demand, so you can watch it when it's convenient for you as a parent.
And here's my parting thought that as a mom or dad, you are a powerful role model for your kids. Even if they don't even know that you smoke, your becoming a non-smoker, which I know you can do, will change you. It will change your confidence. It will change the way you feel about yourself. It will change the way you hold yourself in the world. And you will be modeling that fabulous behavior for your kids. Like really truly taking care of yourself, really, truly showing up for yourself.
But it starts with you making that decision that that's who you're going to be and what you're committed to. And once you make that commitment from deep within and use your mind effectively, you can absolutely stop smoking easily and effortlessly.
So I look forward to seeing you in the masterclass and have a fabulous day.