First and foremost I wanted to thank everyone so much for all the comments on my marathon recap! I had tears while I was writing the post, tears as I reread the post, and then tears as I read the comments about some of you having tears as YOU read the post. You all really made my day. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.
Between Betty, work, and marathon training I haven’t had a whole lot of time recently to sit down with a book and that makes me a little sad. Reading is relaxing and I could certainly use a little more of that in my life. So when I was contacted a little while back by an author by the name of Brian Leaf asking me if I would like to read and review his new book, I was all about it. Especially after learning the title.
Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi? I didn’t need to know what it was about. I felt I could relate to it immediately based on the title alone. I’m a yogi! And I do a lot of parenting! And I tend to have a misadventure anywhere from 3 to 5 times per week! Never mind the fact that I did not read one single solitary parenting book during my pregnancy. THIS book was written by a yoga instructor. I wanted to know exactly what he had to say.
This is also my first review of a book ever unless you count book reports in school so bear with me. I kind of have no idea what I’m doing.
This book follows Brian Leaf’s trial and error approach to raising his two sons with his wife, Gwen. (Gwen is Canadian and sounds like a total bad ass.) He tackles major issues that affect probably most new parents-to-be such as home birth vs. hospital birth, the great diapering dilemma (cloth? no cloth? no diapers at all?), cosleeping, and breastfeeding. As the boys get older he explores Attachment Parenting, Dr. Spock style parenting, and also delves into other styles that I had never even heard of up to this point: Playful Parenting, Simplicity Parenting, and Unconditional Parenting. And through all of this, even though he has much less time to attend classes, the basic principles of yoga are alive and well every day in his interactions with his family.
The Leafs sound like a really lovely family, but my family would definitely be considered “mainstream” by comparison. The earlier chapters, while humorous and engaging to read, were pretty much completely at odds with everything we did with Betty when she was really small: for example we left our placenta at the hospital, she slept in her room almost from day 1 and I have a giant stack of Pampers Reward points that I never bothered to cash in on. But even though I couldn’t relate to much of what he was saying, I was determined to finish out the book before forming an opinion on it and I’m glad I did. He has experienced things with his boys that I am only just getting into with my daughter now and as I read along, I started bookmarking many pages and then I went wild and even broke out a highlighter.
I know Betty is adorable in all the pictures I post of her, but she’s also 2 and anyone who has ever parented a 2-year-old knows that sometimes the situation is the complete opposite of adorable. I have had my fair share of not-so-graceful moments where I have struggled with how to handle it. Brian Leaf put a lot of things into perspective for me. Something so simple as not taking things that a small child says personally (which I’ve had to re-reference in my brain at least 5 times in the past week when I hear “I don’t like Mommy”) or the easy ways to acknowledge and address her feelings, which is becoming more and more prominent in our lives now that she is able to express to us in words that she is angry or sad. Or happy because usually she is pretty happy. Except for this morning when she was wicked pissed that we wouldn’t let her wear her pajamas to school.
I think in the end, the thing I ended up liking the most about this book is that while it’s a parenting book, it’s really not a parenting book. “Conscious parenting” is not a ‘style’. There aren’t a set of rules that you have to stick to with it. It’s about being mindful of the way that you talk to your kids and address their needs, which really is just OBVIOUS parenting.
If you are a parent-to-be and the word “doula” is a part of your vocabulary, you will probably love this book from start to finish. It’s insightful, informative, and funny in all the right places (plus he quotes Kindergarten Cop at one point which basically makes me want to be his best friend). But even for more mainstream parents such as myself, there is a ton of value in it, especially in the later chapters. I know I’ll be revisiting my highlighted pages probably pretty frequently over the next year at least.
I’ve heard 3 is more challenging than 2. I don’t even really want to think about that right now.
Thanks again to Brian Leaf for the very cool opportunity to read and review his book! You can find out more information – including where you can pick the book up if you want to give it a read – on the web right HERE.
What was the last book you read? Did you like it? (Now that I’m through this one, I’m in the mood to keep reading and I need some more recommendations!)