Thursday, June 5, 2014

MIsadventures of a Parenting Yogi - Book Review

I appreciate people who can talk honestly about life, especially when it comes to subjects like childbirth and parenting.  I also appreciate funny people.  I really adore people who can talk honestly about life and make me laugh while they do it, which is why I am happy to share a book I just read!  The book is titled Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi.  The title had me at “Misadventures”.  Any book with a title containing that word has got to be filled with some hilarious stuff, right?  Add to that the words parent and Yogi?  Yeah…I’m in.

Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi is all that it purports to be.  It is, just like I surmised, a candid and humorous look at parenting from the viewpoint of Brian Leaf, a yoga instructor (one of his many titles) from Massachusetts.   Brian has managed to create a memoir/parenting book combo that is neither preachy or self-indulgent.  The glimpses into his family life and his attempts at conscious parenting are both funny and poignant and although I did not agree with all of Brian's parenting choices, I could totally relate to his struggle to find his "happy spot" as a dad.  I love that rather than offering advice, he simply shares his experiences and the lessons he has learned while raising his own children.
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite chapters: 
It’s 5:00 AM. I have to pee very badly. 
And I’d like to go meditate.
Someone else would simply get out of bed, pee, and blithely head off to their cushion.Not me.
To do this, I must pull off a CIA operation.
I must remove the covers, inch by inch — in the dead of night our comforter sounds like a crinkly bag of potato chips. I must crawl to the edge of the bed (our bed is pinned against the wall to make room for Benji’s changing table). I must step off, and in the pitch-black, follow the border of the bed frame.
I must round the corner of the bed, where someone who designed our bed has very cruelly placed a jutting protuberance at exactly shin height. At five in the morning I forget this every time. I must stifle my cries. Power through the pain. Eyes tearing, I round the corner and toe the balance-beam width between Benji’s changing table and our bed, ever careful, ninja-like, to step lightly.
I am almost out. But now I face my greatest challenge. The small distance between me and the door, maybe five feet, is a minefield of creaky floorboards. Gwen has them memorized. For some reason I do not. At first I pause to consider my options, and then I panic, sprinting the short distance to the door.
My feet land extra heavy, and the floorboards creak like mad...yet no one awakens. Hashtag grateful.On the way out, I shut the door in one motion, careful that it does not squeak, promising to myself that today is the day I will remember to oil the hinges.
Failure in this operation is not an option. Benji is not sleeping more than two hours at a stretch. Neither, therefore, is Gwen. She is grumpy. I must not wake her or Benji.
So totally relatable, right?  Every parent can picture themselves in this exact same predicament!  And here's one of the answers I liked best from his Q and A session:

Q and A with author Brian Leaf

The subtitle of your book is Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting. What do you mean by Conscious Parenting?
Conscious Parenting is really no different from conscious anything else. It could be conscious Monopoly playing, conscious eating, conscious hiking, or conscious Texas Hold’em. It simply means being aware of whatever is happening – the challenges, the joys, the anxieties, as well as our reactions to all of this. When we are aware of something we are separate from it. So, instead of acting from frustration, elation, or fear, we act from our deeper selves. We see more clearly and are more free to behave as we choose.

And finally, a glimpse of the author in action:

YesWhat he said! You can find Brian's books on sale at both Amazon and on his website. Perfect Father's Day gift!!

Disclosure: I received a copy of Brian's book from publisher New World Library to help facilitate this review, but was not compensated in any way.  All opinions are my own!


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