Sunday, June 15, 2014

Take a Bough, Mr. Leaf!

Between diaper changes, loads of laundry, meal preps and the many other relentless tasks of parenting, I had the opportunity to read Brian Leaf's new book, "Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi‎." Actually, I read most of it while nursing my 4 month old to sleep! For those of you who know me, it won't be a surprise that I'm very much into mindfulness, yoga, gentle parenting, cloth diapering, and other, what some may call, hippy dippy, crunchy granola approaches to life. And that's why this book was fun to read, and if I'm being honest, a little embarrassing too. I'll explain why soon.

In his book, Leaf shares with us his experiences of being a Yogi (you know the meditating, earth conscious, eco conscious, mindfulness type) and a parent...and how they mix well together and how they sometimes don't! It’s a blend of personal (hilarious) stories and well researched facts , providing the reader with information about the many aspects of parenting Leaf has researched and lived through.

I laughed out loud many times while reading because Leaf's honest, humorous style really mirrored so many of the situations that myself and my hubby have found ourselves in while parenting our 4 kiddos. From awkward questions kids ask in public, to that silent ninja ‎escape as you try to extract yourself from the bed while a sleeping baby lies next to all made me remember we are not alone. So many other parents go through the same relentless day to day tasks of raising children. And among all the "hard" stuff, Leaf very poignantly points out all the infinite joy that also comes with raising children. And this is most definitely what makes it all worth it.

What I love most about this book‎ is that it's finally a father's perspective. Not only on parenting, but on an approach to parenting that's considered not so mainstream. It's refreshing for me to get the dad’s side of the story and given me an inside scoop on some of the things my hubby and other father’s feel, and why they do some of the things they do.

It's also very awesome the way he speaks of his wife. Depicting her honestly and beautifully, he demonstrates how he trusts her, how she has been a key part in his development as a father and a more aware, mindful person and how despite her gremlins (yes, we all have them! Especially a tired, sleep deprived Mama) he loves her and would do anything for her and their sons. In today’s society (where I find it hard sometimes to keep my positive outlook of humanity) we need more dad’s like this. Because dad's like this are the role models we need for our sons. And so in honour of Father's Day, I really hope that every parent, but especially fathers and fathers-to-be, could take the time to read this book, in the hopes that they too will feel understood and inspired to be the awesome dads they can be.

OK, so why was I'm embarrassed? Well, like I said already, Leaf's writing style is both humorous and honest. It's the honest bit that really makes the reader, if he or she is open minded and not opposed to self-improvement, see that there are many times as a parent when we mess up. And that's OK. We can move on, we can forgive ourselves, we can learn, and in doing so, become better parents...and people. So yeah there were a few times when I said to myself as reading, "Oh crap, I've done that! Not doing that that way again!"

So, thank you Brian Leaf for taking the time to share your journey with us all‎. Your insights and stories are surely to be a source of humorous and informative inspiration for the parents that read your book. I look forward to seeing if you end up writing one about the teenage years!

And Happy Father's Day to all the hard-working, awesome dads out there.

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