I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links. Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi is written by author Brian Leaf. This Dad and yogi shares his quest to be a conscious parent (which reminds be a bit of the tenets of Nonviolent Communication) in a totally relatable and hilarious way.
Though this is more of a memoir than a “how to,” you might find a lot of tidbits to help you become a better parent. If nothing else, Leaf’s take on popular parenting books like Playful Parenting, Unconditional Parenting, The Attachment Parenting Book, and Simplicity Parenting might give you ideas for additional reading material. I chuckled when I read his final thoughts on Free-Range Kids and totally agree on his take on tuna & coyotes. What? Read the book and see if you agree too. 😉
Mr. Leaf doesn’t claim to have it all figured out, but shares what he’s learned about conscious parenting, and things that worked as well as what sometimes didn’t. He tells a story of chasing his kids around a party, a dinner out with his kids that I’ve experienced nearly word for word and brilliant parenting advice to CTFD (calm the F**K down.)
Leaf is doing the best he can to raise his children well, acknowledging mistakes he has made, and realizing there’s no one-size-fits all. He even resorted to Tylenol when “eye of newt” didn’t do the trick. He has some pretty “crunchy” ways of doing things, yet he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He says that he can guess if you fall into the mainstream, alternative, or “nearly Amish” parenting category, with a few quick questions, such as what you did with your placenta. I fall between the alternative and “nearly Amish” columns (as he says he does as well.)
Brian hits tough topics like divorce, saying that “with no time to connect, lacking sleep […] parents of very small children […] are not of sound mind to make such a life-changing decision. Unless they are.” He shares: “Before I ram the car in front of me for driving below the speed limit, I ask myself ‘Have I slept less than seven consecutive hours, eaten six brownies, or had a fight with Gwen?’ If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then I give the driver a second chance before he meets the front end of my Corolla. The same must be true for our partners.”
The author gives factual information about home birth and circumcision, as well as his own thoughts & opinions and great advice like “never argue with a woman in labor.” I was anxious to read the chapter on cloth diapering, which begins “Cloth diapers are superior to disposables in every single way, except convenience.” Eh, okay. I guess I can give him that. After all, throwing something away sure seems more convenient than washing it. However, cloth is always ready to use, with a quick wash & dry. No worries about running out of diapers, your child growing out of a size of disposables right after you stocked up, no price shopping or clipping coupons, no smelly diaper pail & having to drag it to the curb on trash day. Next he says “But cloth diapers are a pain in the a**. They smell. You have to scrape the poop into the toilet. You have to keep a bin in the bedroom to soak them, and you have to do a lot of laundry. And cloth diapers get stained. They’re vile, really.” Huh?
I turned the page, read. Next page. Aha. His washing method was soaking in 50% vinegar/50% water, then washing in hot water twice. Water. No detergent. None. Welp, there’s your problem! Stink, stains, the whole lot. Would you wash your socks that way? Your underwear? Then why urine & feces soaked diapers. In any case, what’s done is done and it’s too late to help him but I had a hard time concentrating on the rest of the book after that. I had to take a break! I really hope no one reads the book and is turned off by cloth diapers, or thinks that’s the proper care process, or that they should stink & stain! Need washing help? I’ve got you covered. Take a look at my washing cloth diapers post.
So, aside from the cringe inducing cloth diaper chapter I really enjoyed this book. Brian Leaf shares thoughts & feelings that we don’t usually hear from men, and his writing style & humor make it very easy to read. The book is endorsed by Amber Dusick, author of Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, A. J. Jacobs (whose books I adore) as well as authors of several parenting books.
I can’t say much more other than, read the book. You won’t regret it!