Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

I was curious to learn more about mindful parenting after writing a blog post about it so I turned to the expert. Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting is written by Jon Kabat-Zinn and his wife, Myla Kabat-Zinn. Together they weave together anecdotes from their time parenting with advice and research.


The book starts with introduction to mindfulness. There are many parables which they use to explain what mindfulness is, and what tools are necessary to make mindfulness work for you as a parent. The book then continues to talk about pregnancy, newborns, toddlers, children and teenagers, as well as difficulties beyond the normal scope of parenting.

My issues with the book are twofold. First, I found that a lot of what was being expounded wasn't mindfulness, but attachment theory. They even quote from Dr. Sears! While it is certainly possible to be mindful while practicing attachment theory (and there are those who would argue that you can only practice attachment theory properly if you are mindful), following the 7 Bs is not mindfulness. A lot of time in the book was spent talking about some of these Bs, with only a few sentences here and there to say that if you don't practice these Bs, you can still use mindfulness in whatever you do as a parent.

A lot of emphasis was also put on the idea that babies are only babies for so long, and so we should be more mindful of what they are experiencing and so make sacrifices for them. However, can't mindfulness also help us if we are sacrificing too much? If we are being plagued with doubts about the best course of action? If we need to step back and administer some self-care?

My other problem with the book was that it was too long. If you like a book that meanders its way to the point, stopping to tell stories and make analogies at every bend, then this is the book for you. I, however, appreciate conciseness as much as I appreciate a good analogy, and I feel like the point could have been made a lot sooner and without telling me what to do but how be mindful doing what I am currently doing.

While there are some good things to mine out of this book, I feel like it's another one of those parenting books that is destined to make you feel like you're doing it wrong. I had high hopes that I would really like this book, so I am disappointed that it is not a book I can recommend.

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