“The Myth of Smegma.” You know a book is going to be a thrill ride when you glance at the Table of Contents and see a chapter with THAT title. Let’s face it? How many books have YOU read where the word smegma is smiling up at you from chapter 9?
A couple of months back, this pretty popular dad author-blogger-yoga teacher emailed me and asked if I wanted to check out his newest book. I was familiar with the author, Brian Leaf, and knew that his writing style and sense of humor resonated with me. I’m ridiculously short on time these days and typically have to decline offers to review books but for some reason my subconscious was screaming “you’d be a fool to pass this book up Jennifer.” I have learned the hard way that my subconscious is one accurate mamma-jamma so I went ahead and replied back with a whole-hearted “sure, why not?”
All links to the book are through my affiliate partner, Amazon.
When Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi arrived, my daughter grabbed the package hoping it was something for her. She tore open the envelope, saw the illustration of a baby, and got pretty excited. You can of course imagine her dismay when she opened it up and discovered that the book was lacking in any additional illustrations. She threw the book at me, screamed something unintelligible, and ran into the house sobbing. I on the other hand, took advantage of this rare moment of solitude and stood in the driveway reading the Preface and Chapter 1. I about peed my pants from laughing so hard. (Not that this is special in and of itself. After having a baby, bladder control isn’t what it used to be.)
But seriously. In 10 pages, Brian had me HOOKED. I almost forgot that I had a ticked off kid waiting for me in the house. I just wanted to stand there, in my driveway, on a super busy street, and READ. THIS. BOOK. Instead I hollered for my husband and I went and soaked my missing tail in the tub and read 9 more chapters.
Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi is NOT like any other ‘parenting’ book out there.
Yeah, I know, people say that flippantly about stuff they are reviewing all the time. But come on…you all know me by now. I don’t make bold statements unless I really mean them and can back them up. This book is a gem. A true gem. Deep in my bones I feel like this book can change lives.
Notice how I said lives and not parenting style, parenting, parenting approach, or other parenting related phrase? You see, this book is about more than parenting. It is about becoming aware of the journey we take as human beings who are suddenly in charge of keeping little people alive. It is about the growth, the ups, the downs, the highs, and the lows that go along with becoming a different version of the person you used to be. It includes more than just a look into the window of different parenting styles. It includes a look into the tangled mess that suddenly forms when two people become parents. It looks at how a partnership changes, fails to thrive, and then somehow emerges more spectacular than ever…with lots of missteps along with way.
This book is a holistic journey into the soul of what it means to become Mom or Dad.
I honestly wish that I had this book 6 years ago. Ok, maybe reading this while I was pregnant would have scared me. Either that or pissed me off because in my blissfully unaware state of pregnancy “these things would NEVER happen to me and my child will NEVER be like that.”
Let’s try again. I honestly wish I had this book 5 years and 2 months ago, right after my daughter was pulled feet first from my womb as I laid there fuming over how I got robbed of the natural hippie birth experience I promised myself I would have.
Brian and his wife Gwen took a journey in those early years of parenting that was not unlike my own. We sort of stumbled upon the same books, resources, information, communities and in a lot of the same ways. We already had a mindset of raising our children in a peaceful, healthful environment so breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, and attachment parenting were sort of no-brainer choices, once we got them all figured out. There wasn’t really any information in this book that was new to me, but the way it was presented…BLEW MY MIND.
You see, Brian has this incredible way of taking 300 pages of information on a certain topic, inserting his experiences, throwing in a pinch of self-deprecating humor, and then wrapping it all up with some pretty enlightening thoughts that cut into your core and make you have an “aha” moment. And he does this, in many cases, in 6 pages per chapter.
THIS is why I wish I had this book earlier in my parenting career. Sure, it would have made me feel more normal and assured me that I was doing everything right even though it all felt wrong and haphazard. But beyond that, THIS is the book I would have handed my husband. It would have been the ONLY book on parenting that I would have handed my husband.
The short chapters with the catchy titles would have held his attention. 6 page increments…easy read right? It is hard to complain about that. The “it’s too long I can’t focus” excuse goes out the window.
The honest humor – infectious! It is hard not to be totally captivated by Brian’s writing style.
And let’s not forget that Brian is a dude. A relatable dad. WAAAAY more interesting and appealing than some ‘parenting expert’ or some old fart who hasn’t seen a diaper in over 40 years. He also has instant street cred with new fathers because the words “beer, poop, and sex” all appear in chapter titles. This alone ought to have all the dads out there clamoring to read it.
Let’s get serious for a second. There is something extraordinary about this book and really, one of the main reasons why I feel new parents should make the time to read this. While it is chalk full of digestible bits of information on different crunchy, conscious parenting do’s, sometime do’s, and try hard to avoids, (and let’s not forget the pee-your-pants funny anecdotes) it also dives into the heart of the partnership between the mother and the father and how this all gets thrown into a tailspin when wee ones invade this sacred space.
I honestly thought my marriage was the only one suffering. I thought that Rasta Daddy and I were the only ones lost and confused about the “us” we became. The thing is, lost and confused is par for the course. Decisions about marriage should not be made in those early years according to Brian. I wholeheartedly agree. As a new parent, thrown into a world of uncertainty, worry, stress, and lack of sleep, decisions about one’s future with the other parent of your child need to be tabled until clearer, more rested minds prevail. And of course there is the sex thing. Just get the book and read that chapter. Priceless. Totally priceless.
Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi will now be THE book I hand out to all my pregnant friends. Heck, I may even pass it out on the street corner or carry around a few copies and hand them over to unsuspecting new parents at the Farmer’s Market. I’m not joking.
This book is the hug you need on a tough day of parenting. It’s like Brian is right there holding your hand, whispering gentle, reassuring words that yes, you can do this and will survive. And then he makes you laugh. Loud. You will probably snort. If you are already a mother, you will pee. If you are pregnant you will pee. And if you are a dad, you will at least crack a smile which means that this book is simply epic.