Updated: Jul 20, 2022
I absolutely treasure the fact that I got to be a mother. I entered this role reluctantly. I've always been a late bloomer so it doesn't surprise too much I also entered motherhood later. I view the role as mother as a huge job, and even more enormous in this crazy mixed up world. I double downed and as of this writing I am a stay at home mommy with a home studio to "help people" as my eldest says. Luckily, I found Yoga and mindfulness practices to set the foundation before I became a mother to two beautiful souls.
There is this balance mothers need to navigate for themselves between messages of toxic positivity and the incessant complaining. There is so much noise. You all out there know I'm not a big fan of social media, comparison, and competition. I wish we were all a little more vulnerable to show some raw and real. With the challenges comes deep growth, reward, and love.
Here are some of my favorite mindful parenting books for babies to preschoolers. I myself am not quite in the school years quite yet with my daughters but, I'm confident that everything will build on each other starting from fertility and pregnancy until they are grown. The big practice of nurture and letting go. Reflecting on what seems have have been the most impactful on my parenting style, I seem to be guided overall by my Yoga practice, and from there have been drawn to these types of experts on:
Let's take one more moment on the topic of Yoga before presenting you my list. Yoga can help us with our stress, give us pause to reflect, to practice letting go, to build confidence, to remind us to slow down, to give us energy, flexibility, to be able to move through challenges, gifts us lessons of trusting our bodies and our intuition, and more. I think this quote sums it up though:
"Words cannot convey the value of yoga—it has to be experienced." - BKS Iyengar
It's a practice for life and motherhood. This of course is Yoga with a capital Y. It's not just asana (physical practice), it's also mindfulness, meditation*, observation, breath, becoming and growing into our best selves. Yoga gives us the practice to stop and smell the roses, stay in the moment, enjoy nature, enjoy the transitions, and go with the flow. Pilates can do these things as well, just in a different framework.
I think of Pilates as giving me time for care, confidence, strength, awareness, energy, breath, and connection with my body to understand and hear my intuition.
I think all the books below will have the message of being aware and viewing babies are magical, smart beings. Aware of our own reactions, thoughts, emotions, and how to regulate ourselves, so we can model and be the best self for our children. This will not be perfect every time. But, just like in our meditation practice, we practice. With practice, our reactions slower. With practice, we become more aware. With practice, we can ebb and flow. With practice, we can just be. And, babies and our children can teach us so much about life and ourselves. I know my eldest shows me my spots that still need growth and places that still need to heal.
Happy reading and growing! If you have suggestions to add please let me know.
LIFE WITH A BABY
Wonder Weeks by Xaviera Plooij - A great resource to follow as your newborn grows into a 2yr old.
First 40 Days by Heng Ou - A great resource for recipes and nourishment when baby arrives.
Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp MD - great tips on sleep and understanding the 4th trimester. Also, a pediatrician favorite.
The Montessori Baby by Simone Davies and Junnifa Uzodike - parenting, and play with a newborn.
What Mothers Do Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen - a raw book on the journey into motherhood in the modern world.
LIFE WITH A TODDLER/ PRESCHOOLER
Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp MD - tips on how to handle those tantrums and big feelings
The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies - building a happy home
Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki - potty training book
A Year of Forest School by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton - nature is important to us as a family, and my girls go to to a nature preschool.
Play The Forest School Way by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton - ditto
Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom - interesting book for all us that love movement and how to let our children grow and move!
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD - How I would love to respond to any conflict or big feelings #goals
The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell - as important as the love languages are to our partners, so are studied with our children.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham - mindful parenting
Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings by Dr. Laura Markham - mindful parenting on how our sibling dynamics begin day 1 of meeting our sibling.
SLEEP RESOURCES - Community Care - I have not personally read or used these but, they come recommended by friends in the thick of it
Nested Sleep on Instagram
Are you an avid book reader too? I wrote blog posts on tips to introduce and practice Baby/Kid Yoga and Meditation, Pregnancy resource reading list and also a Mindful Mama reading list post. Check 'em out. It's a wide world of experience and opinions in this wild ride into and through motherhood. Ride those waves and listen to your heart.
*A note on meditation: Meditation by definition is: Concentration/focus. So if you are washing the dishes with focus, you are meditating. If you are sitting beside your new baby in awe and drinking her in, you are meditating. If you are staying present, you are practicing meditation. Be kind to yourself. You can fit it in, slow down, and stay present to the sweet moments.
A special thank you goes to Amanda for inspiring this post.
I have this metta meditation on my fridge on a post-it note to anchor my days:
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be safe.
May I live with ease.
Practice substituting "I" with your partner, or child, or anyone <3