Sometimes, the possibility of calm and mindful mothering can seem like a distant, unreachable tropical island in a sea of dirty nappies, whining, and tantrums. I recently finished reading an incredibly helpful, inspiring, and motivating book which is a practical guide, specifically for nurturing mothers and offering guidance and support for what can be an emotionally tumultuous time for a woman. The loss of a career, time to ourselves, independence, freedom, desperate worries about if our children are “normal” are all significant and profound changes which can be difficult to integrate into our “new” life. The best bit? You don’t have to be a practicing Buddhist to get a truckload of useful, practical advice out of this book.
Buddhism For Mothers – a calm approach to caring for yourself and your children by Sarah Napthali is a wonderfully reassuring, comforting and practical handbook which offers a gentle and calm means of coping with the everyday challenges of motherhood.
Using Buddhist practices, Napthali (a mother and practicing Buddhist) offers empathy and instruction for parenting mindfully, finding calm, dealing with anger, releasing the grip of worry about our children, creating loving relationships, living with partners, finding happiness and losing our self image.
Basically, Buddha’s teachings are founded on the four Noble Truths:
1. There is suffering.
2. Attachment causes suffering.
3. Suffering can end.
4. There is a path to end suffering.
To quote Napthali “…suffering and unsatisfactoriness won’t end today, but by embracing some Buddhist practices you can start today planting the seeds to improve your life.”
Napthali focuses on finding the joy and bliss in mothering. By being in the present moment, mothering becomes a more rewarding and fulfilling experience. Buddhism For Mothers also explores the more reflective, inner workings of what makes us truly happy and offers guidance for developing inner resources to help nurture ourselves when our lives can feel like complete pandemonium.
Buddhism For Mothers is the kind of book, that once you’ve finished reading it the first time, you want to start at the beginning and read it all over again. I have found this book to be a wonderful reference guide when times are particularly challenging. Mothering a willful toddler is difficult at best. Doing most of the disciplining myself and not having a direct, open course of communication with his father, makes it even more challenging. Feelings of guilt and anger are peppered through my daily thoughts and at times are overwhelming. During these moments I head for Buddhism For Mothers (which I have conveniently left on my bedside table) and frantically flick to the chapter/s which are most relevant to the moment. Today it’s dealing with anger. Tomorrow? Who can say. All I know is that this little book is a gem!