3 Books to Help Navigate the Unbeaten Path of Motherhood

You have probably come across some great Mother's Day gift guides here in the blogosphere - at Travel the Unbeaten Path I'm sharing three books that would make great gifts for conscious, mindful mothers (and for all parents, really). I received a review copy of two of them, and the third was a gift from a family member. All views and opinions are as always, my own.

Regardless of lifestyle, parental philosophy, religious affiliation or lack thereof, all moms-to-be, new moms, and seasoned parents could use help and encouragement.  My new family is without a doubt my best, biggest and most incredible adventure yet, but as with any good adventure, the path isn't always easy.  It is at times difficult, confusing and even lonely. Still, I'm forever grateful, because it led me here - to the happiest (albeit the most exhausted) I've ever felt in my life. It's been a path of self-discovery, learning, failing, growing. 

A heck of a trip. 

If you have ever explored the idea of mindfulness, you'll see that it's all about staying present. Paying attention. Acknowledging and responding, rather than reacting. If you haven't, check out Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. Three years ago I took a yoga class with Rachel Brathen and was introduced to this book, which completely changed the way I see life and now motherhood.

Below are three books I highly recommend for a more enlightened journey through parenthood:

Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids 

Susan Stiffelman (New World Library, 2015). This book was hand-selected by Eckhart Tolle himself as the inaugural edition of his new imprint, so you can expect it to be good. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it focuses more on bettering ourselves as parents, rather than "fixing" our children's shortcomings. Stiffelman encourages us to be aware, to eradicate old patterns that no longer serve us as well as to heal some of our old wounds through improving our relationship with our own children. "Each of our children offers us opportunities to confront the dark and dusty corners of our minds and hearts." Parenting exercises, journal entries and audio material accompany the book and although some might think of these features as cheesy, I see much value in the author's overall guidance.

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood

Karen Maezen Miller (Shambhala, 2007). An incredibly easy read written by a mother, wife, and Zen teacher. The author is surprisingly candid and open about her learning experiences, her growth, as well as her shortcomings as a mother and human. This humorous book teaches a great lesson in self-awareness, self-acceptance and non-judgement. Karen M. Miller demystifies and makes Zen accessible, by offering day-to-day examples and urging us to bring our attention back to the here and now. "Your infant screams it, your toddler throws it, your preschooler demands. Each is a call for attention now, now, now." A great reminder for new moms in our digital world of constant online connectivity and multitasking.

The Mindful Mother: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Enjoying Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond with Mindfulness 

Naomi Chunilal (Watkins, 2015). Although I read a lot about pregnancy and labor, I didn't spend as much time on the subject of being a newborn's mom - partially because Baby arrived a couple of weeks before his due date, partially because I was already overwhelmed with the amount of info on the birthing process alone. This book would've been a great complement to my daily pre-natal yoga & meditation routine. It is an easy read, and often focuses on breathing, which was and still is crucial to remaining sane through it all.  "So much depends on where you chose to put your attention. Use your breath to guide you to a deeper source of stillness and peace at your core, even as your feelings run loose around this." 

Addendum (06/01/2015): I read this one (in one sitting) as per my sister-in-law's recommendation and loved it! So in line with what I believe in.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids

These titles complement each other well and challenge us to see ourselves as students and our children as teachers, as well as the more traditional other way around. I will absolutely revisit each periodically, since their lessons can be applied to every new chapter of motherhood. As with most things in life, take away what resonates with you, apply it, and see what happens, am I right?

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What are some books you recommend for new moms?

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  1. I had high plans to read a lot on being a mommy, but I still haven't and B3 is growing too fast!

  2. Sorry! -- Wasn't quite done commenting. Anyways, I've heard of the Momma Zen book and am adding it to my list to read this year.

    1. haha same here - It took me a while to get through these. Happy to loan you my Momma Zen copy!

  3. great recommendations! im adding momma zen to my reading list! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

    1. Thanks! It's a great book, super easy to read! I'd offer to loan you my copy too if you lived in AZ :-)

  4. Thank you for reading and recommending Momma Zen, my first (book) baby.

    1. I truly enjoyed it and whole-heartedly recommend it. Thank you for stopping by, what an honor!


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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.