What advice, yogic or otherwise, do you have for new moms and dads, especially in those first few wonderful but very trying years.
Oh, dear, I get asked this often. And I feel like the least qualified person on earth to be dispensing advice on this particular subject. I can only say I wish I’d devoted myself more wholly to the motto “Whatever works.” There’s a a huge diversity of solutions and ways of parenting that are all correct and all acceptable, as long as they work for the parent and the kid. I was so hung up on doing everything right, and I regret that.
What’s your favorite parenting book? Playful Parenting, Simplicity Parenting, …. Are you a Sears-ian or God forbid (I can hardly even write it) a Ferber-ian.
I must confess that I think parenting books are a scourge. I think instead of reading them, parents should talk to each other and tell each other the truth about our problems and the (often odd and interesting) solutions we come up with. Parenting books encourage didacticism, and that’s not a helpful quality. I can however name a couple of novels I think deal brilliantly with parenting: Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk; A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff; My Hollywood by Mona Simpson. I find more comfort in a novel that reflects my experience than I do in an advice book.
Do your kids practice yoga?
I’m so happy that the answer to this question is, at long last, yes! My daughter does yoga at school; she’s 13 and I think it’s important that she’s finding her own way with it. When my son was really small, he used to do stuff like jump off the bed and say, “I’m doing Warrior 72!” Now he’s 10 and goes to a sweet community yoga class with me. He giggles a lot and the people there are so nice that they don’t care.
Any fun, humiliating parenting anecdotes you’d like to share? Maybe a time when your toddler announced to a large group of strangers that you had just had a very noisy poop?
Oh, probably when my son was starting pre-school at a co-op in a church basement. As we walked into school with all the other (mostly Christian, unlike us) families, he paused outside the building and said very loudly, “Church! I always wanted to go there!”
What are you working on these days? Will we see more from you soon?
I’m working on another memoir-ish book, this time dealing with the 1970s. I’m finding it very difficult. It’s almost like it’s a wild creature I’m sneaking up on.
You can learn more about Claire Dederer on her website, www.clairedederer.com.
About Brian Leaf
Brian Leaf is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He lives in Western Massachusetts where he is an avid meditator, yogi, dad, and husband. You can follow his parenting adventures and misadventures on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Misadventures.of.a.Yogi.