Relax. Parenting Is Supposed to Be Messy, Chaotic, Noisy and Embarrassing

For Mother’s Day this year, my clan went to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts.


It was a glorious, sparkling day.


We did all the usual things that we like to do there. We ate lunch. We went to a program room and took out all the giant exercise balls and yoga blocks and made obstacle courses and bowled and shrieked.


And then we walked the labyrinth. Noah and Benji call it “the maze” and think it’s just splendid that the Kripalu Center built us a life-size maze.


In the middle of the labyrinth is a Peace Pole and a statue of the Buddha.


As I walked the labyrinth yesterday, I thought of the new book I’m writing, Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi, and as my mind quieted, I set intentions for the book. I contemplated the messages and tone that I want to convey and I asked for blessings on the book’s success.


As we neared the exit, Noah and Benji started to fight. Noah (age 7) wanted to run at full speed and Benji (age 3) wanted to hold big brother Noah’s hand. These can’t happen simultaneously and Noah ran away exasperated. Benji cried.


I was torn from my peaceful musings and I was annoyed and embarrassed that the boys were disturbing other meditators.


Then I was worried. I tend to get a bit neurotic about such things. “What can this mean for my parenting book!? To get angry at my boys right in the middle of the labyrinth. And during my solemn intentions and prayers for the book. Oy! This can not be good!”


And then I saw exactly what it means.


Parenting is often not orderly and peaceful. It is often messy, chaotic, noisy and embarrassing.


Sometimes there is greater peace in admitting to a problem than in trying to solve it.


In writing as in parenting, I must be honest and real and I must honor not only the peaceful and solemn but also the messy and the embarrassing.




Brian Leaf

About Brian Leaf


Brian Leaf is author of the yoga memoir, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness. You can find him online at

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