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Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
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Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  884 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Updated with new material--including an all new introduction and expanded practices in the epilogue--Everyday Blessings remains one of the few books on parenting that embraces the emotional, intuitive, and deeply personal experience of being a parent, applying the groundbreaking "mind/body connection" expertise from global thought-leader, Jon Kabat-Zinn and his wife, Myla...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Hyperion (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,252)
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Meg
I'm sure this makes me all un-spiritual and un-evolved and whatever, but parts of this book really pissed me off. This might be just my defensiveness as a new parent talking, but a lot of the time I felt like the authors were lecturing me about how if I could just see things from my child's perspective then I would never get angry or upset. You know what? I love my child, and I do see things from her perspective. AND, being a parent is hard, so would you mind giving me a little empathy first, si...more
Sarah
Okay, I think I'm done with this one. I read the first half and loved the philosophy of mindfulness in parenting, but the second half got a little to attachment preachy to me. I will definitely use some of their insights, though.
Katina
Forgive the rambling. Am writing when too tired and after a glass of wine and beer.

This is a set of topical chapters/mini-essays on various facets of parenting and how one might apply the concept of mindfulness to the parent/child relationship. I found some essays to be very powerful (the one on birth for example). I felt others were overly preachy (the authors are quite strong attachment parenting advocates and with that comes some typical Sears-esque judgmental nonsense).

If nothing else, I t...more
Karin
The Kabat-Zins take the concept of mindfullness and apply it to parenting our children. Mindfullness in this way is to be aware of what you are doing and why. It means to atune yourself to both how you are feeling AND to how the child is feeling and WHY the behavior is being shown. By being grounded in ourselves, we can parent from a steadfast position, not being sucked in to the drama but observing it and trying to understand what is wanted underneath the turmoil.

Of course mindful parenting is...more
sleeps9hours
This is one of those books that came to me at just the right time in my life. Recommended by a friend in my mama’s meditation group, it is inspiring me to be even more mindful in my parenting and my life in general.

I saved tons of passages:

p. 4 Mindful parenting is hard work. It means knowing ourselves inwardly, and working at the interface where our inner lives meet the lives of our children.
...One reason I practice meditation is to maintain my own balance and clarity of mind in the face of suc...more
Kim
I'm not actually done reading this book, but I'm not reading it all at once, either, so to keep it from forever languishing on the "currently-reading" shelf, I'll write about the first third or so.

I like the concept of this book, that one can and should bring a sense of calm and reflection to parenting situations, and that if you pay attention to yourself as you interact with your child, instead of simply reacting (to, say, an entire photo album of pre-digital beloved pictures being spread by yo...more
Rachel
I love this book. it keeps me grounded when i'm feeling a little tiny bit overwhelmed with the babe. i just read a page and i feel like "yes, i can do this. yes, i want to do this!"
the authors a husband and wife, parents to a son and a daughter, and Zen Buddhists have written a book together that really made me stop and think about the importance of really connecting with my child while allowing him space to be who he is.
it is not a book to read if you are looking for child rearing strategies....more
Danielle Ryan
This is not just a book. You owe yourself so much more than to just read it. This is a way of thinking. A way of BEING. A way of living. This text brings many concepts, thoughts,and ideas to the forefront of our minds, and though many of us may be keenly aware of them, we often forget or set aside this knowledge while allowing life and all of its complexities and intricacies to intervene and distract us from what we really value. This book provides us with gentle reminders and practical strategi...more
Jeanice
zzzhgghhh...oh whoops..that was me falling asleep to a book that spends hundreds of pages telling parents how to be mindful. Maybe it is just me but I understood mindfulness prior to reading the book and this book just droned on and on and on explaining it in lots of fluttery therapist language. Get to the point already.....which is....be more mindful of your actions towards your kids, be more mindful of the reasoning behind their actions and be more present when you are with your kids. It took...more
Kathleen Vandevoorde
I'll look elsewhere for ideas about establishing discipline and setting expectations for my child, but there are some good ideas to ponder in this book. Warning: the authors come across a little judgmental, particularly about competing ideas with regard to infant care. They're very pro-attachment parenting and breastfeeding. This is a good buffet book; take what works, leave the rest.

Generally, the concept of mindfulness has be very useful to me. I recommend reading about mindfulness to anybody...more
Marissa Morrison
This is a lovely book, full of reminders about children's (well, everyone's) need for sovereignty, parents' call to try to see and situations from a child's perspective (rather than expecting the child to behave the "appropriate" way), and the completeness of each child as a whole person regardless of age (i.e. not treating a 2-year-old with less respect because he is ruled by a 2-year-old's passions, or expecting him to act as though those passions aren't there).
Lisa
This book is a wonderful addition to a parenting library. I find the whole thing hard, hard work for me (mindfulness in general, mindfulness in parenting), but something about their writing (Jon and his wife Myla) really speaks to me.

I first read this book long ago (guessing when) and then re-read it this past summer after attending a workshop with JKZ (where Myla was attending as well). It was a treat just to be in their presence.
Trace
Great book! So many great ideas about gracious, intentional parenting between these two covers. Very real and authentic...the authors practice buddhism, so there inevitably were a couple of ideas that conflicted with my core faith beliefs, however I would say that pretty much everything that the authors wrote dovetailed nicely with my own very strong belief that children should be parented with love, dignity and consideration.
Tracy Crosby
One of my most favorite books of all time! I bought a copy for myself for mother's day. It is an absolutely amazing book, and I wish I could say it's a must read for every parent... But I know people just won't get it. But this book is so good -- and has helped me be a better parent and wife. I keep going back to it, reading it over and over, trying to keep my mindful practice in full swing. Definitely worth every penny.
Hannah
This book had a great overall message about the importance of being patient & present with what children are going through, a very helpful reminder to breathe and be compassionate in the midst of baby-plus-preschooler chaos.

I'm holding back some stars, though, because the Kabat-Zinns reached beyond discussing mindfulness into lecturing about their attachment parenting practices, many of which may not work for other families. Mindful parenting is so important, and it's a shame that the autho...more
Lisa
Anyone who has kids or is going to have kids needs to read this book. If we all parented this way there would be alot fewer people in therapy.
Corinne Grimes
Sep 28, 2009 Corinne Grimes rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone if they're open to it
Recommended to Corinne by: my dear friend Shanti
This book is my Bible for parenting. I go back to it again and again, and it brings me to center every time. It reminds me who I want to be as a parent and as a human being for my daughter. When things are crazy or I'm feeling a little overtaxed, it reminds me about the inner-commitments I've made to my child to do the very best for her I know how. It also reaffirms choices I'm making for her in the vein of attachment parenting, which isn't the most common choice in parenting these days.

The onl...more
Rebecca
This book has some problems:
1. the print is tiny and there is no margin at the top of the page. it's weird and distracting. the text goes right up to the top and off the edge of the book. it's precarious and claustrophobic to read text teetering on the edge of a cliff like that.

2. it is very boring and repetitive. it essentially repeats itself. in a boring way. or, one could say, a repetitive way. boringly. But... in a way the style is as meditative and cyclical as the breath they admonish us to...more
Heather
Still reading- it's very long, but good stuff. This will be finished by the 3rd Wednesday of April, I promise. It's due back then. :)

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Didn't actually finish it because we've been busy over here. It is really long and probably doesn't need to be that long, but I liked that I could read a paragraph, put it down, and come back to it later. While I'm sure it's nice to read the chapters as whole entities, reading just a paragraph at a time was useful for refocusing myself in the moment- and wa...more
Amy Formanski Duffy
I got some good parenting advice out of this. Live in the present moment and accept it for what it is. Accept your kids for who they are, not who you want them to be. You can choose to focus on positive thoughts just as much as negative ones, so you may as well be positive. Don't project your own issues from childhood onto your kids. That's a big one.

So there is a lot of worthwhile stuff in this book. However, I am too practical and logic-minded for some of the hippie-dippyness that abounds in i...more
Deirdre Keating
A library check out that I didn't finish. I liked it but it didn't keep my attention. I think I like the idea of it more than the book itself.

ETA: The above was written in 2008, and true.
In 2011, I read it with a sangha/mindful mamas group, and finally read the whole thing. Definitely got more out of it in this context.

A few passages I marked:
"Boys need the presence of competent, embodied men in their lives, men who DO know who they are and are not afraid of or numb to how they feel, men who ar...more
Leena
I'm in the process of reading this one. There are some ideas in the book that seem intuitive, and the gentle/mindful approach to parenting seems to resonate with me quite easily. Other sections seem suddenly narrow-minded and judgmental - like the bit about sleeping together as a family. The attachment-parenting approach is not for everyone, but what I often find in books like this is that attachment proponents get quite judgmental and preachy about their preferred style of parenting. So these a...more
Molly Elder
I love this book! When it came out, my son had just been born, and this book really spoke to me. As I was a new mother, I heard advice from many corners, not knowing which ones to listen too.
As a nursing mother, I found justification for my intuition on "the family bed"...
Despite the fact that "attachment parenting" was not yet a coined phrase with a defined following the advice in this book just "felt right". I have three children ages 7, 10 and 14 and none of them are still in the bed with us...more
Wendy
Aug 10, 2007 Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a child in their life
The best parenting book I have read to date, this isn't an instructional guide on how to handle sleep problems, teething and night terrors. Rather, it's a book that teaches mindfulness,a Zen practice of awareness of the moment.

Author Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous lecturer, Zen teacher and author of "Wherever You Go, There You Are," tells parents about the three things children deserve from us: empathy, acceptance and sovereignty. Respectively, these are seeing things from your child's perspective, a...more
Susan
This book has been on my bedside bookshelf for 18 years, although I've read the entire thing, I've never finished it. It has so much to give!
Candace Pruett
This book was too sappy, and not down to earth enough for me. Having said that, the basic message was good. It was actually very much preaching to the choir. You don't have to tell me that you should not beat, neglect, or be cruel to your children. You also don't have to tell me to pay attention to them. Also, it is about 12 years old now, and it felt a little out of date. At the time I am sure it was somewhat radical, but to me it did not go far enough and felt fairly conservative.

If you are a...more
Allison
This book is about so much more than parenting, it is about being a mindful human being and bringing awareness to every part of our everyday life. This is by far the most important and influential parenting book I have ever read. It won't tell you how to get your baby to sleep through the night, but it will help you come to a place of acceptance, of appreciation, of empathy for the blessings and challenges of parenting. This is a book about living authentically and bringing a mindfulness to pare...more
Melissa
I had to return this to interlibrary loan before I had finished it, which always bums me out, but the thing is that this book is too long. I usually have a lot of patience and am pretty dutiful, however for a book of this type -- parenting/philosophy/soulwork ideas with spiritual guidance from Eastern religion -- I don't think 400 pages is necessary. Reading it, I was attracted and repelled -- typical with my choice of parenting books. I still believe in the core ideas here; I think there is muc...more
Rhea
This book was a really helpful reminder to return to my breath in the midst of parenting. It helped me tap more in to the spiritual aspect of parenting my baby. It is a good read for ANYone working with or raising children. Don't feel pressured to do everything their way (there's no way I'll still be breastfeeding when Olive is 2 1/2) but it is a good basis for decision making -- to always be intentional and mindful when you are with the kids. I loved all the poetry & quotes they included as...more
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“Too many children live with the feeling that they are not accepted for who they are, that, somehow, they are “disappointing” their parents or not meeting their expectations, that they don’t “measure up.” How many parents spend their time focusing on the ways in which their child is “too this” or “too that,” or “not enough of this or that”? A great deal of unnecessary pain and grief is caused by this withholding, judging behavior on the part of parents. When has parental disapproval, in the form of shaming, humiliating, or withholding, ever been a positive influence on a child’s behavior? It might result in obedience; but at what cost to the child, and to the adult that child becomes?” 0 likes
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