Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Naptoli

I started reading Buddhism for Mothers while on holiday. On holiday its really easy to take on board all the exercises outlined and even to try out some of the meditating exercise. Since coming back, even though I’ve tried being mindful but its not that easy. However, the best thing about Buddhism is not to berate yourself about it but peacefully move along and carry on when you can again.

Chapters

The chapters in this book are:

  1. Buddhism for motherhood
  2. Parenting mindfully
  3. Finding calm
  4. Dealing with anger
  5. Worrying about children
  6. Creating loving relationships
  7. Living with partners
  8. Finding happiness and losing our self image
  9. Meditating
  10. Putting it into practice
  11. Appendix 1. The noble eightfold path
  12. Appendix 2. Books
  13. Appendix 3. Websites
  14. Appendix 4. From the scriptures
  15. Appendix 5. Newborns

When I started reading this book, I found so much in there that I could relate to such as going from being in a full-time job to being a full-time mum, getting irritated by my situation and then getting angry at the girls and feeling like no-one understood.

Another thing that I could relate to was how many mothers remark on how having children changes their experience of watching nightly news. To put this into perspective, the Buddhist says part of the cause of unsatisfactory in impermanence or the way that everything must change into something else – nothing stays the same.

Teachings of Buddhism

Some of the teachings of Buddhism include the four noble truths of suffering and its release as well as the noble eightfold path.

The four noble truths are:
1. There is suffering
2. Attachment cause suffering
3. Suffering can end
4. There is a path to end suffering

Following the noble eightfold path is broken down into three sections and involves:

Wisdom

  • Skilful understanding
  • Skilful thoughts

Ethics

  • Skilful speech
  • Skilful action
  • Skilful livelihood

Mental discipline

  • Skilful effort
  • Skilful mindfulness
  • Skilful concentration

It also teaches us to not compartmentalise Buddhism and meditating but to be mindful in everything you do. One thing you can do to be mindful is to say what you are doing all the time such as I am walking, I am lying down, I am sitting down etc when you are doing things.

Quotes

Throughout the book there are many quotes and case studies from different Buddhism books and from different Buddhist mum. Some quotes from the book include:

If something can be remedied, why be unhappy about it? And if there is no remedy for it, there is still no point in being unhappy.

Practice patient acceptance.

Learn to do good, cease to do harm, purify the mind.

At the end of each chapters from 2 to 8, there is a section at the back summarising the chapter and how to incorporate Buddhism into your life focusing on what related to that chapter and I’m going to go through these picking out which ones I can relate to and want to use. At the moment it feels like all of it!

18 Points

Going through the book, I tried to summarise and came up with the following 18 points:

  1. Take time to practice mindfulness around your children to help them grow up feeling noticed, heard and understood.
  2. Look deeply to learn who your children are rather than projecting your hopes, fears and exceptions onto them.
  3. Be aware of any tensions building up throughout the day and consciously release it.
  4. Realise you have the power to choose your emotional responses – stressed and irritated or spacious and accepting.
  5. Remember you can practice mindfulness no matter what you are doing.
  6. Whenever you find the time, even if its for one minute, meditate.
  7. If you are struggling with feelings of guilt, write or meditate so you can resolve your feelings consciously.
  8. Be compassionate with yourself.
  9. Anger is a passing state – don’t empower it.
  10. Share your struggles with your children so they too can learn from your mistakes – there’s no need to teach them that you are perfect.
  11. Smile. Whenever.
  12. If you feel judgemental or critical of somebody, investigate your feelings mindfully. Difficult relationships often teach us most.
  13. Accept that any relationship and the individuals within it go through seasons, no stage is permanent.
  14. Dare to initiate improvement with your partner.
  15. Remember that your children are learning from watching your relationships.
  16. Take responsibility for your own role in any relationship difficulties.
  17. Realise that deep and lasting happiness can only come from within – stop relying on the world outside you to deliver.
  18. Stop postponing happiness and enjoy your present moment.

These 18 points can be downloaded here.

Putting it into practice

Now, I need to start putting it into practice. Another thing that Buddhism teaches is to question everything and not believe anything unless it fits with your own personal experience.

To sum up my understanding of Buddhism, I believe that Buddhism is not a religion but a way of finding a spiritual community that will help you with your mindfulness and meditation. In Buddhism – compassion for others is the way to connect to the divine.

Finally, to end with another quote from Buddhism:

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

You can buy this book here using my amazon affiliate link on which I may earn a small commission but its at no extra cost to you.

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