By Jennifer Mazzoni
Finding Freedom as a Mother
Inspired Mama by Sez Kristiansen is a self-help/spirituality book with a focus on guiding mothers to find freedom in their lives.
The book is broken down into three parts: freedom of mind, of life, and of comfort zones.
There is a strong Buddhist influence in Kristiansen’s advice, and the words of wisdom were familiar as a student of the Dharma myself. I like how she applies Buddhist concepts, such as mindfulness, to daily life and motherhood.
The first part of the book, on freedom of the mind, stood out to me the most. She offers a different exercise, task, or activity to complete each day to achieve this freedom. The list of exercises is lengthy and a few examples include meditation, journaling and gratitude practice. The book has great suggestions for beginners who are new to mindfulness, and it can serve as a refresher for those feeling stuck or blocked in their current practice.
I had taken a few steps back from my practice after my oldest child entered preschool last fall, telling myself I was too busy to carve out moments for daily meditation and reading the Dharma while entertaining and caring for my other younger child.
The pandemic changed everything (understatement of the year).
Schools closed, and life as we all knew it came to a halt. I made a conscious decision to return to my mindfulness practice since I no longer had reasons to hurry from one activity to the next. Kristiansen’s book offered reminders of the practice I once had: journaling what I was thankful for each night, appreciating interconnectedness, the importance of community, and something as simple as the beauty of a tree.
Kristiansen emphasizes the importance of reconnecting with nature. Once the weather improved from cold and rainy, my children and I spent entire days outdoors in the yard and ventured into forest preserves for nature walks. We enjoyed car picnics and supported local businesses with curbside meal pickups. I remembered how to appreciate the food in my takeout container and the people who made it possible for me to eat from the farmers to the truck drivers to the cooks. Eating outdoors is a multisensory experience that I’d greatly missed. I cherished the sounds of birds, the whirring of cars passing, and the fragrance from the honeysuckles as my family ate weekend dinners out of the trunk of my SUV.
Although Inspired Mama was written before 2020, I couldn’t help but read it through this pandemic lens. I plan to follow some of the suggested activities, not just on the difficult and tiring days but on the happy and beautiful ones, too.
There is a lot to unpack in this book, and I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of suggested exercises. I would have preferred a more in-depth look at fewer topics rather than a brief overview of many. The activities are helpful, however, and Kristiansen seamlessly weaves in personal experiences to further illustrate each topic. There is something for every parent in this book.
For mothers that are new to mindfulness and meditation, or for those who are like me, and have hit pause on their practice, I recommend this book.
Jennifer Mazzoni M.S. CCC-SLP, is a full-time mom, part-time Speech Language Pathologist, and she works part-time in a rehabilitation setting. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the Chicago area. Follow her blog, Help Mama Meditate, and catch her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!
Editor: Dana Gornall
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