31 Days of Great Nonfiction: Loving the Little Years

Loving the Little YearsLoving the Little Years: Motherhood in the TrenchesLoving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic by Rachel Jankovic

I think I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but I have two children. Two young children – currently they’re 4 and 2. I’m starting to come out of the baby and toddler only stage, but when I first read this book I was solidly inside it. Two kids, both in diapers, and one still nursing and not sleeping through the night. Jankovic’s book met me right where I was and encouraged me and challenged me.

It’s hard to strike a balance in writing about parenting between challenging the reader and condemning them, but she does it admirably. Even when her words struck home and I realized I was absolutely guilty of the things she described, it was in an “this is where I need to do better” way, not in an “I am the worst mother ever way.”

The chapters are short and easily readable in the snippets of time you may be limited to when you have young children, but there is such wisdom packed into each chapter that they give lots to ponder.

I do think you need to be a Christian parent to fully appreciate this book (or at least not be opposed to reading books written from a Christian perspective that have those concepts underpinning virtually every chapter.) However, despite the title focusing on motherhood, there is very little (if anything) in the book that is solely applicable to mothers – most of her wisdom applies just as much to fathers, although her mother-focused language might make it hard to convince a lot of guys that they could benefit from the book as well.

Publisher’s Description:
I didn’t write this book because mothering little ones is easy for me. I wrote it because it isn’t. I know that this is a hard job, because I am right here in the middle of it. I know you need encouragement because I do too.

This is not a tender reminiscence from someone who had children so long ago that she only remembers the sweet parts. At the time of writing this, I have three children in diapers, and I can recognize the sound of hundreds of toothpicks being dumped out in the hall.

This is a small collection of thoughts on mothering young children for when you are motivated, for when you are discouraged, for the times when discipline seems fruitless, and for when you are just plain old tired.

The opportunities for growth abound here but you have to be willing. You have to open your heart to the tumble. As you deal with your children, deal with yourself always and first. This is what it looks like, and feels like, to walk as a mother with God.

31 Days of Great NonfictionJankovic has written a second book, Fit to Burst : Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of MotherhoodFit to Burst : Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood by Rachel Jankovic, which deals with parenting slightly older children. It’s a great compliment to this book, and would be highly worthwhile to read. I’m partial to Loving the Little YearsLoving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic simply because that’s it’s the parenting season I’m in currently. And while I haven’t read it, I’ve heard great things about Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to BreatheDesperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson for another perspective on parenting from a similar faith-based focus.

To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction, go to the series page.

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  1. I also enjoyed this book…the author was my sister’s friend when they were younger, and we lived in the same neighborhood. I thought she did a great job with this book, and I just finished her second one. Of the two, I liked Loving the Little Years the best.

  2. I didn’t know you had kids! Wow, how do you find time to do so much reading? That’s wonderful. I just started a new moms group at my church, this might be a good book to base our discussions on.

    • I think it’d be very discuss-able, and the short chapters would work well for people who are getting into the habit of reading something for a group meeting (as in, if they forgot about it until the last minute, they could still get a chapter read quickly.)

  3. This sounds like a lovely little book. Several of my friends are having children now. I will have to keep this book in mind for them.


  1. […] while I am not as enthusiastic about this book as other texts on motherhood (such as Loving the Little Years), that doesn’t mean I think it’s a bad book. It’s not, and I’m sure there […]

  2. […] 31 Days series, but only in passing, as that post highlighted Jankovic’s first book, Loving the Little Years. Although I am partial to that book, that has more to do with my current life stage as being mom to […]

  3. […] throughout the test. While I’ve read and enjoyed other parenting books with that perspective (Loving the Little Years and Fit to Burst are prime examples), it felt more forced here, and didn’t really fit at […]

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