Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches 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.
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.
Jankovic has written a second book, Fit to Burst : Abundance, Mayhem, and the Joys of Motherhood, 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 Years 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 Breathe 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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