Last week I received my much-anticipated copy of “Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches” by Rachel Jankovic.
I started and finished reading it last week as well. At an upbeat and light-hearted 102 pages, “Loving the Little Years” is an easy read for any busy mother. There are twenty short chapters – loose collections of thoughts, advice, encouragement, stories, and ideas for addressing problems commonly dealt with by mothers of young children.
The author, Rachel Jankovic, is a Christian wife and mother of 5. Her high view of motherhood is inspiring. Her insights into parenting a child’s heart and not just external behaviors are profound. Her stories of her own life, literally “in the trenches” with four daughters and a son (all under five years old), are both humorous and didactic.
In the first chapter, Jankovic writes: “This is not a tender reminiscence from someone who had children so long ago that she only remembers the sweet parts. I do not have a foggy, precious perspective on mothering little ones…I did not 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 every day, because I do too.”
Although this short read is very encouraging, the main thrust is firm and straight-forward, chock full of practical advice and godly challenge. I found the chapters “A Good Word” and “Me Time” particularly edifying. Here is a little excerpt from the latter, to whet your appetite for this excellent book!…
“Motherhood is a demanding job. It is so demanding and intrusive, in fact, that it takes over your body. It uses your body, oftentimes rather roughly…these things can be seen as an offense against us – against our bodies…our bodies are tools, not treasures. You should not spend your days trying to perfect your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dinted body. Motherhood uses your body in the way God designed it to be used. Those are the right kind of damages…Carry the extra weight joyfully until you can lose it joyfully. Carry the scars joyfully as you carry the fruit of them.”
“Loving the Little Years” is a great book that I am sure I will re-read several times over in the coming years. Aside from some “cheesy” analogies, I really loved it. The way the book is broken up into twenty short chapters can make it seem a bit choppy, but each chapter can be read independently of the rest of the book (almost like a series of blog posts). This makes it a really accessible, practical piece for mothers who are not necessarily afforded the luxury of delving into pages and pages of rhetoric. The short amount of time invested in reading this book will surely make great returns for itself.
I was first drawn to Rachel Jankovic’s writing and godly perspective after reading her blog posts for Desiring God, “Motherhood as a Mission Field” and “Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)”. Check out these articles! They are so excellent.