A few months back, a publisher kindly sent me a little tiny book which could be a great big gift to moms. I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while. But now it occurs to me that it might just be a good book to put on a Christmas list: for you, or for a mom-in-the-trenches friend—or both!
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, by Rachel Jankovic, first got my attention by being the right size for busy moms. It’s a slim paperback with barely over 100 pages. Good start!
As I began to leaf through the pages, I quickly took a liking to the grace, humility, and humor with which it is written. An example: “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. . . . 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 in the middle of it. I know you need encouragement very day, because I do, too” (p. 12).
Fact check: the author is, indeed, in the thick of it: she had, at the time of writing, five kids five-years-old and under (yes, including one set of twins). Now I know this raises an obvious second question in your mind: How on earth did she manage to write a book? My question, too! I’m guessing that part of the answer lies in having a mother nearby. (Her mother, Nancy Wilson, writes the foreword and alludes to her babysitting availability.) Beyond that, I imagine it happened just as described in the foreword—“squeezing her writing into the nooks and tight crannies of her days.”
At any rate, we can be glad she wrote it. In a way, the book reminds me of Mom to Mom. It’s a great big dose of encouragement for moms, combined with some very practical parenting tips and a wonderful emphasis on the basic things that matter most. A little bit like a morning (or evening) at Mom to Mom. :)
As you read, you may find that there are parenting challenges you personally approach differently. Isn’t that always the case? But at the core, this author gets it right. A few examples:
- “There is only one thing in my entire life that must be organized . . . my attitude” (p. 11)
- “It is no abstract thing: The state of your heart is the state of your home” (p. 14)
- “Now try to think of discipline as . . . a sweet means of grace to your children” (p. 19)
- “Christian childrearing is a pastoral pursuit, not an organizational challenge . . . Be a pastor to your children” (p. 50)
These loftier principles are blended together with a variety of helpful tips (e.g., helping little girls manage their emotions), a refreshingly realistic perspective on real life with a houseful of little kids, and huge and wonderful doses of humor (you’ll love the story of the frantic husband pacing the floor with a phantom baby).
Thank you, Rachel Jankovic, for writing. And happy reading to any of you who find your way to this book. I hope it is the encouragement to you the author meant it to be.