My poor sweet, patient husband. I nearly read the entire book of Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches out loud to him a few weeks ago because I couldn’t stop laughing and relating to what Rachel Jankovic wrote.
You see, I have three kids ages 4 and under. Don’t get me wrong. I like my kids a lot lot lot. But…I also like order. I like checking things off my “to do” list. I like a good night of sleep. I like walking through my kitchen without crushing a rogue cheerio or stepping in a mysterious puddle of liquid. I like an uninterrupted meal or conversation or shower.
Can you relate in any small way yet? If so, you’ll understand right away why this delightful and pithy parenting book had me hooked from the first paragraph…
“If there is anything I have learned in the course of my fast and furious mothering journey, it is that there is only one thing in my entire life that must be organized. The kids can be running like a bunch of hooligans through a house that appears to be at the bottom of a toaster, and yet, if organization and order can still be found in my attitude, we are doing well. But if my attitude falters, even in the midst of external order, so does everything else.”
The State of Your Heart Is…
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches overflows with practical biblical advice and personal stories from a mother who not only is living the little kid chaos herself (she has five kids ages 5 and under!), but who is clearly wise beyond her years. Over and over, Jankovic beats the drum that “the state of your heart is the state of your home.”
She encourages us to deal with our own sin before dealing with our kids’ problems. She challenges us to make spending time teaching, training, and loving on our children more important than keeping an organized and clean home. She inspires us to relax and have a sense of humor in it all. And, most importantly, she alludes again and again that parenting this way is all by the grace of God and not our own doing.
A Fresh Perspective
As the foreword says, “Sometimes…we need someone to open a window and let a breeze blow into the room that we didn’t realize had gotten so stuffy. This book is about opening the windows.” I would agree. It’s not as if what Jankovic writes is new. Instead, it’s age-old advice written through the lens of a witty, seemingly humble mother of small kids.
Since reading it, I’ve begun to refocus on what is truly important during these little years. I’ve found myself being less resentful that I can’t sit down during lunch. And, I’ve gained a bit more of a sense of humor about the intense chaos that inevitably ensues at least once (usually more times) a day. This is one of those books I will be revisiting again and again while I’m in this parenting stage.
Be sure to check out my review of Rachel Jankovich’s next book Fit to Burst, too.