Loving the Little Years

Parenting Books

Two potty accidents, a spilled bowl of oatmeal, no morning naps, and I’m finally stepping into the shower at 11 a.m.  I take a deep breath and tell myself, “This is the new one.”

It’s just one of the memorable anecdotal reminders for moms in Rachel Jankovic’s new book Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the TrenchesIf motherhood had a pain scale like they have at the hospitals, about the time you’re screaming, “Thirteen! Thirteen!” you have to start over and accept the “new normal”, the “new one.”

She’s a young mom of young kids.  She doesn’t pretend to have it all figured out.  She doesn’t tell you how to parent.  Instead, she challenges other moms as she challenges herself: adjust your attitude, change your perspective.

The truth is — and we moms know it even if we don’t want to admit it — that sometimes, it is we that need to grow up, not just our kids.  Rachel reminds us that it’s hard to help our children be thankful and patient when we’re impatient and cranky with them.

It's a little book packed with a lot of food for thought. You may not agree with all of it. But "Loving the Little Years" by Rachel Jankovic will challenge and encourage you as a mom.

It’s not the most well-written book I’ve ever read.  It reads more like a collection of random blog posts than a book — and, in fact, many of the ideas in the book’s chapters can be found in Rachel’s posts on the Femina Girls blog she shares with her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law.  It is, however, what Rachel describes it to be in the first chapter:

“A loose 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.  Think of this as organizational tools for a mother’s attitude.  A lot of the time all you need is a good old perspective adjustment…”

Some of the mental images didn’t always make sense to me — but perhaps it’s because I’m not a racquetball player or a horse rider.  Other stories, however, are embedded in my memory.  I find myself remembering the same truths in the same everyday moments: like driving the car, wishing I could get coffee, wishing the children in the back seat would stop fighting — when I realize, as Rachel points out, that their attitudes are tied to mine and it’s a moment to teach thankfulness and for me to have a growth spurt, too.

“One of the funny things about having children is that you constantly convict yourself by teaching them.”
Loving the Little Years, chapter 3, “Picky Chickens

It’s a little book packed with a lot of food for thought.  You may not agree with all of it.  But Loving the Little Years will challenge and encourage you as a mom.  As one of my friends put it, “this book reminds you what having kids is all about.”

And when you step out of the shower to three children crying and decide you really need coffee and proceed to drop the jar of iced coffee mix where it breaks all over the floor…you stop and take a deep breath before you admit that it might be the new two.

Be sure to check out Rachel’s articles published on the Desiring God blog.
Read Gretchen’s review of
Loving the Little Years over on her personal blog.

DisclosureCanon Press provided a free review copy of this book.


  1. Motherhood has taught me how much I need the Lord and need His grace, and that as I walk in daily dependence on Him, receiving His love, only then can I show His love and grace to my dear son David.

  2. I am a mother of three. Two boys, ages 4 1/2 and 2 years old, and one 2 month old baby girl. Motherhood has taught me to trust my instincts when it comes to if my kids are getting sick or not and to TRUST IN THE LORD for everything else. I often feel inadequate that I’m not giving each of my kids what they need for the stage they’re at right now. Also very difficult to keep up on all the house work with three little ones home and very very difficult to go grocery shopping with all three. All I can do is trust the Lord to provide me with wisdom and strength to raise my kids to know and serve Him.

  3. Motherhood has taught me above all else that God means for life to be enjoyed. Young children have such a wonder about the world. My 20-month old makes me stop and look at the dandelions which I otherwise might have missed, and at how much fun it is to watch a balloon. And my five-month old teaches me that there is nothing greater in life than hugs, snuggles, and smiles!

  4. I’ve only been a mom for 3 weeks now, but I’ve already had such a glimpse into God’s patience with us, His little kids… we are so needy and helpless, and He has such patience to deal with us and care for us.

  5. Since the babies were born, my stain-removal abilities have reached the level of “mad skilz.” πŸ˜›

  6. Motherhood has been one of the sweetest and most difficult seasons of my life so far–we’ll have three children ages two and under come January. πŸ™‚ The Lord has blessed us SO MUCH and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

    I have learned that I cannot change my children’s hearts–that is something that I need to be on my knees asking the Lord to do. All the sheltering, training, Bible memorization, and good habits I can teach them will not cause them to love the Lord with all their hearts. Motherhood is not about behavior modification or controlling externals–it is about me becoming more like Christ, so that my children will want to follow Him, too. I pray that the Lord will give me wisdom to teach them in His ways, and that He will save them at a young age.

  7. Motherhood has taught me to put aside my selfishness and focus on my son without letting my own desires interfere. While it’s important to take care of myself, I have learned that I need to set aside some things to take of him. In the long run, it doesn’t matter if I don’t finish doing my hair or the dishes; his needs should be first and not mine. I haven’t mastered it yet (I’m just a new mom of four months), but realizing the shift in my priorities has been completely humbling, yet still rewarding.

  8. Marriage taught me that sometimes I have to give up my own desires and die to self. But being a mother has brought that lesson to new depths. I absolutely love being a mom (of a one-year-old, with Baby #2 on the way), but every day I am reminded of Christ’s sacrifice for me when I have to “give up” some little thing for my child.
    P.S. Rachel and her family go to our sister church in our town, and her husband works with mine. She is a wonderful mother and a kind person. I’ve only read parts of her book, and am looking forward to reading all of it soon, hopefully!

  9. Motherhood has taught me about God. He created so many different aspects of motherhood (and marriage and fatherhood!) to give us a deeper understanding of his character.

    Every morning, afternoon, and evening I sweep and re-sweep my floors, I remember that Jesus is faithful to continue forgiving me for new sins I commit.

    When I sacrifice my happiness for my son’s, I glimpse a bit of the Grace He gives me daily.

    When I walked my infant daughter down the halls while she cried, I reflected on God’s infinite patience towards me as I cry about things to Him….

    As I carry my little one within me, I think about how the Holy Spirit is also dwelling with me, seeing what I see, and listening to what I listen to…

    Well, there is ketchup and water on the floor, a little girl climbing on a chair, and a small boy licking up the ketchup with his fist……so I have to go!!!

  10. I’m a mommy-to-be (any day now!) but have been a second mom to many children, siblings included. One thing this amazing role has taught me is how children are like a sponge: they soak up everything I say or do. Whether or not I realize it! They pick up on attitudes so quickly. It’s always been humbling to me and a challenge to let my life mirror Christ’s.

  11. I have 4 girls under the age of 6. I’ve learned its a LOT of work! But I love it! I really want to read this book. I often need to be convicted, and remind myself they are just little kids. This moment will past in an instant! I need to enjoy it while I can.

  12. Motherhood has taught me how much I need Jesus…how much I need to grow and mature so I can be the mommy I want to be to my kiddos, and how much I need Him to do that work of change in my heart, because I can’t do it myself! I’ve been wanting to read this book…have it on my amazon wishlist right now!

  13. I am the mother of three boys (4, 2, 4 months). Being a mom is the best and hardest thing I have ever done. I have been learning about dying to self lately. The more kids I have the less time I get and the less I accomplish. I am being constantly reminded to let go of my “rights” to have peace, quiet, and me time. Instead I am trying to embrace this precious time and enjoy serving my babies at 12, 2, 4, 5:30 am and getting up with a smile and loving them all day long. I have been very interested in this book ever since I saw it at a home school fair. I am looking for the perfect book to give to my MOPS group as a membership gift as well. This maybe the one I am looking for….

  14. Motherhood has given me the opportunity to learn my enormous need for God’s grace. It is only by His grace that any mother can be the person they want their child to become.

  15. I’m looking forward to reading this book. As I sat nursing my poor teething baby I thought about what I’ve learned from being a mom over the past 5 months. I’ve learned again that God always gives us what we need to get through the day. From the crazy way my daughter came into the world to the nights when she just wouldn’t go to sleep and second guessing myself about how I’ve decided to do something. He’s faithful and gets us through each situation.

  16. Motherhood has taught (or I should say, is teaching) me that His grace truly IS sufficient. And as much grace as the Father has for me, it’s the least I can do to pour it back into my little family.

  17. Every time I have a newborn, I am surprised at how much selfishness is still lurking in my heart… The most profound lesson I continue learning is that if I lose my life, I will find it, rich and beautiful! We just had our fifth child and I can really relate to Rachel’s writing on the Desiring God blog.

  18. I expected to learn about how selfish I was, or some hard lesson like that. There’s time yet to learn those lessons, but the overwhelming surprise so far has been learning how much love and joy the Father feels toward me through feeling those toward my own children. A “if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children….” sort of thing. Surprised by joy, if you will. πŸ™‚

  19. I’ve learned that I am simply NOT in control of my life, and that it is a wonderful & blessed thing that the Lord is the one who is in control. Motherhood continually defies my expectations and ideas of what “should be”. I love my little daughter so much, she is my sunshine πŸ™‚

  20. I’ve learned (and am learning) that projects can be done in little bites and don’t have to be done perfectly or all at once to get done.

  21. I was surprised to find this book review as my personal copy just arrived Friday. It has been a few years since I have been motivated enough to highlight and mark up a book but I find myself highlighting every other paragraph!

    I agree it isn’t super well written — but it is filled with many gems of wisdom and encouragement.

    I have a Canadian address, and already own the book, but had to comment anyway (just discount me in this giveaway!

    So happy that this book is being talked about!

    Blessings – Vanessa

  22. Being a mother has taught me to enjoy the millions of gifts sprinkled through our every day moments. On Sunday afternoon that looked like baking a pumpkin pie while my 7 month old daughter played in the kitchen at my feet just to be close to me. Every good and every perfect gift is from God!

  23. So far the biggest thing I’ve learned in my mothering journey is to be flexible! Unfortunately I’m not finished learning it yet! πŸ˜›

  24. By the way, my husband and I are Samaritan Ministries members, and it made me smile to see two YLCF bloggers in this month’s birth announcements! You and Jessica had your babies within a few weeks of my daughter’s birth!

  25. Motherhood (and marriage for that matter) has taught so much already, but what comes to mind at the moment is: letting go of perfectionism, especially in homemaking. I mean, are guests really going to notice that I haven’t had time to clean my refrigerator shelves since she was born? Loving on my baby as God has called me to do is so much more important!

    I’ve been wanting this book for awhile—-I’m a big fan of Rachel’s writing (and her mom’s!)!

    ~written with my squirming four-month-old firstborn, Emma Jane, on my lap. πŸ™‚

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