I am currently in the process of reading Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic for the second time. That doesn’t happen often in my life (actually almost never), but because this book is on loan from my friend Kara, and because it’s been an absolute game-changer for me in the past couple of weeks, I had to re-read it . . . and blog about it. Really, it was that good.
Rachel is a stay-at-home-mom to five kids and wrote this book while they were five years old and younger. That alone should win her some kind of literary accolade. To have the ability to write a book (under that kind of pressure) about motherhood that gracefully extended encouragement and at the same time offered timely rebuke is absolutely incredible to me and is probably one of the many reasons why I’m reading it for the second time.
I’ve found myself in the middle of a season that I love, but that can also be quite confusing to me. I have two beautiful boys that I LOVE that I am blessed to be able to stay home with. I know there are lots of moms who would envy me because of that, and at the same time that I am so happy to be home, there are times I feel frustrated, lost, like a completely different person I don’t know very well, and just a little bit exhausted in every possible way imaginable. It upsets me that on some days, the latter has more of an effect on my view of mothering than the former.
For me, reading this book was immeasurably encouraging: to keep at mothering; to continue patiently disciplining; to keep my head up and my heart extended when moments in my day become trying, annoying, frustrating, (whatever the current adjective of the day is); to remember that my “job” as being a mom is so much more . . . it is a calling. But this book also convicted me in some very real areas of my mothering: when I think about times I discipline because of my own frustration in a situation rather than out of love for my children and the desire to see them grow; when I consider the current balance of caring for my kids versus caring for anything and everything else in my day. I totally needed the shot in the arm to keep at the good things, and the kick in the pants to root out the bad.
So for what it’s worth, I want to strongly encourage other moms who might be feeling a little like the mom-I-don’t-want-to-be on some days, to grab a copy of Loving the Little Years. It’s only 100 pages so you could totally read it twice too.
PS – I was also incredibly encouraged by two posts that Rachel wrote for John Piper’s blog: Motherhood is a Calling and Motherhood as a Mission Field. She also blogs for Femina should you want to read on a more consistent basis :).