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Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  3,698 ratings  ·  522 reviews
From the author: "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 here in the middle of it. I know you need encouragement because I do too. "This is not a tender reminiscence from someone who had children so long ago that she only remembers the sweet parts. At the time of ...more
Paperback, 102 pages
Published March 7th 2011 by Canon Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  3,698 ratings  ·  522 reviews

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Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

There were parts of this book that I loved! I thought she had some great advice, and there were definitely several points that I really needed to hear. I would like to re-read this book just to help me remember those points. She had some great thoughts: about having a joyful attitude and refusing to use the word overwhelmed, about disciplining with purpose to build kids up rather than tear them down, and about how we get frustrated with our kids' misbehaviors when we ourselves are misbe
Nov 29, 2011 rated it liked it
This book left me with very mixed feelings. I didn't just "like it" - I loved parts and hated parts. If I could, I'd give it 40% one star and 60% four to five stars, but will accept that we have to communicate in averages.

There were a lot of very practical points in the book. Some of the images and statements have really stuck with me. I like the concept of not being a "picky chicken" and tearing our family members down. This is a great principal for marriage too.

My two favorite points where th
Joceline Foley
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely the most encouraging book I've ever read on parenting. I could have underlined about 3/4 of the book if I hadn't reigned myself in. My kids are currently three, two, and one, and I admittedly have many days when I feel defeated, exhausted, and like I'm doing unproductive work. Of course I love my kids, and I enjoy them, but three kids that little are a LOT of work. Jankovic (the mother of five children five and under) gives Biblical wisdom, practical tips, and encouragement to ...more
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
The worst I can say of this book is that I kept trying to wipe the fake spaghetti stains off the front cover. Maddening.

Other than that, 10/5 stars.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
"It was okay" was honestly the best review I could give.
As parenting books go, it just doesn't bring a lot to the table.
It feels more like a collection of blog posts...the kind written late at night that don't always make as much sense when the writer reads them back the next day.
Lots of anecdotes and metaphors, not a lot of practical tips or strategies.
The author also comes off as ultimately unrelateable, which is surprising, because you'd think a book by "mom in the trenches," should be VE
Aaron Ventura
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First off, shoutout to Jake McAtee because I borrowed this book 3 years ago and only now got around to reading it. Thanks for forgetting or just being more forbearing with book borrowers than I am!
On to the review...

"Loving the Little Years" is a series of hilarious and encouraging lessons on the hard work of motherhood. My wife and I read this together as we prepare for our first child and it is a book we plan on revisiting many times in the future. Rachel is a good writer and doesn't waste wo
Steve Hemmeke
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This little book of little chapters about little people was more than a little helpful. While dishing up some juicy ones about nursing twins while the ever helpful husband sleepwalks, and the like, the author encourages and points to important principles.

The encouragement is to take heart that your labor is not in vain. Rejoicing in the task before you is possible! You can be in the trenches (and the author knows them in depth), and not be overwhelmingly frazzled and frustrated.

The au
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wish I would’ve read this one sooner!
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. As a dad of little girls, I wonder how someone with boys would feel reading this and if they would find it as immensely relatable as I did. My wife is on the front lines but I can tell that the experience she communicates and the encouragements from this book come from a closely shared experience and struggle. Very well done.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it liked it
There were many things I liked about this book, but it was missing some key elements.

I appreciated her frankness, and her acknowledgement that children are sinners who need to be taught repentance and given forgiveness. She has clearly been (and is) "in the the trenches" and offers some refreshing perspective and practical advice for day-to-day life with littles.

But, despite her emphasis on showing grace to our children, she does almost nothing to address the grace we all need as mothers. We al
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, nonfiction
4.5 stars
This is a very short book with short chapters. I appreciated this format!

I gleaned some great parenting ideas and encouragement from this book.

I recommend this book to any mom with 3 or more kids, but even a new momma can gain good parenting advice here.

Here is one lesson I learned: 20 minutes . When you are overwhelmed (blow-out diaper, hungry kids, child just got hurt, etc.), look at the clock and think, "This will be over in 20 minutes." If you work hard, not dragging your feet and
May 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012, book-club
Not something I particularly enjoyed reading. While I didn't necessarily disagree with what the author was saying, I didn't really agree with it either. I felt like the book was thrown together - something I could easily write if I was so inclined. Lots of strange metaphors that didn't make any sense. Lots of jumping around. Lots of examples from her life that seemed kind of thrown in for no real reason. Just because someone has five kids five and under, it doesn't mean they are a better parent ...more
Stacy Guillory
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

As I read this book, holding my 8 week old while he naps (it's the only way right now) I was encouraged and convicted. It is a great reminder of our purpose as mothers. Our God-given reason for why we were created and blessed with little children; to bring them to the truth of the gospel and as they launch into society may they go with confidence and the tools needed to be truth bearers.
Rachel Schultz
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
FIRST READ: sometime in 2014
SECOND READ: read for a little summer after covid power boost
Mary Beth
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Motherhood is hard work. It is repetitive and often menial. Accept it. Rejoice in it. This is your toil. Right here. Those are their faces. Enjoy them. The days of your life are supposed to be full of things like rejoice in you children. Look them in the eyes and give thanks. You will not even remember the work of all this planting when the harvest of joy overwhelms you.”
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Though not a mother yet (so take my rating with the appropriate grain of salt!), I really enjoyed this book. I saw some reviews criticizing the lack of Scripture references in the book, but I think the author is writing for a Christian audience and therefore just assumes a familiarity with Scripture's admonitions to parents. If you think of Christian non-fiction, as I sometimes do, in the framework that usually applies to sermons (some books are doctrine, some are exposition, some are applicatio ...more
Claire Johnson
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was great. It wasn’t fluffy but still encouraging. It was a short, quick read. Christ-focused. It had a tone of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get the work done because God gave you this work and He doesn’t make poor decisions.” My enneagram 8 personality loves this because it isn’t so emotionally driven :)
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a quick read that makes you sit back and evaluate your parenting. Some great truths to apply to your parenting.
Megan Miller
Jun 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Cons: I feel that she often focused too much on us and our obedience, instead of reminding us that we are insufficient and Christ has to carry us.

That said... obedience is asked of us, of course. And she has some excellent practical parenting nuggets packed in here. I really liked it.

I liked her format, how she didn't have a super connected throughline. I can imagine that making it easier for a busy mom to grab and reading spurts and still get something out of it.
Sarah Schrecengost
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for mothers and mothers to be.
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Some Pros:

-Good suggestion to set behaviors into stories. For example, if a boy is hitting a sister, “tell him about a brave knight who went out to fight the dragon but started hitting the princess instead.”

-Comparing our emotions to horses¸ “The horses are not the problem. There is nothing wrong with the emotions . . . The goal is not to cripple the horse, but equip the rider. A well-controlled personality is a powerful thing. That is what dangerous women are made of.”

The Big Con (no double mea
Catherine Gillespie
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the logistics and the mess and the hubbub of motherhood and forget to have this bigger perspective. Each moment comes and goes and seems fleeting, but they add up to a life. That’s why I really appreciate Rachel Jakovic’s book Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. It’s a short book, with short chapters, but each is packed with encouragement to be mindful and deliberate in how we handle those moments with our children.

I took over three typed
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This little book is FULL of practical, biblical, encouragement for moms of young children. I know that it was hastily written and edited by a busy mom of 5, so I largely ignored the grammatical mistakes.

Passages to remember and return to:

From “Picky Chickens”: “So think about your language with your children. When they disobey, do you talk about your own hurt? Are you pointing to all the work that you have to do now that they screwed up? Do you want to elaborate at all on how bad, bad, bad tha
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I am giving this book two stars because there were only a couple key points that left an impression on me. I liked what was said about our bodies being made to be used - it is a good reminder for all us mothers whose bodies will never be the same after childbirth. And I also like the part about remembering the Bible says our toil - though it seems endless as a mother - is meant to be our joy, our gift from God. However, a lot of what Jankovic talked about seemed a little off at times. She mentio ...more
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting, 2015, christian
I would have rated it higher except for the chapter where the author says that if, as a mother, you feel like you're losing yourself, you shouldn't spend time selfishly on yourself, but seek your identity in your husband and your children. The way that passage was written rubbed me the wrong way. Shouldn't I find my identity in Christ? I am more than just a wife and mother, and I don't need to be shamed into ignoring the whole of my being to just focus on these 2 parts of me. There were many par ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I may have read this book a bit prematurely. I think it will be helpful to read again with older/multiple children.

Favorite Quotes/Ideas to Remember:
One of the great things about having children is that you constantly convict yourself by teaching them.

It is the parents' responsibility to help the children refine their gifts. If their gifts are not the same as yours, the first step is to own them as though they are.

You discipline because you are the rightful authority over them, and the rightfu
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
It was encouraging and funny at times, but I thought it needed editing. She stories and perspectives were helpful for a Christian mother, I wish just that she had completed her thoughts more often. At one point, she says that she sometimes writes when kids were running around the house and it definitely shows!
Joanna Jennings
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
This is a great little book full of powerful nuggets for parenting. I disagree with other reviewers who thought her tone was self-pitying or arrogant. Rachel shares real life lessons and an excellent perspective on raising little ones for Christ. I will definitely be reading this again and seeking to improve my relationship with my littles.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just picked this up for a second time. Tiny little book packed full of encouragement, humor and truth. It is so relatable for every parent and helps fix my perspective (that so easily slides to selfishness and pride)in this crazy whirlwind of motherhood.
Amanda Cornelius
Funny, encouraging, convicting, practical.
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Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She graduated from New Saint Andrews College, but mostly reads cookbooks now to avoid story grip (being highly susceptible). She and her husband Luke have seven children who know how to party: Evangeline (13), Daphne (12), Chloe (10), Titus (10), and Blaire (8) and Shadrach (5), and Moses (2).

Rachel is the daughter of Douglas Wilson and Nancy Wilso

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