Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Loving the Little Years, by Rachel Jankovic

This isn't the first time I've read Loving the Little Years, by Rachel Jankovic. I've read and reviewed this title a couple of times, first in 2011 and then again in 2012. Each time I got something a little different out of the read and both times were beneficial. Life has been a little rough around the edges lately (to put it mildly) and as I was coming to a state of consciousness one morning, my waking thought was, "It's time to re-read this book." So? I did.

When I first read Loving the Little Years I had two children: one toddler and one baby. When I read it the second time I had three children. On this re-read I find myself the mother of five, but instead of them all being little, my eldest is now eleven. The youngest is three with everyone else in between. Life looks different. There is a new kind of busy in our household, but now everyone knows how to put on their own shoes. If I had to describe the differences between parenting then and parenting now, I would say that when the kids were all little the challenges to me were more physical (being sleep deprived with more physical demands of my person) and now they are more mental (as they seek independence).

Rachel Jankovic penned this book when her tribe of children were five and under and she was in the throes of diapering and nursing and chasing around a pair of young twins. I dare say her life looks a lot different now than it did back then. The book's advice is still spot-on for mothering and there are good little nuggets of truth to grasp hold of within these pages. However, in many ways I believe I have outgrown this title for the simple fact that I'm no longer "in the trenches" of babies and toddlers but instead am figuring out social situations, schoolwork, and a growing sense of independence on any number of fronts. The challenges of parenting remain, but they have changed. More often than not, I'm not trying to just "get through the day" but am instead trying to roll with all of the new punches. It's good different (and I like it).

I still like Loving the Little Years and I wouldn't want to give the impression otherwise. To any parent just getting started and who might be feeling a bit overwhelmed (come on now, don't pretend!) I'd say you ought to set aside some time to breathe this book in. See my past reviews (linked above) if you need convincing. Jankovic understands busy and she knows exactly what it's like to have several children  who need you for everything all at once.

As a slightly more experienced mom reading this book, I'd say that the best reminder I received in my re-reading was not to think of my children en masse when dealing with them but to remember that they are individuals. It's still incredibly tempting to make decisions and decrees based on the needs of the group instead of the needs of the one. She speaks to this by reminding us that our children don't see themselves as part of a group by nature. It's super easy to forget about them as different little people when they all approach us at once about a myriad of things. This was something I definitely needed to have said to me these days when personalities want and desire different things and I feel limited in how much I can help each person or do for them. Jackovic approaches this exhortation in the chapter entitled, "Know Your Sheep". We, as parents, are to shepherd each child individually. Yes, there certainly times when decisions have to be made for the whole instead of the one but that doesn't erase the fact that "the one" still remains. Honestly, I'm a little unsure how that's supposed to happen but I guess it's my job to figure it out, right? I have a learning curve ahead of me, I see! That one chapter gave me quite a bit of food for thought.

Re-reading this book certainly didn't hit me in the same way it had previously. To be honest, I probably won't go back and re-read it for myself, personally. That said, I will still heartily recommend it to new mothers with young kids because I still think it's one of the best titles for encouragement and attitude instruction (oh yes, oh yes!) that I've ever read.

Now, if you are a mother who is on the same road as me or are a little ahead of the game and you have a title you'd recommend for me to read in the current stage of life that I'm in, please do share! I'm all ears!


*carrie* said...

Hi. (Remember me?!) =)

I was interested to read your thoughts on this title now at this stage--since my oldest is also 11.

I read this book at least twice in the "little years," and like you said, I gleaned from it each time. And I appreciate the posts she's written on her shared blog over the years as well.

If you can believe it, Naomi turns 6 tomorrow--I am astounded that my baby girl is 6! Glad to check in with you here, Carrie!

Mary B said...

I’m a little farther along in the parenting department. The following titles have been among the best and most helpful I’ve read for the elementary years and beyond. Implementing the principles in these books have been well worth it. Increased peace, mutual understanding, patience and positive problem solving happened in our family as a result. I highly recommend them.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk--Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Siblings Without Rivalry: how to help your children live together so you can live too--Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Christlike Parenting--Glenn Latham. (He has written other good books on the subject as well.)

Carrie said...

*CARRIE*!!! Um, yes, I very most definitely do remember you. ;D I think about you off and on and wonder how you and your family are! How's your dad!?

Mary - THANKS! I will look into these. Appreciate you taking the time to leave me a note with some title suggestions. Thank you!

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