Monday, September 26, 2011

Motherhood in the trenches.

"Fat souls are better than clean floors."

If you have young children,
RUN and get this book.
I'm serious.  Don't walk.
Find it at a local bookstore tomorrow,
or go to and pay the shipping to get it to your door quickly.

This is by far the most refreshing, gospel-centered parenting book I've read in a while.

If I haven't convinced you yet, here are some other reasons you really do want to read this book:
  1. The author, Rachel Jankovic, is the mother of 5 children, 5 and under.  And she writes this on the flyleaf of her rock-solid book: "I didn't write this book because mothering is easy for me.  I wrote it because it isn't."  Booyah.  She's the real deal.  
  2. It is around 100 pages, and each of its 20 chapters can be read in mere minutes.  Perfect for moms, wouldn't you say?!  
  3. It is not not not another how-to book.  Because let's just admit that we're pretty tired of those.  We read 'em and we try to do what they say and it doesn't always work but we feel like it's working for all our friends and that we're just bad moms or we just have bad kids or whatever other lie Satan chooses to tell us.  This is not another how-to book.  It is a book of encouragement....the subtitle is Motherhood in the Trenches.  Have you ever been in the trenches?  Yeah, me too.
  4. It will very gently slap your face hard.  And I know that doesn't even make any sense, but you'll know what I mean after you read it yourself.
My head is still reeling from it, in the best way possible.  Here are a few of the excerpts that are highlighted in my copy:

The need to correct (behavior) is real, but so is the desire to pick a feather out while you're at it.  Do you really want to be the fastest, biggest, pickiest, meanest chicken in the barnyard?  So think about your own language with your children....Do you want to see them feel bad, or see them with a clear conscience...? (p. 19)

So while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice.  Sacrifice your peace for their fun, your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs, your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream that a friend of theirs allegedly had.  Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done.  They are the only part of your work that really matters.  (p. 51)

Motherhood is hard work.  It is repetitive and oftentimes 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 this.  But joy is not giddy.  It is not an emotional rush - it is what happens when you accept your lot and rejoice in your toil.  So rejoice in your children.  Look them in the eyes and give thanks. (p. 102)

See what I mean?

I've been chewing on this for days, now, and here's what I know about my personal trenches:

I'm good at orchestrating activities for my children,
when instead I should be doing more sitting and listening and playing.

I put my to-do list first.  I get it done and then I play.
I want THEM to be my to-do list.

When they have bad attitudes, quick tempers, selfish hearts,
I turn that into a sin against me.  
They have violated my law, offended me and my rules, embarrassed me.
I want to fluff feathers, not pick them out.

I chase after the high of motherhood.
I blog about the bright and shiny moments, and turn them into little gods.
I want the simple, every day things to be enough.
I want my heart to be less interested in how I feel
and more interested in glorifying God when no one is watching.

Bet you didn't bargain for all THAT when you opened up this blog post.

You see, though....I turn these blog posts into books.
And I hope my sweet daughter reads this one day, when she's in the trenches of her own mothering, and learns something about what not to do.  I hope she goes and digs out my old worn, yellowed copy of this book and reads through it herself.  I hope she digs out my Bible, fraying with age, binding unraveling, and sifts through, refreshing herself in the gospel.
She'll, of course, know better than anyone that I was not a perfect mother.
She'll know first-hand all my mistakes and blunders, my grievous sins, the ones that none of you will ever know about.  She'll know.
And I want her to know without a doubt that her mama had to just keep going back to the Cross for more and more grace.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from this past week....the quiet, relaxing moments....the ones I want to thrive in, the ones I want to find my joy in, the ones I want our family life to be marked by.



having chats with my girl who popped up on the counter
(I remember doing this very same thing with my mama, as far back as my memories go.)

slow bathtimes and bedtimes

frog hunting


  1. yes.
    and yes.

    that's all the stuff that i couldn't just say to someone who hadn't read it yet...just took me apart, too.

  2. Wow. I've been there and my kids are grown but wow.