An interview with Rachel Jankovic, author and mother of five

Loving the Little Years

by Trillia Newbell

The little years can be difficult. They are filled with busyness, spills, bruises, diapers, crying and well more diapers. Rachel Jankovic, author of Loving the Little Years and mother of five knows this all too well. Jankovic, who recently celebrated her 31st birthday, has a 7 year old who recently started the second grade and her youngest is 19 months old.

Though she doesn’t have any plans of writing a second book, at the moment, she has taken time to fill us in on her first;  which was published by Cannon Press in 2010. Enjoy getting to know Rachel better as well as her wisdom gleaned from God in the Q & A.

Q: What led you to write the book, Loving the Little Years?

Jankovic: I was asked to write it after a blog post I put up about teaching your daughters to control their emotions got a lot of response. What provoked the original blog post? Having five little children! The underlying reason that I wanted to write the book can maybe be described best through a story. When I was pregnant with the twins, I had a one year old and a two year old. Busy little group, and my enormous belly. I got a lot of funny comments then, but one time really stands out in my mind. I was at Starbucks with the little girls, and the barista was telling me all about how she would never do what I was doing… how miserable it must be, and so on and so forth. There was a moment where I remember thinking how glad I was that I didn’t care what she thought of it. Not at all! I had a beyond supportive and encouraging husband, family members who were entirely happy with the situation, and a whole church load of people who were all overwhelmingly on my side. There was no threat for me in random women out on the town giving me their input. It wasn’t discouraging, or upsetting, or really anything other than funny.

The reason I bring this up is that the immunity to that kind of discouragement was not from within me, it was given to me. Encouragement, challenge, support, and strength are all things that you can bestow on someone else. My desire to share the things we have learned along the way about having a houseful of little kids was simply the desire to pass on some of the same kind of support to other women that I was given by those around me.

Q:  How has the little years been difficult for you? What helped you?

Jankovic: The little years are constantly changing! Sometimes the hardest thing is morning sickness, sometimes sleep deprivation, sometimes discipline problems, sometimes just losing sight of the big picture in the sticky floors. A constantly applicable verse to motherhood though is “where no oxen are, the crib is clean; But much increase is by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4 Funny how often this is a relevant verse for me! Strength is messy, productivity looks like a used barn.

Q: What is the one advice you’d give mothers who are struggling through the little years?

Jankovic: Whatever it is that you think you need, give. When you feel needy, bestow. When you wish your children would be thoughtful of you, be thoughtful of them. When you wish your husband would do something nice for you, think of what kind of encouragement he might need, and give it first. And when you need to correct your children, deal with yourself first. Look for what you are doing that their sin is reflecting. Confess your sin first if you need to, then deal with them.

Q: Have you spoken to women who have struggled with postpartum depression? If so, how would you encourage and comfort them?

Jankovic: My greatest encouragement for them would be the same as any Christian struggling. Any time you look to yourself you will flounder. Look to Christ, not to yourself. Beyond that, be careful who you trust for medical help. Look for a Christian doctor who does not prescribe hastily, and who has a strong sense of personal responsibility.

Q: What are a few creative ways you have structured your day with your little ones? (tasks, crafts, games, schedule, etc.)

Jankovic: This is also something that has changed constantly for me through the years, as everyone seems to be in a new phase all the time. One thing I’ve done is keep a box where I put all the random things that I think could be handy or fun for the kids to craft with. Like old oatmeal containers, bits of ribbon, scraps of paper, etc. Then, when we are having the kind of day that needs a little help, we get it out and see what we can make. Sometimes when I am making dinner and everyone seems a little wild I have them come in the kitchen and sit on the floor in a line and we play word games. Something to keep the little minds occupied, and the little people where I can see them!

Q:  You blog at Femina do you write anywhere else?

Jankovic: Femina is where I blog with Mom, and my sister Bekah, and my sister in law Heather. I occasionally guest blog in other places, but nothing consistent. Canon Press has started a website, lovingthelittleyears.com, and we are hoping in time to grow that into a helpful resource site.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.  I see that you like to knit. Is this a hobby? When do you generally try to knit?

Jankovic: It is true, I love to knit. I squeak it in when I can (mostly at night), although I will admit to keeping a dishcloth going in the glove compartment of our car all the time. Hey, you never know! Other than knitting, I really love to cook, to have our family over. I am a sucker for all kinds of creative things, and love to introduce our kids to them to. We used to have a flower and home shop, and although I don’t do it often anymore, I still love to work with flowers.

Q: Please share a little about your husband and what he does, are you in the ministry?

Jankovic: My husband Luke works for a local economics firm. He is the most selfless person I have ever known! I am very thankful for the leadership, council, and direction that he gives me. Obvious though it is, I couldn’t have this life without him. We are very involved in our church in a number of ways, but right now he is working as a Deacon, working specifically on the fatherhood angle of our Church’s pro-life outreach. His idea is that fathers who are currently taking responsibility for their children ought to be addressing the many young men who aren’t (University of Idaho and Washington State University are both right here). By discussing fatherhood with these men, it is amazing how quickly the conversation turns to God the Father. As he puts it, it takes the conversation away from simply pro-life, and becomes more about new life, which is of course the heart of the issue.

Rachel Jankovic

Rachel Jankovic author of Loving the Little Years

For more information about Rachel and her book, Loving the Little Years visit her site at http://www.feminagirls.com/.

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