5 things that have kept me sane in 28 years of mothering


Since I inadvertently discovered that I have been homeschooling the longest in our local Catholic homeschool group, I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ve done over the past two decades that has kept us going as a family, and me individually as a person. These are my top 5!

1. You know that bible verse that goes, “Train up a Child in the Way he should go, and when he gets old he will not depart from it?” I think that goes for housework too. From an early age, I tried to get my kids to start taking care of their own stuff AND help with the family stuff. The best part of that is that as they became more and more responsible for their stuff, my responsibilities became much lighter! The payoff came in having adult children that know how to care for their own apartments, cook nutritious meals, and can do their own laundry without ruining it! The additional bonus is that the kids who are still at home can prepare meals and clean up after themselves with very little help from me, which is great because I can pursue other things — like blogging!

"5 things that kept me sane" by Elena LaVictoire (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2007 Elena LaVictoire via Flickr; all rights reserved.


2. Working out. When the kids were really little, I used to haul them all to Jazzercise a couple of times a week, where they stayed with the babysitter and I got to exercise and dance for an hour. We did that for about 13 years until my older kids were too busy and I needed to find a different way to exercise that didn’t cost so much. That’s when I took up walking and/or exercise videos in my basement. Just MOVING once a day has saved my mental health. As I have gotten older I also think it has helped me keep my mobility, flexibility, and strength. In the summer I walk while the kids are at cross country practice. In the winter, I work out in my basement before the family gets up — it’s not the most fun thing to do, but once I get going, I’m glad I did.

3. Learning new things. I wanted to understand more about Logic, so I volunteered to teach it this semester at our homeschool co-op. Last year, I proofread all of Noah’s World History papers and sat in on his lectures. I’ve also had to upgrade my computer systems and learn new skills from Google Docs to the latest version of Word. These types of things keep my homeschooling life interesting! It also sets a good example to the children about the importance of lifelong learning.

"5 things that kept me sane" by Elena LaVictoire (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2007 Elena LaVictoire via Flickr; all rights reserved.

4. Prayer time — not always easy to carve out of the day when there are meals to get, lessons to teach, and a house to run. It used to be easy for me to sit and nurse a baby and pray while the baby was nursing and napping. I think the only way to really give it justice now is to simply get up a little earlier and just do it. I also have little check-ins with the Lord during the day, to say thanks for small blessings, or to ask for help. If I can get prayer time in first, and then exercise, all before the family gets up, then I’m having a good day.

"5 things that kept me sane" by Elena LaVictoire (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2007 Elena LaVictoire via Flickr; all rights reserved.


5. So along those lines, it’s important to get enough sleep. I would love to stay up late and watch movies or play on the internet. Having little babies to nurse at night was a good excuse to do either or both of those things!! But since those days are over, it’s time to embrace this time of life and try to get at least a solid seven hours in — so most nights that’s bedtime at 10 p.m. for me!!


Copyright 2017 Elena LaVictoire


About Author

Elena LaVictoire has been married to her high school sweet heart for over 30 years. They have six children (from 26 to 10) who were all homeschooled. When she's not homeschooling or playing with her 2-year-old granddaughter, she blogs regularly about her issues and events that affect her family at mydomesticchurch.com.


  1. tami kiser on

    Definitely my top 5, too, and I can’t keep all 5 up at the same time. Like now, my kids are really slacking on their chores! I’m glad you recommended exercise, too. So many of us think that is “selfish” to take that time for ourselves.

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