The Rhonda-keeping list

5 March 2009
If I were to write up a list of To Do's everyday, it would go something like this:
  • Sweep floor
  • Wash dishes
  • Talk to Hanno
  • Bake bread and biscuits
  • Make bed
  • Smile
  • Relax
  • Sew and knit
  • Water garden
  • Clean cupboards
  • Harvest paw paws
  • Enjoy yourself
  • Cook two dinners, freeze one
  • Get enough sleep
I don't make a list for myself any more, I used to, but now my daily rhythm sweeps me along. But if there were such a list in my home, every day, in among the housekeeping tasks, without fail, Rhonda-keeping tasks would be listed too. 'Talk to Hanno, smile, relax, sew and knit, enjoy yourself and get enough sleep' have as much to do with keeping my home in order as sweeping the floor and baking bread. Without those elements in my day, it's just a list of chores, and while I find joy in working at home now, it wasn't always so and might not always be. I need to relax, smile, talk, knit and sew to enjoy what I'm doing.

I know I'm in that laid back phase of my life now, and there are many of you who are run off your feet with the work you need to do each day, but my days are also full to bursting at the moment, so I make sure I look after myself as I go. If I don't who will? No one. It's not Hanno's job to walk around with me and make me smile, I have no personal assistant who tells me to sit down and have morning tea while she types up a report for me, or does a couple of pages of book writing. It is my responsibility to do what I can to look after my well being as I work. If I don't do that, my well being will run off down the street screaming "I told you so!"

So every day I make time for morning tea on the front verandah. Hanno and I reconnected out there when we both gave up work. For years we'd worked in our jobs, separated every day, and too busy to talk at night. Those morning teas and the talking that went with them brought us back together again, it reinvented US. That 30 - 40 minutes not only gives us a rest after our early morning work, it also sets us up for the rest of the day, we discuss plans, solve problems and draw closer to each other. It also helps us do an extra 60 minutes work for the investment of that restful 30.

I have written before about not seeing knitting and sewing as a craft, but instead as part of my housework. I love to sew, but when I do, I am producing items for our home, or mending clothes or sheets, making curtains, or sewing on buttons, applying patches or restitching a hem. All things that allow us to keep using what we already own or to create what we need from what we already have. Looking after our clothes and soft furnishings is part of my house work. And so is knitting dishcloths, rugs, tea cosies, hats, mittens and scarves. So I don't feel I'm taking time for myself when I knit or sew, even though I love doing it, it's part of my housework.

Finding joy in daily life is just one of the ways I have made this housework thing work for me. Instead of being the misery it used to be, I look for ways to enjoy my day, I smile, talk, relax and rest when I feel like it. It makes a difference, especially on the busiest of days. But you have to remind yourself to do it when you start, so make a written list, or a mental one, and list what you need to do to enjoy your day. And then, even if it puts you behind a bit, do it - look after yourself so you can look after your family. If you get sick, or if you hate what you're doing, everyone will suffer. So give yourself time to do a few things you enjoy throughout the day. Rest. Sit down with a cup of coffee and talk to the children, or who ever is in the house. If no one is there, email or phone a friend. Look for joy in your day, find happiness in the pantry, reinvent your routines so they work for you, and respect the work you do for you are making a warm and comfortable home, and that is one of the most important jobs there is.


  1. Thank you Rhonda! What a wonderful post for those of us running off of our feet! Bless you!

  2. Hi Rhonda,
    I am a new reader to your blog and have been scouring it for a few days now. I am a mother of 5 and "want" to enjoy being a homemaker, but hate it... so I can really relate to everything you write in this entry about once not enjoying it. So now I am trying to change my attitude and I get the impression of just pottering along doing my housework... I have always had an attitude of "get in and get it over and done with" I must say that pottering on is making me feel more satisfied. Fixed up the vegie patch, just a few things in there, tomatoes, chillis, spinach and herbs... oh and I bought a strawberry plant for my 3 year old. Thankyou for making me feel like I can do this...

  3. Good morning Rhonda,

    I totally agree with you. I am now learning to wind down and it is really difficult for me after a life of rushing each day. We all need to take time for ourselves. If we don't, something will suffer,, marriage, friendships.Great words of wisdom Rhonda.

    Blessings Gail

  4. Funnily I find myself when getting cranky with jobs...Thinking Rhonda would be telling me to "find the jOy" or Put it down and come back to it!!!
    I actually am one of those natural born cleaners and homemakers.
    But my ,life is busy with three kids and I get snowballed often and this changes my attitude.
    I am learning the importance of...
    What can wait ,what must be done,and so forth.
    Cultivating a happy home is one mean feat!

  5. Thank you Rhonda for a wonderful post! I am guilty for doing for others....and not finding the time to just sit and relax.

    I always seem too busy to write a short note to someone or to pull out my sewing for a moment.

    I never thought of making it part of my daily schedule:)

    I sometimes finish the day thinking...what did I do all day?

    I sometimes feel guilty if I don't finish the laundry or I have dishes in the sink...something I am going to have to work on I guess?

    It will be nice to spend sometime in the garden again:) I always find time to do that:)

    Much Love,


  6. Thank you for this lovely post. Most of my day is spent in the office but I will use this to try to find joy there too.

    I will add 'smile' and 'relax' to my to do list in the morning and see if it makes a difference! :)

  7. HEllo Rhonda,
    I spent the morning home on purpose.
    The service work at the elementary postponed till next week. I have cleaned out three kitchen drawers and I feel so empowered knowing that there is order somewhere in the chaos that packing to move and then unpacking to stay has created here. It felt so good!
    It was not a task on a list either.
    I even just stopped for a bite.
    Thanks for the encouragement in doing so.
    I am one of those with my feet run off.
    Picking the peas in the garden was so nice this morning too.

  8. Rhonda, you have hit the nail on the head exactly. I was sitting in the sun yesterday taking 30 minutes off to have a cuppa with Husband and do a spot of stitching. Sitting there I could not help but think how wonderful life is. It was such a feeling of utter contentment and worries I have with family and life all got put on the back burner for 30 minutes and I got up feeling really refreshed. Ready to cope again. My late-new-year-resolution is to make this a regular exercise. By the way Husband remarked how good it felt too.Thank you

  9. Rhonda..I too am in the 'laid back phase' of my life and am enjoying it tremendously. My days are full of content! I liked what you said about finding 'happiness in the pantry'..oh that truly is a place where I find much satisfaction..doesn't take much I know. (hehe) Soon spring will arrive and I so look forward to gardening.

  10. Hello Rhonda,

    I am a busy Mum of 6 precious ones, with another on the way. Some time ago, my dear husband gently said to me - "You're not doing anyone any favours if you don't look after yourself. We NEED you to look after yourself ..." That was a real revelation to me (sounds silly, I know). When you are busy, it's SO easy to just 'try and push through'. Many times I fell flat in a heap - not very pleasant for anyone! And, you know, taking time out makes things seem SO much more manageable ... and enjoyable!

  11. This is a wonderful post Rhonda. My DH and I have tea when we get home from work every evening. It is our time to reconnect and refresh before starting our evening routine of dinner and such. On weekends, we find ourselves about 3 pm, saying "how about a cup of tea?" It is a wonderful part of our routine now.

  12. Hello everyone! Rebecca, that husband of yours is a wise soul. He's a keeper, that's for sure.

  13. I so enjoy reading your blog! your life looks fun! I want to do the things you do someday!

  14. Dear Rhonda,
    What an encouraging post and I love what you say about finding joy in your day. All those everyday tasks such as weeding the garden and pegging out washing, I have declared 'mundane no more'! I see them more as acts of service, part of caring for my family.
    I have just started a blog which I've called eightacresofeden. Eden literally means delight and its all about the delight I take in the natural surroundings of my home which is set in 8 acres of eucalypt forest in a beautiful part of the NSW mid north coast. I'm also going to be writing about the delight I take in my role as a wife, mother of 6, homemaker and home educator, sharing lots of ideas and inspiration for those who want to raise children with an appreciation of the natural environment, who want to pass on to their children important lifeskills such as cooking, breadmaking and gardening, as well as maybe teach them at home, if that is what you are called to do .. it bears much fruit I can say (after 10 years) and now I want others to share in the harvest and help those maybe just starting out on the journey.
    It's early days yet and not many visitors so far. Do drop by if you have time! If it's okay I'd like to add you to my bloglist when I add it in, as your blog is one of the best, its my one stop shop for homemaking advice (saving me lots of time) and it has helped me tremendously.

  15. I'm very proud of myself... I stitched up the finger of my glove so that I can go on using it for a while longer. I didn't run right out and buy another pair of gloves like I would have only a few years ago.
    And that will be several dollars that I can save for something that my family needs... Like new shoes for growing teenagers! ;-)

  16. Absolutely true, and very good advice. Just a shame you have to reach a certain age to understand these things most of the time.

  17. What wonderful advice... something that many of us need reminding of.

  18. Wonderful post. I don't have anything to say that the others haven't already said. But just reading your post relaxed me and I appreciate that. All the best! Cheers!

  19. Thankyou Rhonda.
    I just said to my best friend this morning that I need to start believing that my dreams and desires are just as important as those of my family and sometimes doing things for me. Now I've come to visit you and you have reinforced that for me.
    Sometimes on the bottom of my lists of tasks for the day I will find that one of my children will have written something like- relax or read some of my book or go for a bike ride. Maybe they could see what I had failed to notice and were trying to tell me something.
    so thankyou for telling me it's ok to indulge myself a little.

    cheers Kate

  20. I am reading your post after lunch outside in our peaceful, sunny garden. The three-year-old and I have had a chat and now he has gone to sleep at the breast. Your post has summed up my day.

  21. I love this post! I don't know how you do it, but I feel your peace as I read your writings. Thank you for all you share with us, your faithful visitors!

  22. I love that....find happiness in the pantry....thank you for all of your wonderful advice.

  23. Thank you so much for reminding me that when I do use my hands to create something for our home and or our family I am doing my homemaking! I shouldn't feel guilt over enjoying these precious moments!
    I agree it should be part of my daily activities!

  24. Your list is alot like mine..I do find enjoyment in my home..doing the laundry, dishes, and so on. I love reading your blog. Very interesting. God Bless..

  25. Hi Rhonda!

    Thank you for your blog. It is truly a gift, and reminds me to slow down and be purposeful with my days. I need to hear that! I have been wondering if you subscribe to any particular spiritual/ faith-based belief. If you choose not to discuss this on the blog, I certainly understand and respect that. Just curious!


  26. Your post is so inspiring. I wish I had the knack to relax. But I do not, I always need to have a goal and something to work towards. Although this attitude gets me ahead in the workforce, its a curse in my daily life. I wish I could just sit, mend, relax and be able to truly enjoy without feeling that nervous itch.

    I've been told I may have ADHD. That may be the case, but I truly wish I could strive to live the simplicity that you do each and everyday.

    Bless you.

  27. What a wonderful post, you guide and remind us of the obvious that is forgotten too often.

    Thank you :)

  28. Hi Rhonda,

    Thanks for the post. One of the things I always wonder when I read your blog is if your marriage changed after you both quit your busy lifestyles and starting your down to earth lifestyle. I'd love to see a post on this subject.

  29. Hello Rhonda,

    you are so right! I used to wait for great wonderful things to happen, for the weekend to do something nice, etc. Now I find joy in (almost) everything I do.
    I also remember my mother always putting herself last, always having something more to do, never having time just for a cup of coffee and some talking, and she always made the rest of the family feeling guilty while she thought she were doing everything to make us happy.


  30. This was such a beautiful posting. I've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now, but I really wanted to be able to comment to let you know how much I am finding I look forward to your blog :) I tend to make lists and "run myself off my feet" for sure! I loved when you said to find happiness in the pantry. Something I could really work on, thank you!!

  31. Rhonda, Thanks for the reminder to be human beings and not just human doings. Life is not just one big list of chores.

    My husband and I have coffee together every night after dinner and talk for about an hour. We also take 15 minutes in the morning to have breakfast together before we both start work for the day. I think that is part of the glue that holds together a marriage.


    AM of the Bread

  32. Thanks for the reminder that the "crafts" I do are actually useful, not just hobbies, and it's okay to find time to do these things. So often I feel guilty for sitting down with my knitting for half an hour instead of vacuuming the carpets, and while my husband assures me it's fine, I'm not so good at accepting it myself. Though, I think the thing I have most difficulty with is "get enough sleep" - just not sure how that's possible while working outside the home and trying to keep the home nice.

  33. So beautifully written ~ and so vitally important! It's quite common for us to get caught up in the whirlwind of our days and miss the very fact that these ARE our days. OUR days. I wish your lovely post could be on the front page of every paper!

  34. Rhonda- I am a regular reader- but not a commenter. But I just had to tell you today that your words really spoke to me! As a homeschooling mom of 3 kids- I often just grudgingly get through my "chores" and then reflect that I didn't have any "fun" with the kids. I think I need to lower my expectations and enjoy more.

    I enjoy your blog so much. Thanks for spending your time blessing us with it!

    Kristin in California

  35. Rhonda,
    I hope someday my husband & I can live like you & Hanno! Thank you for your inspiration.

    On a seperate note, I was wondering if you could help me track down a pumpkin...I lived in Queensland for a year & ate the most wonderful baked pumpkin. I remember people calling it Japanese Pumkin, but I wonder what species it was. I've heard of Queensland Blue & Jarrahdale...Can you help me? I'd love to grow some here in the States.

    Thanks - Jenny

  36. Oh thank you thank you thank you for posting this.

    I struggle so much with managing my time and feeling there are so many things to do and not feeling as if I can enjoy my day because of it. I'm saving this to reread. It came to me on such a perfect day.


  37. Another lovely post and comments.
    I used to feel guilty if my DH cqame home and found me sitting having a cuppa or reading during the day. I felt I had to justify every minute of the day because of my decision to be a stay-at-home mum. Until I realised that my working day begins at 7am (I get up at 6:30 and take my time over breakfast and coffee.) Often I am still on my feet at 9pm. That's a 14 hour day. If I worked 'out' I would get a lunch hour and tea breaks. So now I give myself those breaks, guilt free. I read blogs, post, wander the garden with my camera, read a novel, play a computer game with the kids or whatever. And since I have been doing that, I manage the crazy hours (4pm-9pm) without the tired slump I used to have.
    I still don't manage much husband time. That may change as he will be leaving irregular shiftwork for a day job soon.

  38. This is such a great post Rhonda! Thanks for sharing and encouraging us all. :)

  39. What a beautiful post! I just found your blog through another blog about gardening and I'm so glad I did!


  40. oh I love this post.. my husband has just semi-retired. I think I will make a daily ritual of morning tea like you do..

    have you ever read Simple Abundance? a wonderful book!

    did I tell you how much I love your blog? wonderful to find someone who has similar ways to mine and they live in Australia too!

  41. found this post from Pinterest. It's so helpful and encouraging. Thank you for your wisdom!


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