7 January 2010

From the archives - The Rhonda-keeping list ( 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. I made my first batch of soap! Thanks for the inspiration and the tutorial. I've been thinking about it for a long time and finally took the plunge. It was so easy and it looks great. Can't wait to use it. :)

  2. Good morning Rhonda,
    I seem to be finding key phrases in your archive blogs this week, "Look for joy in your day" is such a wise statement. Another timely reminder.

    Blessings Gail

  3. Thank you Rhonda,
    If all the craft is considered part of housework then the guilt of just sitting and doing goes away. I am like you I sprinkle craft into my day so the the yukky but nessary jobs dont feel so bad.

  4. Hi Rhonda,
    I have been reading your blog for quite some time and love it.
    I make lists everyday for myself and I used to work, work, work all day long. Everything HAD to be done. But now a days my to-do lists not only include schooling the kids and household chores but also has a slot for myself and the things that make me happy. (Sewing, reading, chats with friends and so forth.)
    If you make it all WORK then it is not enjoyable.
    Work + Play = Happiness & Contentment.

  5. I have always taken time for myself and I must say..never feel guilty for it.
    In fact I don`t feel guilty about anything I do.
    It is a very good feeling to have. ---Krystal

  6. Thank you so much for your counsel Rhonda. I love your blog :-)

  7. Well, I like the idea of adding sewing or knitting to your list of housework! That way it is on your to do's list every day. Fun!

  8. Wonderful sentiments and wonderful post as always :)

  9. I am in the laid-back phase of my life now too, no longer working full time outside the home. I am also usually so busy I can't turn around, but its a good busy and the work is of my own making.

    It is important to include those "self" things that make me happy.

    - Sheryl


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