Ok, here's my deep, dark secret:
I like being a homemaker. I use that term purposely instead of stay-at-home-mom. My nanny jobs were the most fun jobs I'd ever had, so the fact that I love being with M all day is neither a surprise nor a secret. It's the fact that I like the other aspects of my "job" that is the secret beating in my little feminist heart.
Nobody is more surprised that I am that I like cooking and cleaning and meal-planning and laundry and the myriad other tasks that go into making a home. I grew up in a distinctly slobbish household, and never really got into the habit of being neat. Seriously - I was in college before I learned what flat sheets are for and how to make a bed. It simply wasn't done in our house. Plus, the only cleaning that went on was what my sister and I were forced to do, halfheartedly, as our "Saturday morning chores." I grew up surrounded by dirt, clutter and (gasp!) dog excrement, and it never occurred to me that things should be different.
But here I am, 13 years after leaving home, creeping ever closer to being the kind of person whose house is always clean enough for spur-of-the-moment company. I've even gotten to the point where I notice things like dusty baseboards and range hoods and cobwebs in the corners of windows. On any given day, my house may still be adrift in clutter, but by and large, it is clean and sanitary.
The fact that I can say this makes me really proud. I actually enjoy the process of making my home clean (and, of course, I like the results). I also like the challenge of putting together interesting, healthy(ish) menus each week and trying to design menus that keep us at or under budget. It just makes me so happy when my little corner of the world is neat and organized.
I do, by the way, recognize that these things of which I am so proud of accomplishment are the basics of life. I'm also aware that the vast majority of people manage to accomplish them and hold jobs, but I am not one of them (or at least, I didn't used to be. Wonder what'll happen when I go back to work?). When I was working, the extent of my meal planning was "chinese or pizza?" And cleaning was something to be done in frantic day-long spurts when company was coming. Even after the house was "clean," there were always at least a couple of rooms that I could never show anyone. So this whole happy housewife routine is very new for me.
That said, I do have a long way to go. I still haven't figured out how to do chores while M is awake, and her (brief) naptimes are divided among getting work done and playing on the computer, meaning that I do still tend to do a lot of my cleaning via marathon. But still, visiting my mom's house last week have me a huge sense of how very far I've come.