Let’s get this out of the way first. Life is not a zero-sum game. If you have good memories at home with your family, and you quit your job to stay home with your family all the time in the hopes of making more good memories, those good memories will abruptly end. You know why? Well, there’s eviction, because if you quit your job you can’t pay the rent and so there goes the roof over your and your kids’ heads, and no money means no Rockwellian Christmases round the tree with the golden retriever or whatever the hell Brooks is on about, plus you and your family will probably drive each other nuts if all you do is stay shut up in the house with them and stare at them like a cat at a mouse hole, waiting for good memories to emerge. Plus, eventually you’ll all starve. You need to leave to buy groceries sometime.
Seriously now, let us never forget that David Brooks is here prescribing that women should quit their jobs and find more fulfilling and memorable times at home. Clearly his own memories of familial warmth will not lead him to resign his NYT columnist job in order to fully exist in the bosom of his loved ones. Fuck that. Let some woman do that. He’s got ideas in his head and things he needs to say, and she’s got, well, boobies.
Add to that the idea that work is never memorable nor rewarding, or at least never in such a way that it outweighs a fat Thanksgiving turkey and a soft and heartfelt prayer, and you come inevitably to the conclusion that David dear has been reading the Little House books again and waxing nostalgic of the days when we girls were so seduced by the magic of, I dunno, knitting and the fire or something that we’d wait all day for the chance to rub his feet. What a jackass. I have at least as many joyous memories involving my work as I do involving my family and I don’t compartmentalize them and weigh and balance which means more than which because you know what? It’s all life, bitches, it’s one life, not these little boxes people like Brooks and his fellow NYT “trend” writers and “lifestyle” scribes see. It’s a life, and if it’s not memorable and rewarding in all its aspects, then you’re just taking up oxygen the rest of us could use, so get off your ass already and change what you don’t like.
David, if you don’t have good memories of your work, I suggest you get a new job. If you feel more fulfilled by being at home with your family than by working, I suggest you stay at home with your family. Trust me, the public that survived the death of Mark Twain will survive your loss. I do, however, suggest that once you start using your personal preferences as to work and family and what really matters to advocate for what everybody else should do (and this applies to the woman who Brooks is addressing in his column as well), you pause and look around and decide if it’s really the world outside you see, or the pink and shiny inside of your own colon.