OHMIGOD, SOMEONE HAS MIXED ME UP WITH JUDITH WARNER. I just read Garance�s post in response to my week�s writing and to Judith Warner�s dreaded reappearance on The Times website. Although Garance made the linkage, I don�t think this is her mistake -- because she has been following my writing since I published �Homeward Bound� in the Prospect last December. But many of the commentators seem to read Garance�s post and conclude that, like Warner, I take the position that life is so hard for mommies, they cannot keep their jobs and need to be rescued by an omniscient government. Nothing could be further from the truth, as anyone who has read anything by or about me during the last six months surely knows. Even seeing the phrase �Judith and Linda� makes me a little dizzy.
It is true that when the women graduate from Harvard, or anywhere else, as I said, the speedup in well-paid jobs has made the prospect of finding good work and having a home life harder. It is also true, and this is my point, that the women have a harder prospect than the men do because they drag the ball and chain of the belief that they are responsible for the lion�s share of housework. BUT I AM ADVISING THEM TO LET IT GO. Go to school. Take work seriously. Don�t marry a jerk who threatens to �go out to dinner� when you�re trying to get work done while, God forbid, the barbecue isn�t lit, as Warner deliciously describes her lovely husband. Don�t take the party bait. It�s poison.
That said, I think Garance has a very good point: It may be a matter of temperament. When I was doing the interviewing for the article, I was astonished at the mountain the women who quit could make of every life task. One of them quit her job at a law firm because she �had a wedding to plan.� Maybe I should make a verb out of the mindset that causes you to care about cookies: To Warner.
Here�s the question, though (and it�s always my question): Why is it that men don�t quit to make weddings . . . . or end of school parties?