I read this very interesting article about the current trend of women working longer than ever into their pregnancies and returning sooner than ever back to work. The article, and my child development courses said babies need at least their first year with a primary care giver for optimal development. It could be mom, dad, grandparent, etc. but someone who will give the baby as much one on one care as possible.
The problem is that because of the increasing two income lifestyle of most familes, both parents need to work if they want to live as they are accustomed too. Plus, if a woman stays out of the workforce for 1-2 years her earning power can decrase 18%. Plus a woman might enjoy her job, why does she have to give it up? But, Women who work full time don't come home and put their feet up on the couch and read the paper, they come home to a full time job too. Work never ends.
Personally I'm glad my mom was a stay at home mom. No day camps or frantically trying to find a babysitter for school holidays. If I'm sick, no problem, I can stay home without having to rearrange schedules, meetings, appointments. Growing up, I assumed "that's how it was". But... now that I'm older and perhaps some day in the future will have kids myself I really wonder. Yes, being home for your baby is important. But then if you want more than one kid, do you just stay home for years? What about that extra income? What about the career advancement opportunities lost? Are daycares really so bad? How do people who work and have children do it? How do people stay home at allll day do it?