In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act on a bipartisan vote. President Nixon vetoed it, on the advice of Pat Buchanan, conservative fundamentalist leader, as well as because of a grassroots campaign of flyers that circulated in Bible Belt states that led parents to believe that "it would be illegal for parents to make their children go to church or take out the trash, that children would have the right to sue their parents and organize labor unions." While I wish the act could have conferred such protections for children, this was undoubtedly not the case. But the bill died and was buried.
Of course, every family should have the right to decide what is right for them. But those women who need or want to work should have the support to do so.
How many families are living in poverty because they can't afford daycare for their small children? When my children were small, it was painfully obvious to me that I could not work because the cost of daycare would immediately suck up any income I might make. I did briefly work as a nursery worker at a health club because I could take my child with me, but those opportunities are not available to everyone.
Currently, low income families can get daycare assistance through the Department of Human Services, and the amount of assistance depends on one's income. I would like to see daycare assistance also provided to pregnant teenagers and parents who are full time college students so that they could finish school if they desire to.
My personal opinion is that if a woman can stay home and care for her children herself, this is the best alternative. But single parents who don't have that option should have some support. Being able to work is essential to the survival of many families.
What does the research say about this issue? studies continually come up with inconsistent, conflicting results.
So the bottom line is, do the best you can. And in whatever situation you find yourself, I hope you can find support rather than condemnation.