It's all over the news...Moms who work vs Moms who don't. This has been going on since I remember. My own Mother worked, 50 hours a week all the time I was growing up. She did it by necessity, not by choice. Many women do.
When our sons came a long, I faced the dilemma...work outside the home vs. being a stay at home Mom. I was lucky, I had the choice. What I researched and decided was that whatever a Mom is happiest doing, the child will be happy. If the Mom hates her job, has long hours, comes home rag-dead tired, it adversely affects the family. If a Mom likes her job, has dependable, consistent daycare, and can balance family and career, the family will prosper.
Therein lies the issue with working Moms. Can you have balance in your life? It is said, "It's not the quantity of time, it's the quality of time" (spent with your family). Guess what, if you don't have some quantity of time, you won't have quality of time.
The answer is choice. You have to make the best choice for your own circumstances. Respect Mothers choices. Nobody else can dictate that to you. Much as they will try. It may be the PTA Mom who brags about her stay-at-home kid-friendly activities implying that because you work, you are not giving your children everything you can, it may be the corporate executive Mom sneering at you for "just staying home to be with your kids." What is right for them may not be right for you.
I swear, on that delivery table, you not only birth a beautiful baby, you birth guilt. It is not "Jewish" guilt, it is not "Catholic" guilt, call it "Mom" guilt if you must put a label on it. But it is guilt, all the same. You will never get over the feelings of "shoulda-woulda-coulda". On her last days, I looked at The Queen Mum and said, "You were such a good Mom". She looked lovingly into my eyes and said, "I did the best I could." That's all any of us Moms can do. Sometimes we guess correctly and score, sometimes we totally strike out. But we do the best we can.
**Yes, of course, Dads play an integral and important part of the equation. For the sake of this particular post, I did not address Dads.