"After decades of decline in the number of "stay-at-home" moms in the U.S., the trend has reversed, with 29 percent of women with children saying they are not employed in the outside workforce...married mothers with working husbands were considerably more likely to be stay-at-home by choice, with 85 percent saying they did not work outside in order to care for family. Single mothers were least likely to say that (41 percent)."
The problem is going to be what happens when their children are school age, and these women want to re-enter their career path. They are in for a rude awakening when they realize that, as far as the workplace is concerned, they are poor employment bets because they refused to marry their careers and sacrifice their kids' childhoods.
You see, people still think women are EITHER career women or stay-at-home moms, and you have to choose which. But in reality, most women undergo shifts in focus during childbearing years. When we have young children, our focus shifts to the home front until the kids are school age. Before and after that, we're all about career. If you have your kids before launching your career, no problem. If you launch your career first and it is one that allows you to step out or step down for a while, no problem. But most jobs and career tracks demand a full steam ahead, nonstop climb from start to finish. There is no time out allowed.
In academia, about 50% of assistant professors are female, about 40% are associate, and only 25% are full professors. This has been true for decades, and in my opinion here is why: Because women devote more time to parenting when kids are young, and that "time out" (even if you're tenured) means that your vita is not going to be as long a man's.
Of the female full professors I know, the husband is the full-time parent, adjunct professor, or work-at-home-entrepreneur. And these husbands face the same challenges when they try to return to their careers.
So how about we actually admit that caring for young children is a time-consuming parental DUTY that benefits society, and modify our ideas surrounding "ideal employees" to accommodate that fact? Simply don't hold those "time out years" against people when they re-enter the workplace. Is that really asking too much?http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/09/301005989/in-turnaround-more-moms-are-staying-home-study-says?ft=1&f=1001