According to the Times magazine yesterday, twenty years ago I made a career mistake and became one of the lowest of the low -- aka a mother who decided to look after her children herself, particularly as I had a good degree.
*cough cough* I must say that I never twigged my status.
I knew there were rumblings about careers etc but I was always determined to look after my children first. Luckily my husband agreed with me. His mother for economic reasons had to work when he was little and he hated it. It worked for me and my situation.
Thanks to my mother's example, I also knew that women who returned to work after their children were nearly grown were able in some cases to leapfrog women who had stayed in work while they had children. The trouble with the Mommy track is that no one has ever been able to reconcile the needs of ill children to the demands of work. My mother benefited from a now discontinued program which was aimed at women who were returning after a career break. I wish those types of programmes had flourished. Personally I know I can focus on my career much easier now than if I had tried to write when my children were little. I always salute women who can...
The other aspect that the whole work or not debate often forgets is that many women have always had to work or were involved in their husband's business. Family run business normally means the whole family is involved somehow. Also people forget the whole government campaign in the late 40s to have women go from fighting Germans to germs in the house.
Anyway, the one thing I feel strongly about is that no one should put people down. People make choices about what is best for them. Each situation has unique challenges.
And I still consider myself a wife and mother first, an author second. Although when a deadline looms, perhaps my family would disagree...