-- The Left fights for the right for women to take years off or half-off (the mommy track) without it hurting their chances for career advancement.
-- The Right champions women being a stay-at-home (cynics would say "play-at-home") mom without society viewing them as second-class citizens.
Women's advocates from both the Left and Right argue :
- for more taxpayer- and employer-paid childcare
- for paid leave for new parents (overwhelmingly, it is women who take advantage of this. )
- that parents (again, overwhelmingly women) should have the right to--without consequence-- leave work early to, for example, watch their kids' soccer game, even though it may leave the remaining workers in the lurch.
Environmentalists agree that the greatest threat to the environment is overpopulation. The more the taxpayer and employer subsidizes childbearing, the greater the likelihood people will have babies. For example, if women know their careers won't suffer, they'll have free or low-cost childcare, be able to leave work early when desired, etc., additional women will choose to have a child or additional children. It's ironic that the same people who vociferously advocate for the environment are likely to advocate for policies that would contribute to overpopulation.
Many moms argue that they should only work part-time if at all "because it's better for the kids." Fact is, the data is equivocal on that, which isn't surprising because so many factors affect a child's well-being and success that it is very difficult to empirically parse out the effects of being a stay-at-home mom. In such situations, logical reasoning trumps empiricism, and logically, it is clear that, on average, kids are better off if mom works outside the home. Too often, the stay-at-home mom becomes co-dependent and overly protective--the so-called helicopter (hovering) mom. Too, the child of a stay-at-home mom doesn't get to see the role model of a woman who can be productive other than as housewife.
Men suffer because of "family-friendly" policies. Their wives insist on being stay-at-home mothers, forcing the husbands to carry all the family's financial responsibilities. At work, they must pick up the slack for the many women who take extended maternity leave and leave work early so they can pick up their kids from school, etc. They pay tax dollars and increased prices of goods and services to fund the myriad parental subsidies that primarily benefit women: the aforementioned paid family leave, subsidized child care, etc.
Of course, some men want children as much as do women, but that's not the question here. The question is, overall, in a society with so many crying needs, are we best served by allocating so many resources to mommyhood?