To work or not?
I don't think that the question of paid employment with kids is an "either/or" issue. Surely we aren't still fighting that battle anymore.
I've reflected on this issue with a few friends. One girlfriend helpfully pointed out that when you look at the Proverbs 31 woman she is a busy women committed to work in her home, her community and her business. Someone else suggested that maybe Proverbs 31 paints a portrait of a this woman's achievements over a life-time reminding us there are many seasons through our life.
Proverbs 31 also shows to me that it's ok to do a bit of everything. I want to be available for my children but as they grow older and I have a bit more time flexibility maybe I can try doing a few other things. Like teaching Scripture, leading a Bible study, finding part-time paid work, studying, being involved with P&C at school or even cleaning the house properly!! That's why I don't think it's an "either/or" issue. Women can be really flexible and do all sorts of things. It just needs stacks of wisdom and much understanding of our limits and what our families can cope with.
As an aside, another friend and I talked about being a 'stay-at-home mum' but in reality being so busy doing other voluntary work in the community and church that you can't claim to be doing much of the "staying-at-home" or "mum" part of that job description! We chuckled about Carolyn Mahaney (of "The Feminine Appeal" fame) giving talks on not working while writing books and going on speaking tours.