This subject has certainly stirred up emotions. And I think we all basically agree: taking care of our children is perhaps the most important thing we can do with our lives. And I, for one, left my residency program in the United States because they only offered 15 days of maternity leave and to me, spending time with the little Bois and breastfeeding him was my number 1 priority.
But I would like to respond to what Abbie wrote. I totally agree that having an education is an asset to being a mother. And often (especially when daycares have untrained employees), children get much better care from their mothers than from daycares. But I must ask, if everyone who held bachelors and masters degrees dropped out of the working world and raised children, what would happen to our society (be it Danish or American)? Take another example: what if all men and women who went to medical school suddenly decided that it was more important to stay home and raise their children than to contribute to society as doctors? Life as we know it would fall apart. And what about all of the public funds that go to education? At least here in Denmark, a university education along with medical education are paid for by the government. Can you imagine how all of the tax paying citizens would feel if the money the spent to educate doctors went instead to those doctors staying in their homes and only sharing their education with their children? That just wouldn't be fair to the society that educated them (and this applies to any degree).
I do, however, think that women everywhere should have the right to chose what she does with her life (as opposed to the situation Olga described in communist Russia). But it is sad when daycares are so expensive or of such poor quality that women are compelled to stay at home. After all, having a fulfilling job can make a mother very happy and, in turn, (maybe) make her a better mother.
On another note, I've been entertaining myself by reading what a certain forum has been writing about me and my blog. They say that The Bois is nothing more than an accessory to me (because I just want to send him to daycare and go to work). I immediately thought of the Flav-o-Flav clock necklace.
But then I thought that if by accessory they meant a compass, then there is truth in that. Not to sound sappy, but he gives direction to my life with his beautiful, unconditional love. And I'm sure that anyone who has had a child can relate to that feeling.
Please see the related poem by John Dunne "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" (http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/mourning.php)
And I am so proud of him. He did so well in his obligatory 1 hour speed crawling session on the treadmill (we need to get rid of that rear end cellulite!). Here he is afterwards with his personal trainer.