As a consequence, women who aren't naturally suited to staying at home caring for the children are torn between suffering themselves at home or making the child suffer by "neglecting" the child's care. Traditionalists of all types are fond of citing childcare studies which prove that child care is "harmful" to children.
The traditionalist brigade don't realise just how powerful this meme is, and just how accurately it strikes at the heart of working woman's anxieties. The meme is used as sort of cultural billy club to women who work, regardless if they want to or are forced by economic circumstances. It also has the benefit of shoring up the traditionalist position, the stay at home mother deriving her moral superiority from being a "better mother" than her working peer. Then, of course, there is always the moral superiority of martyrdom, women who "sacrifice" themselves for their families (just try getting some of them to work for money after their children have left the home) earning near universal admiration for their choice.
This assumption, that with regard to child care, mother at home is the best, seems intuitively obvious and is rarely challenged. It's a defacto assumption.
It's this assumption that is the cause of endless anxiety with regard to long term effects of child care. Scientific studies( of which there are numerous and which are frequently very poorly done) looking into the matter seem to provide conflicting evidence with regard to the long term effects of child care. One way of interpreting this is that more evidence is needed, the other way of interpreting this is that there isn't any effect at all. This paper, by the University of Budapest, is a good review of the research.
Now one are of research that the Traditionalists never seem to mention is with regard to child development is with regard to maternal stress. Here the research is pretty much settled, in that a stressed and unhappy mother is likely to have children with bonding and developmental issues. (I'm not providing any references, just enter the appropriate search terms in Google scholar.) It would appear that a mother's mood is more important than outsourced childcare with a regard to a child's development.
This, of course, poses a problem to the "suck it up" Traditionalist brigade. Unhappy martyr mothers make for unhappy children. It would appear that their stay at home imperative "for the sake of the children" is fundamentally flawed from the point of view of the children. If you want happy and well adjusted children, you've got to have happy mothers. Suffering for the cause, as in really suffering, not just being inconvenienced, is counterproductive.
Maternal happiness seems to be the key of good child development. Buried in the linked review is a rather brilliant study by Barling, Fullagear and Marchl-Dingle.
In other words, when women, who were temperamentally suited to be carers were made to work they became stressed, as did women who were temperamentally suited to work when forced to stay at home. Not only did they suffer, but their children suffered as well.
In a 1988 paper, Barling, Fullagear and Marchl-Dingle go further and describe significant association between mothers’ interrole conflict and children’s behavioural problems. They suggest that both employed mothers uncommitted to their work, and homemaker mothers with blocked employment role commitment are in a stressful situation. Without controlling for intervening factors they suggest that this can affect their parenting behaviour negatively,which in turn leads to behavioural problems of their children.
On a sample of 185 5th and 6th grade children from an elementary school they show that children, whose mothers’ employment and employment commitment were not congruent (i.e. either a homemaker mother with high commitment to work, or a working mother with low work-commitment), were rated significantly less attentive and more immature than those children whose mothers employment status and commitment were congruent.
If we as a society want to raise happy and healthy kids what we need to do is let women find their own mix of work life balance. For most women it will be in a homemaker role, but for some it will be in some form of employment. Both Traditionalists and Feminists need to get off their backs.
The whole point of my blathering about motherhood roles in society, is that it very accurately illustrates the problem between the traditionalist and modern conceptions of it. Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation put a lot of women back into the home, where they became miserable and resentful. The traditionalist response to this new phenomenon was to tell the malcontents to suck it up and do nothing. The inability to innovate within the conservative tradition meant that built up social pressures could not be relieved constructively, rather, in the absence of good thought bad thought took it's place. Conservative stupidity was the midwife of Feminism.
Which, in a nutshell, was the problem of the 20th Century. Because Conservatives couldn't solve problems the Leftists did. And they did it badly.