New research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that over the past decade, there has been an 8% drop overall in job-holding by mothers of infants. Working new moms are still a majority, but just barely: 51% of infant's mothers work outside the home.
The higher the husband's income and the mother's education, the more likely the mom is to stay home. But across the board, mothers of newborns are more likely to stay home than they used to be. Those in the middle of the income range – the 40th to 80th percentile – were particularly likely to stop jobs and interrupt careers to be with babies.
There was also a drop for mothers of toddlers and preschoolers, but it was not as large as the drop for new moms.
Perhaps we could see a social norm that mothers would get, and take, a year's leave from their jobs with each child. That is a centrist position that might be feasible, especially as mothers are already voting with their feet – and their forgone paychecks -- in this direction.