Other countries offer their working parents family and medical leave that is of longer duration and at least partially paid. The U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet we are amongst the 112 countries (out of 145) that do not provide paid leave away from work to care for adult family members.
I see it happening all the time -- women who went to Ivy League schools and who held highly-demanding, high-status, high-pay jobs -- deciding to stay at home after they have a baby. They all thought carefully about their decisions, weighing the pros and cons. Instead of the prison of a 9 to 5 work culture, they preferred to keep their brains sharp and stay connected by volunteering and sitting on boards.
A recent Harvard study finds the vast majority of top executives are men who admit not making their families a priority. They see work-family conflicts as primarily a "women's problem," even though studies have shown that working dads are experiencing as much work-life conflict as moms -- perhaps even more.
There's a huge have/have-not divide between moms who receive paid maternity leave and moms who only receive either Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time (12 weeks of unpaid leave, which is mandated for companies with 50 or more employees and applies to about half of U.S. workers) or no job-guaranteed time away from work.