Is it really better for my children for me to be home with them until they start school, if I would prefer to be working?
Yes, it's better. How can you even consider outsourcing your most important job for most of your children's waking hours?
No, of course not, the longer you are out of the work force the greater the impact on your short and long-term financial stability, not to mention your confidence.
Yes, it's better. Your children are only this young and precious for such a short amount of time. Before you know it they will be grown, living half-way around the world, and you'll long for these days when you can take the opportunity to grow and nurture each other.
No, of course not, you're so unhappy being home, change is needed or you'll just grow more and more resentful and be less and less equipped to enjoy the time you share with your kids.
Yes, its' better. Though they won't remember this, your children will miss you in the present and you will miss them, each day you have to leave to go to work.
No, of course not, any guilt you feel about leaving your children is grounded in anti-woman garbage you should have discarded of long ago. Your partner works and you don't begrudge his desire to do so in any way shape or form.
My mom worked and I turned out just fine, but we also lived in a city with a large extended family. Family affords the privilege of blurring boundaries to a certain extent, as it relates to childcare.
....One question, so many answers, so many thoughts to flush out.