What does the Bible say about the ideal model for a woman as a wife and mother? The best way to find out is by reading what the Bible says.
"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants. . .
. . . She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.' Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates" (Proverbs 31:10-31).
I've noticed many believers seem to think that the housewife or stay at home mother is the Biblical ideal, condemning or discouraging women from working to support themselves or their family as unbiblical or demonizing the concept of women's rights with a broad brush as if anything associated with feminism is bad. However, while they defend traditional gender roles, they fail to realize it is just that, tradition. And many seem ignorant of what the Bible actually says about gender roles and the ideal woman.
The woman of whom who God says -- "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: many daughters have done well, but you excel them all" -- is far from being a stay at home mother. She not only had a job; she had her own business: "She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants . . . She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard."
The whole passage about the ideal woman continually empathizes her independence, not only in thought and action but in finance as well. There is a lot of "she" and very little of mention the husband's input on the majority of her decisions.
That doesn't mean the he was not respected. The passage says "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land." But God never intended for men to dominate or micromanage everything a wife does; he did not promote the idea that a woman is to depend on a man to provide for everything she needs. The ideal woman, according to scripture, should be able to provide for herself and make wise decisions for herself, even if she is married.
And since the ideal women's husband is well known and has a respectable place in society, no one can claim it is only permissible for women to work out of necessity; no one should condemn the movement of women's rights to work outside of the home as a deviation from God's will.
What the Bible does support in this passage is that a man and woman should strive to be the best person they can be personally, and it does not increase manliness or femininity to limit a woman's potential.
True manhood is not defined by what women do. If a man isn't doing well on his job, yet his wife is successful in business, she is not making him less of a man. He should focus on improving himself and being the best person he can be, with the talents he does have and not discourage his wife to make himself feel better. A real man is not intimidated by his wife's potential nor does he minimize it. The Bible says the "husband also . . . praises " and gives "her of the fruit of her hands, and let[s] her own works praise her in the gates."
While I won't condemn stay at home mothers or housewives, everyone is different, and in some cases it may be best for some families. But when ministers or believers suggest that women having careers is contrary to the Biblical ideal regarding gender roles, "worldly," or somehow less spiritual than stay at home roles, I must disagree.
Because as we can see from the Bible, the single income model promoting financial dependence on the male was never ever uplifted in scripture as ideal --quite the opposite was true actually. The ideal man in the Bible was not the sole provider or decision marker and the ideal woman worked outside of the home.