To be honest, I'm glad that the comments by Hilary Rosen were made because it has brought to light something that many stay-at-home moms feel, and that is undervalued.
I am a mother to 3 young children, aged 3 and under, and count myself fortunate to be one lucky ones to be able to stay home and spend as much time with my children as I can. The time when they are little before they head off on their adventures in school is so fleeting, and impressions made on these young minds and hearts can form a character and bond that yields fruit throughout eternity. The decision we made is not without sacrifice, temporally and emotionally. Vacations are out of the question, wearing the latest fashions is not even on my list of needs, to me the latest fashion is wearing any item of clothing that does not have baby goop or grubby fingerprints on - we just don't have a lot of the 'luxuries' that the world calls 'necessities'.
Being a stay at home mom can be a mentally exhausting job also (not to mention physically exhausting!), full of highs and lows. Highs when your children are playing so lovely together, when you see them learn knew things, when they hug you so tight that you think they are going to cut off all of your oxygen supply – but not so much when they are sick, trantruming or emptying out all the drawers for the ten billioneth time that HOUR. And this continues 24 hours a day. I have caught myself a couple of times when asked the question, 'what do you do?' replying, “Oh, I'm just a stay at home mom.” It has annoyed me - I have annoyed myself - that I would downgrade my role in this world to a just. Why have I felt the need to be almost apologetic that my contribution to this world is largely taking place within the walls of my home? In this area I was definitely influenced by the world. On television you see mothers everywhere who are 'doing it all'. We strive for accomplishments, to feel worthwhile, to better ourselves and may mistakenly think that these things are only attainable outside of the family unit, when the home is the very breeding ground for these things. Sometimes 'doing it all' is at the expense of 'having it all'.
This quote by Elder Neal A. Maxwell but things into perspective a little: “You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today’s world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms.”
The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has said: “Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1942, pp. 7, 11–12.)
I have quite a few friends who HAVE TO work. Their financial circumstances are such that to provide a roof over their children's head they work. I have seen how torn they are having to do that. I have seen their tears at having to leave their children in the care of someone else whilst their heart yearns to be their full-time caretakers and protectors and joy-makers. Some have similar anxieties that some stay-at-home moms have, feelings of guilt and feelings of inadequacies. They sacrifice for their children in a different way than stay-at-home moms do, but those sacrifices made will be consecrated for the good of their children.
Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else.” (“Daughters of God,” Ensign, May 2008, 108–10.)
Because of the importance of the role of motherhood our Heavenly Father will guide our decisions, if there is any way possible to stay home with your children, do it, make the financial sacrifices so you can do this. I promise there is nothing more rewarding as this, and nothing as important. If this is not a possibility, know that Heavenly Father will make up the difference. So let's seek His will in this important matter, and let's be kind to each other.
So am I just a stay at home mom? No, because there is no 'just' when it comes to being a mother.