Because the GT Troll likes to unshare...
You bring up some really good points. I'm going to hit those, and I'll warn you I might be a bit harsh, but I want you to stick with me.
Of course parenting is important. If anything, that stupid ad with its bajillion hours a day/no sitting down/no vacation assertion further emphasizes just how much we must have mandatory paid maternity and paternity leave in this country. That's not what American Greetings wants you to think, but it's the truth. If someone is overworked at 135 hours a week with no sleep? That's a problem. That's not something to be proud of.
To your other point about being dismissed and undervalued. I work in the United States Congress. I've been called plenty of things that SAHMs have and more! I even had a guy tell me he wanted to rape me, hang me in public, and drag my body through downtown DC. (Anytime Bill O'Reilly mentions my boss, we get calls like that.)
What do you do all day? Is that even a real job? Don't you just sit around all the time and do nothing? You're just a drain on the system. What are you spending my tax dollars on? What's the point anyway? Government is useless and a waste of time. Yep I've heard all of that. My friend who works at an abortion clinic? Yeesh.
Here's how I deal. The choices I made to get to where I am today? I made them. I own them. I take full responsibility. And I do wish I might have made different choices like which politician to work for. But I didn't. That's on me. That's not on the Sean Hannity moron screaming at me that I'm a filthy whore who sluts it up on the taxpayer's dime. That's why those stupid questions and comments don't bother me. Because I've made peace and live with the choices I made.
If SAHMs are looking externally for validation for what they do, they're going to be waiting a very long time. Same goes for looking for people to stop questioning and judging their personal decisions. You think that's tough? Try being an abortion clinic doctor or an air traffic controller or gate agent at Christmas time or an ER doctor in south central LA on Saturday night or a prostitute. Those people get called a fuckton of nasty things. This isn't meant to be a contest. It's to illustrate that lots of people get shit on for their occupations. It's not unique to SAHMs. Nobody is going to win that debate.
My point is you have to be okay with your decisions — whatever they are. You have to own it. If you're not okay, the onus is on you to deal or change it. What I think shouldn't matter to your choices. And when you own it for what it is, then job descriptions don't get defensive and overly explanatory. (Seriously if I talked about my job like that ad did, my friends would never want to hang out with me ever again.)
A good example is in my own neighborhood. There's a mix of SAHMs and working mothers. And every month we get together and you know what? No one gives a shit about the mommy bullshit. Everyone is comfortable talking about what they do all day even if it's nothing!
That's how you get the co-existence you mentioned.