I don't really think it's fair to say either way is better or easier. I loved the 9 weeks that I stayed home with LO, bonding with him. But I didn't love that DH would sometimes come home and find me still in jammies because my mom wasn't available for the 30 minutes I would need to shower and eat. Our son is challenging in that he absolutely will not tolerate being put down, most of them time - even when he's asleep, if you put him in the pack n play, crib, or even his infant seat, he usually wakes up and cries til someone picks him up. Then again, there were mornings while I was home that I had something planned, but often skipped it because I was enjoying the snuggle time with my precious boy.
Also, going back to work actually makes things a little easier on me, schedule-wise (as in now I sorta have one!), plus the time spent with other adults and relatively clean clothing, hot food when *I* want it ... it's kinda like my "quiet time" if that makes any sense. Then again, the schedule I have leaves ZERO free time - I'm online now because I have tomorrow off. Otherwise I would be pumping and headed to bed. I don't always get the grocery shopping/cleaning/cooking etc. done because I rush home after work so that I can spend as much time as possible with LO after missing him all day long, and since he is still our little demanding boy, I don't get anything done when I'm home with him unless DH is there to watch him while I do those things (he isn't; he gets home about 90 minutes after I do). So I nurse him, play a little bit, wait for daddy to get home, then cook (sometimes), eat, bathtime and bed! It is rough and it would be rougher still if I had the kind of high-stress job that I used to have. Thank goodness that part of my life is over!
I sometimes wonder if we could afford for me to stay home, whether I would choose to do so. I think I would, at least for the first 2-3 years.
It goes without saying, but I think we all make the choice that best suits our family. Neither situation is without its perks or drawbacks, and the grass is always greener on the other side. Sounds like that mommy probably deserved a lashing - as a working mom, she can't know the SAHMs' journeys. Hell, she doesn't even know mine and I am in the same boat she is. Can't we all just get along?? :)