Mitt Romney listens to his wife Ann as she addresses...

Mitt Romney listens to his wife Ann as she addresses the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum in St. Louis, Missouri. (April 13, 2012) Credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Don't say housewife. It's not a house she's married to.

Don't say stay-at-home mom. With all the soccer practices, doctor's appointments, carpool trips and runs to the mall, she should be so lucky.

Whatever you do, don't talk about the luxury of a woman with children who doesn't work outside the home. It's a sacrifice, not a luxury. You're clear on that, I hope.

It's still a minefield -- cultural, political and personal -- the choices women make as they balance family and career. Don't believe me? Then ask Hilary Rosen. The veteran Democratic talking head who said on CNN that prospective first lady Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life" -- then watched as the entire presidential race was hijacked for three days.

Republicans had mentioned birth control. Democrats had blamed Republicans for a "war on women." Now Republicans were blaming them for "dissing Mom." Truly, the personal is the political again.

This far in, you'd think that everyone could just agree: Women should make the choices they want to and they need to. Politicians on all sides should point their ugly slogans some other way.

No, moms who work outside of the home aren't abandoning their children any more than moms who don't lack self-identity.

"Oh, you don't work? I'm sorry."

"Aren't you bored at home all day?"

Life is complicated. No choice is ever simple. Whatever the politicians might say.

 

MOM ALWAYS SAID

1. "This'll hurt me more than it'll hurt you."

2. "You're bored? Then help me clean the house."

3. "As long as you live under our roof, you'll follow our rules."

4. "Just wait 'til your father gets home."

5. "Go kiss Grandma."

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Who's this gonna fool: Snappy displays in the windows of vacant East Hampton Village stores? . . . With all the publicity Newark Mayor Cory Booker is getting for his "come-to-Jesus moment" saving a neighbor from a house fire, did this thought briefly cross Steve Bellone's mind: "What if I rode one of those Manorville horses away from the brush-fire flames?" . . . Which gay LIer should the new Gay Parent Teacher Student Association be named for? Walt Whitman? Harvey Milk? Please don't say Rosie O'Donnell! . . . My idea of a LIPA Smart Meter? One that forgets to record all the juice being used . . . With so many nightmare scenarios to play off, how did the 106th Rescue Wing pick just one for Friday's emergency drill at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center? . . . 76 dates around the world, and Madonna hasn't yet scheduled one for her practice arena, the Nassau Coliseum? . . . Hate paying the extra 8.625 percent? You may, but Nassau and Suffolk officials are smiling now at the unexpected hike in first-quarter sales-tax receipts . . . Mason-Dixon Exchange Program: If Georgia, Virginia and other easy-sale Southern states keep sending their handguns to us, how would they feel if our shooters started heading down there? Kinda like Fresh Air Fund for the homicide set.

THE NEWS IN SONG: Good boys, bad boys and their mama: 2 Pac, "Dear Mama," http://tinyurl.com/shetried

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: THE WATER WATCHERS

You knew we'd pay. You knew the snowless winter and the rainless spring wouldn't come and go without penalty. And sure as buds are on the trees in April, it's now collection time. The U.S. Drought Monitor of the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service -- yes, bureaucracies have layers -- have declared a severe drought for all of Suffolk plus eastern Nassau County. The current dryness is as plain as the smoke from those nasty wildfires -- acrid, rancid and impossible to miss. Raise a glass to the water restrictions that are coming. Just be sure you drink it. Don't pour a drop down the drain.

Email ellis@henican.com

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