Many a verbal atrocity has been committed in order to find a politically correct name for housewives. For some reason, people are bothered with the word "housewife" and keep coming up with one linguistic atrocity after another to substitute it. For a while, "stay-at-home mothers" was in vogue. Of course, this gauche construction makes little sense, since not all housewives are mothers and, besides, it isn't like they stay at home all the time. They are bound to go out every once in a while. Then, we had "home-makers", which sounds just as atrocious. What does it even mean to "make homes"?
Now, there is an even more bizarre designation for housewives is being bandied around: "full-time wives and mothers." This must be the worst one so far because not only is it an unpronounceable mouthful, it is also offensive to everybody who works. Does every person who works automatically become "a part-time spouse and parent"? I, for one, do wonder how one manages to be "a part-time wife." Is my marriage somehow suspended every time I go to work? And what if I work at home? Am I considered a wife at that time? Or do I need to stop working completely, for the wifely role to kick in? What about the husbands of housewives? Unless we are talking about people who inherited a fortune, a housewife's husband is obligated to work for the simple reason that she chose not to. Is he to be considered "a part-time husband and father" because of that? Should we now expect a child to say about her working father: "Daddy is my part-time parent"?
With the current economic crisis the historically recent and geographically limited phenomenon of housewives is slowly disappearing even in those few places that, for a very short time, had this institution. In the meanwhile, there is a perfectly good word for people who don't work for one reason or another: unemployed. Why people keep resorting to strange verbal acrobacies in order to avoid applying it where it so obviously fits, is incomprehensible to me.