The latest round of national head-scratching about why there aren't more women in politics makes me want to poke out my own eyes with a rusty toasting fork.
I'm sorry. I know everybody means well. And all the debate about parliamentary culture and ''Why don't we have quotas?'' and ''Let's encourage women more at the branch level'' and so on is all very interesting and thought-provoking and no doubt useful to a certain degree, but surely, when all those interesting and thought-provoking and partially useful conversations have been had, we can quietly acknowledge that really, deep down, there is just one main reason why women don't go into politics. And here it is: for chicks, you can choose politics or you can choose having children. The odds are against you pulling them both off at the same time and if you do, life will be very, very hard.
This has always been true. It is still true. And it will keep being true until society stops assuming that a man who leaves his children for 18 weeks a year is normal, but that a woman who does the same thing is an evil hell-crone with hospital-strength Domestos in her veins.
It will keep being true for as long as the applicants for the job of ''parliamentary spouse'' continue to be overwhelmingly female.
This is the online dating profile of your average federal MP: ''Hi! I'm an ambitious 40-year-old who enjoys walks on the beach, factional backbiting and micro-economic reform. I'm looking for that special someone to settle down and have kids with. I will be away for about half of every year, so it would be great if you could either not work or restructure your entire life so that you can be responsible for pretty much everything to do with the kids, while also having to explain to their tear-streaked little faces why I'm never there and then also not being resentful when they're all over me like a rash when I do drop in and give them lollies and bugger up their sleep patterns and so on.
''When I am home, I will be on the phone pretty much the entire time. When I'm a minister, I will be unbelievably busy. When I'm not a minister, I will be resentful and paranoid. Oh, and the odds are that at some point in my political career, Michelle Grattan will phone while we're actually doing it.''
You would be absolutely stunned how few men are up for a gig like that. To be honest, I am always pretty stunned that any women are up for it, but the figures don't lie; men have been happily combining political careers with having children for donkey's years, largely due to the hidden martyrdom of their wives.
Tony Abbott has openly credited his wife, Margie, with the entire upbringing of his lovely daughters, and so he should; she did a terrific job. But the women - past and future - who go into politics and at some point make the quiet and enormous and perhaps, in their most private of moments, tearful decision not to have a family, might not-unreasonably ask: ''Where's MY Margie?''
And the answer is, by and large: you don't get a Margie, love. That's not the way it works.
There are, of course, women in politics who buck the trend and have babies in office, and they are amazing. If juggling were an Olympic sport, these ladies would never be off the podium. And their husbands are the best men alive. But the women can never quite delegate to their spouses as completely as the men can, and you can read in their faces the extra havoc that homework and school pick-up and did-anyone-remember-mufti-day and does-everyone-think-I-am-a-bad-mother wreaks on the already overworked brain of a federal parliamentarian.
When you ask them over a glass of wine how politics has affected their children, it's awful how many of them cry.
What's the easiest way to have a fulfilling life in politics? Have a stay-at-home spouse, or don't have children at all.
Given the difficulties associated for female recruiters with the first option, a bunch of them choose the second, including the woman who in 2010 became our first female PM, and the one who this week became the first female foreign minister.
But only 15 per cent of Australian women reach the age of 44 without having had a child, according to ABS research.
That's not a very broad gene pool from which to draw candidates with the best chances of success in the political workplace.
The Prime Minister, on Wednesday, promised not to forget ''women struggling to combine career and family'' and was immediately as good as his word, appointing a cabinet that did not cause work-life balance issues for a single Coalition woman.
But the assumption that these are women's problems is entirely the point. And until they become everyone's struggles, no one should be surprised that women opt out of politics.
Annabel Crabb writes for ABC Online's The Drum.