By: Mary Fran Bontempo

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Yellow_road_markingEvery woman needs a line.

You know the one–the line you don’t have to cross. Ever.

Many of us, as little girls, had our heads stuffed with romantic notions of finding our own version of Prince Charming, getting married and living the whole happily-ever-after fanatsy. If it happens, and our white knight comes along, well, we soon discover he’s got a little frog in him. And he likely sees green (more of the Wicked Witch of the West variety) in us as well.

Life offers other fairy tale shattering realities. Both genders in marriages and relationships end up doing things they don’t want to do, channeling Cinderella before the fairy godmother instead of after, but if I were laying odds, I’d have to say we ladies end up doing more of the stuff of nightmares. The stuff that causes us to cross the line.

It starts with cleaning the bathroom. That adorable first apartment, the cute new love nest of a home, has one, and it needs to be cleaned. Cleaning up the messes of daily life, especially those of your beloved and what he does in a bathroom, tends to take the shine off of things. But it’s got to be done, and most of the time, we gals are the ones with the cleanser. Line number one.

Then come the kids, bringing with them copious amounts of poop and vomit. How many guys are taking that on? And don’t forget medicine that has to be delivered to sick, vomiting kids via an orifice other than their mouths. Line number two, maybe two and a half.  Throw in a dog, cat, or some other creature the kids had to have and swore they were going to take care of, also offering generous contributions of poop and vomit, and, you guessed it, line number three.

Yet, if line number three were the one etched in stone, most of us could probably handle that. Little kids and pets can’t care for themselves, so we women pick up the slack. Line number three is one we willingly cross.  If only it ended there.

But it doesn’t. In fact, what comes next makes line number three look like a day at the beach. Or at the public pool, when you’re lifting your kid out of the water by one arm and dragging him to the bathroom so he doesn’t use the pool as his own personal toilet.

What comes next ups the ante considerably. It involves all of the aforementioned components, but, well, we are the sandwich generation. And many of us are caring for aging parents, and even grandparents, as well as continuing to house adult children.

So multiply the above exponentially. Bathrooms, bodily fluids, diapers, both human and canine. In the past few years, I’ve seen and done things that Stephen King couldn’t dream up. And if the circle of life continues as it normally does, grandchildren aren’t far behind and the whole horror show is going to start over.

Now, I don’t expect life to be easy. Or particularly clean. After 32 years of wedded bliss, I’m fully aware of the fallout. As well as what a bathroom used by four generations can look (and smell) like.

But if I’m not getting the happily-ever-after, or the ball gown, I want my line. The one where I get to say “HELL, NO!” I am NOT doing THAT!

We gals are always willing to roll up our sleeves and do what has to be done. But really, every woman deserves a line.

Where’s your line? Click “comments” below and share!