I don't date much. Being married with kids is really cramping my style. At the end of the day, everyone is tired and hungry and needs a shower. We're rushing to get dinner on the table, I am still glued to the laptop while the kids are working on homework, and the evening flies by in a crush of cooking, cleaning, laundry and spelling lists, until finally one of us climbs into bed and passes out - sometimes still holding the towel we used to dry the dishes. I have a lot of guilt over how distracted I am in the evening, which is added to the guilt I feel about being sick or in pain for most of the last 5 months. In fact, I've been in pain for most of the past 15 years. Sam has been an incredible source of support - patient and kind and loving even when I am clutching a heating pad and living on ibuprofin and hot tea. Because you know what else is cramping my style? Cramps. Endometriosis is a disease that has affected my daily life since high school. The thirteen surgeries, rounds of drugs, tests, ultrasounds, clinical trials, alternative therapies and plain old bedrest have been part of the routine at one time or another for as long as I can remember.
I haven't been a lot of fun, that's for sure. And there hasn't been a lot of time for romance.
However, it has come to my attention that I am not alone. I was talking today with a friend (one of many) who also has endometriosis, two kids, and a busy life. She had just gotten back from a doctor's appointment. Because she used her vacation day to go to the doctors, of course.
"You know what he said?" she remarked with relief "He said most women don't seek help until it hurts too much to have sex."
This did not surprise me whatsoever. It is not an excuse. This is not a case of "Not tonight, honey. I have a headache". I think the fact that I still have sex is a testament to willpower and no small amount of desperation to feel normal - and maybe even attractive. Women can (and do) handle pain at such an extreme level that most men in the medical profession find it alarming. Or at the very least, impressive. Any dude who has watched a woman give birth has got to give her some props.
But it is sad when a woman who is experiencing severe, chronic pain, has to have her pain vaildated by a doctor. And while she is sitting around worrying about why she is in pain, and how much she isn't doing because she is in pain, and trying to remember the last time she had sex, or an uninterrupted conversation, or even eye contact with her partner......well. Your romance can suffer. It's time to make some changes. I am inspired.
I am bringing sexy back.
My life list has one particular item on it that I have been meaning to check off:
#94: only use the computer during working hours
Step One: Turn off the computer the minute the kids get home.
Step Two: Do not turn it back on again.
Step Three: Look in the mirror at some point before my husband gets home, and maybe even brush my teeth.
Step Four: Start dinner.
Step Five: Consider baking something.
Step Six: Decide not to get carried away with this new lifestyle. This is not Leave it to Beaver. This has nothing to do with beaver.
Step Seven: Hire a sitter for the kids and go on a date - just us - once a month. A date with talking. And eye contact. Maybe even sex if we can stay awake that long.
So tonight, I am hiring a sitter, taking a shower AND brushing my teeth before he gets home, putting on some hot little number and some real high heels, and going out on a date. With my husband. And I am totally leaving my heating pad at home. Maybe.
6 hours ago