Do you put yourself last?

Darling,

Where do you fall on the scale of priorities in your life?
Do you put yourself first?
Or last?
Would you cancel your plans with friends if your boss asked you to work late?
Do you invest in yourself? Or give your all to others?
Do you know how harmful that is?

OK, I admit it.
It happened to me.
Motherhood martyrdom.
Yup, even me, the Queen of Pleasure herself.
For a few years after my divorce, guess what I had been serving for dinner?
Kid food.
Breaded chicken.
Pasta.
Burgers.
Steamed Broccoli.
Night after night after night.
Bleh.
And I don’t even eat meat.
Why? Because that is what my daughter would eat.
She is super fussy about her food.
And after a long day of working and parenting, I took the “easy” way out.
But was it easy?
Not really. We consistently had a unsatisfying time at the dinner table.
I felt victim-y and annoyed because all I would do was end up eating salad. After salad. After salad.
Perhaps not surprisingly, my daughter was bored as well, and responded to my crankiness with her own.
My selflessness was not appreciated. Not by Maggie, nor me. In fact, was I being selfless? Or, was I actually teaching my daughter to shrink, instead of expand? Was I settling for crumbs instead of standing for my desires?

Women have been taught to put themselves last. We take care of our husbands, our parents, our kids, our bosses, and whatever leftovers are leftover are ours.
The strange part of this syndrome that women have — of always putting ourselves last — is born out of some misbegotten idea that we are actually being of service. I was thinking that my compromising myself was because I was making it good for my daughter. Crazy, huh?
Women confuse settling and holding out on ourselves with some kind of harebrained act of generosity. If we suffer, it must be good for our loved ones.
And this crossed wire is responsible for so much unhappiness.
My friend Tim, a producer, was simply gobsmacked last week. He and his wife agreed that on Saturday, they would both take the day off, he would play basketball, and his wife would get a mani-pedi with her girlfriends. Saturday came, the house was a mess, the kids needed help with homework, and the dog wasn’t walked.
Guess what happened?
Tim left and went to play basketball.
His wife cancelled her mani-pedi appointment, and stayed home to walk the dog, clean the house, and help the kids. And when Tim got home later, sweaty and happy, what do you think greeted him?
An ecstatic wife, overjoyed with her selfless act of service?
Or an angry, deprived, frustrated woman, wanting vengeance?
Men can give themselves a break.

They don’t even question the importance of standing for their own happiness, in the way women do.
Men know that the dishes won’t expire, the kids can manage for a few hours, and they can even walk the dog.
Women are conditioned to compromise their desires, and sacrifice their joy in order to caretake and make it good for everyone else.
But who will make it good for us, if we won’t?
Who will grab us by the hand, and force us, against our will, to stand for our self care, and learn the importance of investing in our joy?
And maybe more importantly, what cultural malaise are we pouring into the world, into our families, our communities, when we continually put ourselves last?
We create our own unhappiness when we starve ourselves, and then we blame others for the way we have made ourselves feel.
I was silently blaming ‘motherhood’ for my chosen chicken nugget diet.
Tim’s wife was blaming him for being thoughtless, when actually it was she who held out on herself.

The days of shriveling up and shrinking have to end, Sisters.
It is only us that can put an end to our own compromise.
It’s only when we take ours that we can afford to be truly generous to others.
When I make sure I am full, I can deeply and truly experience my own generosity. (click to tweet!)

So I started trying new recipes. I began to serve Maggie stir-fry, Caesar salad, grilled scallops, artichokes, sole with lemon and butter, roasted vegetables. Sometimes she would eat with me, sometimes not. But what happened is that since my anger went away, and it was so much easier for me to tease her into trying new foods when I was excited to try them myself.
And Tim’s wife? Well, she and I talked. I told her about my own experience. I told her about Mastery. At first, she was thinking that this was not the right time, she wanted to wait until the kids were grown and in college. Or things quieted down at work.
But, a few days after we talked, her daughter called her out, and asked her why she always put herself last, and got mad at dad for it.
She called me the next day to sign up and is taking Mastery this March. It will be a new beginning for her, as a woman, for she and Tim as a couple, and as a new kind of parent for her kids, as she will finally experience the joy she can generate for her whole family by standing for herself.

It’s our time, Sisters, but only if we take it.
It’s our time to prioritize our joy above all other values.
Time to teach our sons and daughters the importance of standing for our value.
Time to insist on a life of balance, with each woman giving herself a seat at the banquet table.
Time to invest in yourself, first, foremost and always.
Time to trust your truth, time to trust your deep intuitive knowing that you are the right thing to prioritize, you are the right horse to bet on, and that doing so will serve not only you, but everyone else in your life.

Regena-stoop-452What can you do for yourself today? (click to tweet!)
What can you give yourself?
An orgasm?
A nap?
A chapter of a great novel?
A dance break?
You know as well as I do that if you do not stand for your own value, no one else will.
It’s time.
Today.
Right now.
You are so worth it.
Can you post below and inspire, not only me, but every woman who reads this blog, with your Pleasure Revolutionary act of self-love?

With so much love and pleasure,
mama-gena-sig-180px

  • 38 Comments · Leave One

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

SG Dorothy January 21, 2014 at 9:39 am

Thanks for this post, Mama! I can relate to the topic and it helped me understand my bitchiness over the weekend. My man is usually really thoughtful & loving, but didn’t consult me first before inviting his friends (a couple) to my home on Sunday for a BBQ. I was irritated but didn’t really express my annoyance until it was too late in the game. Also, I had been sick for a few days and still wasn’t feeling good. …This post gave me clarity about my role in this little fiasco!

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mama gena January 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

may all your fiascos be small! :-)

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SG Patty January 21, 2014 at 10:01 am

I’ve found that it doesn’t work for me if I go all out all week for others, and then take one day for myself. I’m just too exhausted to really enjoy everything all bunched together in one day. So I do something for myself everyday with really conscious effort that it is for ME. On Sunday, I make plans for ME for the week.
I take myself to lunch (no one else allowed), I make a special dinner for myself one night, I have an extra long soak in the bathtub before work, I get my eyebrows threaded, I stop into a new bakery or shop just to look and delight in what is in there, I sit by the ocean with no plan or goal, just sit and relax, I go crazy with a new nail colour….etc. etc.. If I give myself, consciously, one thing per day, I feel like I’m treating myself. And I am! I’m so worth it!
Thanks for all YOUR work on behalf of others, MG, and I’ll see you in NY in Feb. and in Mastery in March.

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Deb January 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Well bragged, SG Patty!!!

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mama gena January 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

nicely done, patti!!!
xo
mg

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Deborah Smith aka SG Wicked January 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Patty you rock. Love this. Thank you.

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tara January 21, 2014 at 10:04 am

You and I have know each other for a long time. I value all that I have learned from you as a student at The School of Womanly Arts. I thought that I had blasted through it all but learned there was more to do last year when I had a fire in my bedroom. I had drawn a bath, added the lavender oil even sprinkled rose petals in the bath…and lit candles around the bath and in my bedroom. When the tea kettle whistled I went downstairs and here is what happened: I got distracted and went into chore mode! I think I even emptied the dishwasher. When I returned to honor myself, the initial intention, I entered my bedroom to find a book case on fire. Luckily it was contained and no one was hurt. I realized what had happened. Even attempting to carve out sacred time I lost my focus and did NOT put myself first. Thank you for this important reminder. I now know how deep these grooves run and pay extra attention. Thank you for all the ground we have covered. You inspire and cause awe. with love and in gratitude- Tara

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Ellen January 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

tara ……..powerful post……..thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Chantal January 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

wow….that is a powerful image of getting distracted from putting ourselves first and BURNING the house in the process…cause that’s what we do when we others or chores instead of ourselves…. we burn our house ( body, temple) down. I know, I had a Burn Out 10 years ago…for this very reason…and I am still strugling to put my pleasure first…I must admit I am MUCH better at it since Booth Camps….Thank you Mama Gina and thank you Tara for illustrating this point so brilliantly.

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melodyk January 21, 2014 at 10:14 am

Right on time! This post just put things into sharper focus. My hair is standing on end and not just because I haven’t combed it in a week! Thank you for the healthy, helping of truth.

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Deborah Smith aka SG Wicked January 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Ditto for the “right on time.”

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Ellen January 21, 2014 at 10:29 am

Hey Mama G

I first learned it from you in mastery 2012

Every day since that time I have a fabulous yoga practice in the morning, an incredible bike ride, eat what I desire ALL DAY LONG, take myself out to wonderful ethnic restaurants that I love, dance around, play music, do art, am now very steeped in A Course In Miracles (loving it) and much more!!!!!!!

I have learned that SELF LOVE is # 1 ……..and that I can only love others well if I am loving myself

And through ACIM…….I am finding that it is ALL THE SAME………..LOVING OTHERS/LOVING MYSELF……….. We are truly one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the more love the better

and so LOVE and BLESSINGS to you and all us SWA GODDESSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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liz January 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

Great post as always.
LOVE this picture of you.
xo

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Liza January 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

Thanks for this!!!!!!!!!

For too long I have been putting myself last while everyone gained and relaxed off my talents! My talent of service and my talent of giving people what they want and being left EMPTY! After getting laid off from job after job, being let go by texts and emails I’ve had ENOUGH! So, I told my husband what I WANTED. I have signed up to go back to school, which he will afford. I will be in school at night. I told him he will have to prepare his own dinners for three months. It’s an investment for the family and myself! I’ve already began to feel worthy and happy.

Added to that, I’ve been giving myself more orgasms(leads to great sex with hubby), drinking more wine, taking more naps, and asking for more help around the house! Ladies it’s ok to say what you WANT! Let’s practice more SELF CARE:)

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Gail Kenny January 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

I totally agree that women often do not make themselves their #1 priority, especially during the child rearing years. Some of it has to do with hormones during that phase of life. But a lot also has to do with cultural conditioning. The way back to health and well being is to make ourselves our #1 priority and set good boundaries with everyone else. Thanks for this reminder!

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SG Jill is MAGIC January 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Oh Mama, another tres timely post for me. I’ve been struggling with just this very thing, as the part of me that ‘serves’ others before myself comes head to head with the ‘new’ me that’s been emerging through being in SWA. By NOT putting myself first and trying to ‘make the holidays special’, I am starting out the year running on fumes and super depleted. and I am doing what I can to build up my love tank, so that I can give from a place of fullness…and especially to MYSELF. Beach walks, aromatherapy salt baths, dance breaks, scheduling massages and a mani-pedi, practicing guitar and singing…next up is actually giving myself time away for the computer to read a magazine or book. Also Spring Clean A LOT on variations of this theme: putting myself first, making myself right, overwhelm to release charge.
Thank you for this beautiful reminder – as always your timing is perfect and elegant
Forever grateful to be a goddess and for YOU <3

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Mary Lynne Johnson January 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

As a breast cancer thriver, I have learned to put myself first, a lot! But did it take a major illness? Pretty much. Now I concentrate on daily self care, knowing that if I don’t give myself what I want perhaps no one else will. My family is supportive and encouraging. They give me my space. But it is so important for me to listen to my needs and just follow my heart. It makes be an easier person to be around. I’d like to think I’m setting an example for others. Off to restorative yoga class…

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SG Elizabeth January 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Go Mom!! xoxo

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Sue D February 3, 2014 at 10:32 am

Go ML!!!

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Stephanie Marrone January 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I’m thinking a good nap, an extreme orgasm, great sex with my boyfriend, 3 great books to choose from and some yummy hot chocolate..:-)) Thank you Mama. Can’t wait to see you on February 1 and 2. xoxo

SG Red Hot Stephie

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Chantal January 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I have found out that a good way to see if I forget to put myself first is to ask myself :

What do I tolerate ?
It sometimes gives me clues in different directions than
What do I desire ?

I know to love me fist puts stars in my eyes and bounce in my step….

Thank mama for so many great tools…to do just that.

SG Purring Delight

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Deborah Smith aka SG Wicked January 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Oh MG,

Such yummy timing. I know and have been telling myself this the last couple of days especially as I have been head ahead of feet with worry re my son. So, rocking self orgasm last night, sleep in a little and slow easy wake up this morning, some tango and yoga this afternoon, and you re-enforcing exactly what I need to do and where I need to be.
Thank you.
xoxoxo I am SO grateful for all that you have, and continue, to give to me.

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Mai McDonald Graves January 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm

In addition to doing a lot of work on myself, I’ve spent a lot of time on my own, without being in a relationship. I married for the first time just three years ago, but, I’ve gotta say, I’m finding myself slipping into the old pattern of giving up a lot of what I like (translated: giving up a lot of myself!) to keep the relationship free of conflict and comfortable for us both. Reading your emails and now your blog as well has made me realize what’s happening. In relinquishing those things I truly love – enjoying international films, spending time with my sister-friends, even traveling to visit family, I’m slowing giving up myself! I’m soooo looking forward to the Mama Gena workshop!!!

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SG little joe January 22, 2014 at 11:58 am

Never compromise on your true desires, taste and aspirations because in a relationship. Men are adore women fully in their womanhood and living 100% themselves. Lesson learned for me.

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SG Joan Champion of Pleasure January 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I was pampering myself a lot this morning in preparation for a teleconference I am leading tonight and felt so good about my self care and energy enhancing practices. I have learned a lot from the SWA from Mastery and the boards and blogs. Yet, a bunch of discouraging e-mails from some of the teleconference participants has set me to thinking that I was still being a slave to others and not prioritizing myself even though I thought I was doing so much self care. So this blog post is very timely. I think all the women who are involved in the project I am working on are trying to please each other and the group, and are not prioritizing their own needs. That’s why everyone is getting pissy. So I am going to take a dance break, cook a nice lamb stew, and keep cherishing myself as the beautiful goddess I know I am. Thanks for the reminder, Mama Gena.

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SG little joe January 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm

They’re pissed because everyone of them isn’t at full throttle into their own pleasure and desires me think. What’s the purpose of that group and how come their desires aren’t matching the group’s?

Now I do believe there’re something different between treating oneself and managing little moments of pleasure to be able to bottle it up, and properly living the life we want moment after moment. For the present is all we have…

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sg lali January 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Omg thank you for this reminder. No matter how long I’ve been in swa, I always conveniently forget I can and should TREAT myself to deliciousness. Pleasure? What’s that again? Thank you for this! I’m off to take a long yummy nap…

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Ellen ("Prada") January 21, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Dearest Mama Gena –
Thanks for this excellent post.
When I am down and out, a little Barry White always does the trick.
By the way, I am loving this edgy photo of you.
See you in Mastery.
Kisses,
Prada

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april January 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Yesterday, I stopped and got a 15 minute massage at a nail place. I also took a jazz dance class which I love. I am in an unhappy, loveless marriage. I have children I take care of in every way. I am working on building my emotional strength every day – I am new to Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. But I have gotten so inspired by a friend , and by reading one of Mama’s books.

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SG little joe January 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Way to go Sister! You’re gonna learn a lot through Mama’s books, they’re transforming! And cherry on the cake, in her 2d and 3d book she explains how to deal with men and relationships…

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MassageJen January 22, 2014 at 2:12 am

I am so flippin tired of the man who says he loves me (but lives with my sister as a roommate, don’t ask) that I finally told him the reason I left and that God led me to where I am right now( he’s a Christian) didn’t work for him but God has put me in an apartment with no phone reception Awesome for me more time for the kids I am learning to be grateful for all the things seemingly good and bad When you look at the bad in a positive way you can see how it helps

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SG little joe January 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Don’t blame anyone for your circumstances Sister, for you’re at the driver’s seat and attracted all what’s in your life the way it is. Which means we can change our situation as well, and make your life better. Time to drop all anger and fear. A tip: the ‘It’s safe to let it go’ method of Robert Smith EFT method?

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Annette January 22, 2014 at 9:54 am

I do this all the time!!! Thank you for reminding me of the play I am always acting out. My husband can always just go do what he pleases and I resent it. BUT the truth is, if I ask him to stop so I can have the time, he would. START ASKING, START FILLING MY BUCKET!!! Today I will ask him to pick up our son so I can go chant. Yay :)

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Luxurious Laurie January 22, 2014 at 10:58 am

I poledance at SFactor several times a week…if I do not, I can feel the difference in my mood. Moving my body in such a pleasurable way is loving myself in the best way; it’s cathartic. I also meditate. And I have a wonderful, sweet lover who nourishes my body, mind, and soul. My work as a Sacred Intimate also feeds my spirit…as I give to my patrons, I also receive so much from them. I am love…and I cherish myself.

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SG little joe January 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm

YAY

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Liz January 23, 2014 at 9:55 am

After 5 straight days trapped in the house (first the flu, then 2 snow days) this blog post was JUST what I needed. I think I will be a MUCH nicer person in about 3 hours: after a mani, a trip to the mall, and a nice lunch OUT of the 4 walls. The laundry can wait. Thank you Mama!

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april January 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Thanks, SGLittle Joe. I am looking for woman support because my hubby does not act like a hubby or even a good friend. I need to be strong to make a move for the better for me, and Mama Gena and the Sisters is just what I need to give me that strength.

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Krista February 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Love this post! And I had a FABULOUSLY ROCKIN’ time at your weekend Mama! I love your practices and how they bring me back into what in the ontological world of coaching we refer to as our “being”-our true selves. Hugs and kisses to you and all the lovely ladies I met this weekend!

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