Have you ever stopped and just watched your kids enjoying the simple things in life? The enjoyment they get from jumping on a pile of leaves, laughing hysterically at ripping paper, running through a giant puddle, or any number of seemingly small, insignificant moments is incredible. It’s nothing short of pure bliss. They laugh and live with their whole body, and it’s infectious- it spreads, and often I can’t help but smile too. Can the same be said for you, mom? When was the last time you did something that gave you immense pleasure? Can you remember? No? You need to start to make pleasure a priority.
I’m not talking about something you enjoyed but ended up feeling guilty- like eating an entire row of Oreos out of the package. I’m not speaking from experience, I’ve never, not once, eaten that many Oreos. Ok, yes, yes I have eaten that many Oreos. (PS- they’re the best with peanut butter. You’re welcome).
And I don’t mean things that should be pleasurable, but instead, you began to make to-do lists in your head or wondering if the laundry got put in the dryer.
I want you to think of the last time something was so enjoyable that you relished every single moment.
Can you remember? We all deserve to feel pure bliss regularly. You need to start to make pleasure a priority.
What is Pleasure?
I’m not talking exclusively about sexual pleasure, but rather, anything that you do with your whole heart that makes you happy.
Merriam-Webster defines pleasure as:
A state of gratification
Sensual gratification, frivolous amusement
A source of delight or joy
So yes, pleasure could be riding out a fantastic orgasm. But pleasure can also be found in sipping a glass of wine while watching your favorite TV show, or picking up a hobby that lights your soul on fire. Can you list five things you can do right now that would bring you absolute bliss?
Why Should You Make Pleasure a Priority?
Part of being a mom seems to force us to put our family before ourselves. I can count the number of times this week that I’ve put the needs of someone else ahead of my own. We do it without pause, without even realizing it- well, until you go to take a sip of your coffee and discover it’s already cold because you were doing things for every other person in your home. When we do this, we’re putting everyone’s comfort and pleasure before our own. It’s not until we start feeling run down, exhausted, irritable, and even resentful that we acknowledge that we need a break.
This, my friend, is why you need to make pleasure a priority.
I read not too long ago that when Michelle Obama’s daughters were young, she would get up to get them ready in the morning while Barack slept in. She did this every day, without question, all while resenting him.
All she wanted to do in the morning was exercise.
Until one day it dawned on her: if she just left early in the morning to go on a run, Barack would have to get up with the kids. So that’s what she did.
Y’all. Even Michelle Obama struggled with prioritizing her pleasure. She wrestles the same thing you and I do every single day. How do you balance being a mom AND a person with actual wants, needs, and desires?
If you are waiting for someone to walk up and ask you if you need a break- you are going to die of resentment. It will eat you up inside. We all know what that feels like. It’s ugly. No one is going to rescue you from prioritizing your family over yourself. YOU have to do that.
Pleasure isn’t exclusively sexual, and it shouldn’t be when you choose to make pleasure a priority, you’re committing to finding pockets of bliss in your everyday life.
How to Make Pleasure a Priority
Figuring out how to carve out time for pleasure isn’t as overwhelming as you might think- pleasure is an element of self-care. So, how do we design our pleasure? How do we ensure that there is immeasurable enjoyment present in our lives?
Recognize your pleasure is YOUR responsibility
Yup. Your pleasure is your responsibility. No one is going to ride in on a white horse and rescue you from your constant need to meet the needs of your family- but never yourself. You have to decide that your happiness, your pleasure, your needs matter.
And if your needs are sexual, Your sexual pleasure is your responsibility — not your partner’s. Stop faking. You know what your body craves; communicate it with your partner. Enjoy sex.
Do your research
If it’s been so long since you did something that genuinely makes you happy, you might need to do some research. Make a list of all the things that make you unabashedly delighted. Do them. Learn which one you enjoy and do it. That is your thing. If sitting in silence with your cell phone and a cup of coffee makes you happy, do that. If baking a fancy cake brings you joy, do that. If you’ve always wanted to blog but never thought you had the time, DO THAT.
Part of the struggle with self-care is that a lot of moms are doing things that everyone else says they should be doing. Long baths, Starbucks alone, Netflix, etc. But if none of that pleases you, then it’s defeating the purpose of self-care and will not help you recharge your batteries. You must find something you enjoy with your whole heart and do that thing.
Re-train your brain
We’ve all been there when we started to feel worn and stretched and slowly begin to unravel. Our mind tells us we need a break, but we can’t take one because the dishes need to be washed, or the kids need a snack, or whatever the excuse may be. Your brain is wrong. Your brain is conditioned to continue the pattern of behavior you’ve set out. So, if you are accustomed to giving until you have nothing left, that’s what your mind will do. It takes work to teach your brain that you need a break. You deserve a break.
The stress of managing all of the aspects of life will always be there. So whatever it looks like, get into the practice and make pleasure a priority. If you are constantly putting the needs of others before your own and your mental health is fraying beyond recognition – IT’S NOT WORTH IT.
So I hearby permit you to make yourself a priority.
To take a nap.
To leave dirty dishes in the sink.
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