Here's why experts want moms to take a well-earned vacation this year—even if it's just to the day spa.
No matter where you turn—from social media to pop culture to everyday chats with friends—chances are you're barraged with messages about prioritizing self-care. But whether it looks like taking a yoga class, enjoying a girls' night out, or just taking a shower, building in that elusive "me time" can be quite a challenge. In fact, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, more half of all parents said they don't have enough time away from the kids to spend with friends or on hobbies. Meanwhile, a study from Happify found that though dads get an average of 28 hours of leisure time every week, moms get 25. And research published in the American Sociological Review found that, compared to dads, moms spend an extra 10 hours per week multitasking—usually juggling housework and childcare. (Related: More Than Half of Millennial Women Made Self-Care Their New Year's Resolutions for 2018)
All of this amounts to a major case for a legit break in the form of a "momcation," experts say. One psychologist, in particular, has been making headlines for advocating moms take a real vacation away from their kiddos at least once a year. (Related: No, Moms: It's Not Selfish to Make Yourself a Priority)
Nava Silton, Ph.D., recently spoke with Fox News 5 NY, noting that, "Motherhood can be very stressful, whether it's financial stresses, time stresses, just trying to get a whole lot done in a very short period of time. I think it's really important for mothers to be rejuvenated and refreshed."
While experiencing mom guilt as a result of taking a vacation may be inevitable, Silton encourages parents to remember that "momcation"-ing has extended benefits for kids as well. "It's very important for kids to see that balance that ideally needs to be achieved in a family situation," she explained. (Related: Fit Moms Share the Relatable and Realistic Ways They Make Time for Workouts)
What's more, the practice can bolster a mom's relationship with her partner. Silton's recommendation echoes a study previously published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal which concluded that women who took vacations at least twice a year were "less likely to become tense, depressed, or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages.” Plus, the “odds of marital satisfaction decreased as the frequency of vacations decreased.” (Related: 6 Simple Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms)
Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT, director at The Anna Keefe Women's Center at The Training Institute for Mental Health in New York and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom tells Parents.com that the concept of a "momcation" is much bigger than the advice to take an annual solo trip. "We need to reframe how we think about mothers taking time off from mothering," Kurtz says. "'Momcations' are really a necessity, not just a luxury. They should be considered an integral part of what I call 'mothercare'—one of a host of activities that restore and revitalize the emotional and physical energy we need to provide healthy, loving care for our children."
A "momcation" can and should be tailored to a woman's individual budget and time limitations, but it is ultimately something that moms, communities, and society as a whole should support for everyone's benefit, Kurtz says, concluding, "We need to make sure mothers are getting the time off they need, to get the job done."
This story was originally published on Parents.com by Maressa Brown.