For the average mom, everything that falls between the alarm clock Monday morning and that first glass of wine on Friday evening might seem to fly by in a blur. Somewhere in there, moms everywhere have managed to food shop, meal plan, keep the house in order, the clothes clean, the family fed, and the kids transported from school to soccer to piano lessons.
It’s no secret: Moms are overworked—and recent studies prove it. One survey conducted by Welch’s grape juice, for example, found that the average working mom does the equivalent of two-and-a-half full-time jobs each week. And in an article published in the American Sociological Review, researchers determined that, compared to fathers, mothers spend an extra 10 hours every week multitasking.
All those hours, unsurprisingly, are taking their toll: According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of moms (and 60 percent of working moms) report having little-to-no free time to pursue their own hobbies and friendships.
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But all that could be changing, thanks to a quickly rising travel trend that has moms flying solo on getaways from Europe to the Caribbean. Dubbed the “Momcation,” the escape is meant to give hardworking moms the mental pause they desperately need, says psychologist Nava Silton, an advocate for the trend. “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.”
So where are moms finding their personal bliss? Judging by the #Momcation hashtag on Instagram (which has been used more than 51,000 times), the answer is all over. Some mothers opt for kick-back-and-relax beach vacations or week-long yoga retreats, while others prefer city escapes with sides of spa time and retail therapy. While the name implies an actual getaway, not all Momcations are far-flung. Some choose to savor their solo time on a simpler staycation, where there’s less emphasis on doing and more on doing nothing at all (except, of course, binge watching old episodes of Golden Girls).
If the thought of leaving the family for a week or a weekend gives you serious mom guilt, consider timing the getaway so it coincides with an event that makes the absence less disruptive to a child’s life, such as summer camp or a week at the grandparents’ house. And then consider the overall benefits: According to experts, Momcations aren’t just healthy for mothers alone. Taking time off can also improve relationships between husband and wife and serve as a positive example of work-life balance for little ones.