By Emma Fiala
A new study confirms what most moms are all too aware of. Mom-guilt permeates every area of a mother’s life—even the incredibly important act of self-care, which is backed up by research.
The study, deemed “The You-Time Report,” was funded by beauty box company Birchbox and conducted by Kelton Global. Over 1,000 adults across the country were surveyed and the results leave little to the imagination when it comes to the goings on inside a mother’s brain.
Right off the bat, the study reveals that people in the United States do not take enough me-time. In fact, 40% of those surveyed said they rarely have time to themselves each day.
What’s more, a shocking number of people say they literally don’t have any time to engage in self-care. At all. And that percentage is a little higher—45%—for parents, and a little lower—32%—for the childless.
Unsurprisingly, single folks find more time for self-care than those in a relationship.
According to the numbers, some parents do find the time to engage in acts of self-care, but the study reveals that they don’t actually feel good when doing so. In fact, they feel guilty.
While the study surveyed a wide swath of statuses, from married to single and parent to not, the findings about parents are worth shining some extra light on.
According to ScaryMommy:
While three in 10 parents wish that they spent more time taking care of themselves, 39% feel guilty to take time (as compared to 26% of those without kids), and 21% often don’t engage in self-care because of the guilt.
While it doesn’t take a parenting expert, a psychologist, or a life coach to tell you that self-care and recharging one’s batteries is part of being a productive human, far too many parents seem to gloss over those facts and spiral into a rabbit hole of guilt at the slightest hint of self-care.
From exercising to napping and even having sex—parents feel guilty doing it and, therefore, aren’t actually able to fully enjoy it or reap the benefits.
And when we look at the study’s results in more detail, we can further pin down the group most unable to relax. Not only do more moms feel more overwhelmed and burnt out than dads—66% vs. 53% and 54% vs. 43% respectively—men manage to make time for self-care more often than women and more consistently block time off on their calendars for self-care activities as well.
To make matters worse, women also say no to social obligations in exchange for me-time less often than men, regardless of parent status.
Ironically, women are more likely than men to skip beauty and hygiene routines because they are tired or have chores to do, despite the fact that more women than men think taking care of their bodies is valid a form of self-care.
So why aren’t we taking time for ourselves, even though we know we need it? According to ScaryMommy:
Two-thirds (67%) of all Americans in the survey said that they put others ahead of themselves. Overall, work (31%), caring for their family members (28%), other commitments like volunteering or studying (22%), and social engagements (17%) were some of the top listed reasons for everyone. But for moms, caring for others is the biggest reason we don’t care for ourselves—42 percent say they’d take better care of themselves if not for their partners, parents, and kids.