An area of a house that a woman can decorate to her tastes and be alone to pursue her own projects and interests. Also: mum cave.
But these days, women are chiseling out their own sanctuary, taking over a room, nook or even a closet and making it their "mom cave." A mom cave is the place where the woman who nurtures everyone goes to nurture herself, said Elaine Griffin, New York City interior designer.
—Megan K. Scott, "Women find a space of their own with mom caves," USA Today, January 22, 2011
Roxanne Jacoby has a guest room in her Pennsylvania home that no guest has ever slept in. It's really her Mom Cave. Outfitted with mementos and comfort items, it's the only room in the house she really calls her own.
—Kim Cook, "Mom Caves can provide private space for pursuits," Associated Press, October 31, 2010
[R]eal estate broker and author Mark Nash...calls them "man caves and mom caves" off-limits to other family members...."For women, it's a quiet space where they can read or write. But they still have the same theme: 'Don't bother me. I need time out from the relationship or the household.'"
—Alma E. Hill, "Hot trends for 2007: Master bedrooms getting a makeover," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 4, 2007
Is it meaningful that the phrase man cave has been hunkered down in English since at least 1992, while its better half the mom cave only seems to have carved out space in the language since about 2007? Is it at all noteworthy that the male side of this phenomenon uses the generic term man, while the female side uses the parent-specific term mom? Is there some kind of sign-of-the-times significance to the fact that now both men and women seem to need room-of-one's-own sanctuaries within their homes?
As a mere chronicler of new words and phrases, I have no answers to these possibly meaningless questions. However, I can tell you that although the phrase mom cave is the more popular, the phrase woman cave not only exists, but is the older of the two:
The two available floor plans are both slightly larger than 2,300 square feet but also have front yards, walled courtyards and detached garages that include a second-story "man or woman cave" bonus room with a half bath.
—Paul Swider, "Townhomes add to shift as N 4th Street transforms," St. Petersburg Times, August 13, 2006