TODAY's Ann Curry talks with author Lisa Earle McLeod and psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor about a new study that claims "supermoms," women who set the unattainable goal of being perfect, are more likely to suffer from depression. NBC's Kate Snow reports.
Leave your “S” cape at home, ladies.
It turns out that being a “Supermom” is highly overrated. In a new study, reported by Live Science: “Supermoms have higher rates of depression compared with working moms who let things slide.”
The research, from the University of Washington in Seattle, finds that working is good for mothers' mental health. But among working mothers, the least depressed are those who don't expect to combine work and family life seamlessly, Live Science reports.
That moms-who-try-to-have-it-all are overwhelmed is hardly news. (Ask anyone who has, in a single day: run 3 miles, gotten the kids up, fed and off to school, made it to work, skipped lunch, juggled meetings, driven carpool, watched a soccer game, gone to the grocery store, fixed dinner, helped with homework and put the kids to bed.)
What the study illuminates is the conflict between women who expect to do it all and their workplaces, which are usually not designed with work-life balance in mind.
Study researcher Katrina Leupp calls it as a “mismatch between women’s expectations and the actual structure of the workplace.” A workplace that is, as blogger Shannon Kelley so aptly describes, “still designed as though every employee had the benefit of a full-time wife at home, someone to take care of the kids… and all of the day-to-day business that keeps a life running smoothly.
Kelley suggests the kicker of the study:
Women today are raised being told they can have it all, though rarely are they let in on the way this charming slogan translates to the real world–as if through an evil game of telephone–that, more than likely, they’ll have to do it all, that what they’ll really have “all” of is the work.
So what’s the takeaway? Leupp says that working moms would do best to “temper their optimism about juggling, parenting and employment and not blame themselves if they struggle.”
"Recognize that if it feels difficult, it's because it is difficult," Leupp said.
What do you think? Do you find that as a working mother, the only way to have it all is to do it all?