London: Working mothers who expect that a successful career and family life can be blended with relative ease, are more likely to become depressed than women who accept they “cannot do it all”, according to a new research.
They become frustrated when they fail to measure up to their own expectations.
“Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are designed for employees without child-care responsibilities,” the Daily Express quoted sociologist Katrina Leupp, of Washington University, as saying.
In reality, juggling home and work lives requires some sacrifice such as cutting back on work hours and persuading husbands to help more, she said.
“You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you are willing to let some things slide,” Leupp said.
She analysed responses to a survey of 1,600 stay-at-home and working mothers, all married, who answered questions about work-life balance.
When the women reached the age of 40, Leupp measured their levels of depression and found the stay-at-home mothers had more symptoms of depression than the working ones.
There was some truth to the adage that “stay-at-home mums have the hardest job in the world”, she concluded.
But among the working women, Leupp found those who bought into the “supermum” myth, consistently agreeing as young adults that women can combine employment and family care, were at a higher risk of depression compared with those who had a more realistic view.