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Research: 'Supermom' Pressures Lead to Higher Rates of Depression

A new study has found that mothers in their 40s are more likely to be depressed if they believe in the "supermom" myth, the notion that women can maintain stellar careers and perfect homes and children all at the same time..  The findings didn't suggest that working moms are more depressed in general--only that those moms who believe they have to do everything themselves, and do it perfectly, are at greater risk.  The Boston Globe reports that women who ease their standards are more likely to report being happy:

It's all about perception, rather than the amount of juggling a woman does, according to new research presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas. If she expects to drop a few balls from time to time, she's less likely to develop depression by the time she's 40.

"Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities," said Katrina Leupp, a University of Washington sociology graduate student who conducted the study in a statement. And it's not like babies born to working moms have any fewer demands than those born to stay-at-home moms.

That means something has to give. "You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you're willing to let some things slide," Leupp said.

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