With more and more modern mums juggling work and looking after their young children, the term ‘supermum’ has been coined. Although according to a recent study conducted by the University of Washington, whilst stay at home mums have higher rates of depression than those mums who go out to work, those mothers who believe that their work and home lives can be ‘blended seamlessly’, are actually at greater risk of becoming depressed.
The study, which analysed the survey responses from 1,600 women throughout the U.S, all of whom were 40 years old and married but some worked and some stayed at home, found that mothers with a ‘supermum’ attitude – namely they believe they can ‘do it all’ when it comes to working, bringing up the children and doing the household chores – put themselves under great pressure, and when something does suffice, they feel like they have failed.
Mothers of this ‘supermum’ generation need to make more sacrifices in order to stay ‘sane’ and not slip into feelings of depression, the study asserts. Katrina Leupp, who graduated from the University of Washington in sociology and led the study, offers some good advice for working Mums;
“You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you’re willing to let some things slide. “
These ‘cut backs’ should include getting husbands to help out more with the caring of the children and household chores, as well as reducing the number of hours they work.
Being employed and getting out to work has long been regarded as an important element of a mother’s mental help, as the ‘different scenery’, spending time away from the children and mixing with other adults, helps curb depression from occurring.
But more ‘realistic’ approaches need to be adopted by some ‘supermums’ who try to juggle it all. As Katrina Leupp says:
“Employment is still ultimately good for women’s health. But for better mental health, working mums should accept that they can’t do it all.”