Realistic expectations may reduce stress for working moms

The myth of the “supermom” – a woman who can juggle a successful career and full-time parenting – appears to put a lot of pressure on women who choose to have both a job and a family, sometimes even leading to depression.

A study that was conducted at the University of Washington reveals that mothers who expect to make minor sacrifices in work or home life, such as skipping a kid’s soccer game or leaving work early for a recital, tend to be mentally healthier than their counterparts with high expectations of themselves.

“Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities,” said lead author Katrina Leupp. “You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you’re willing to let some things slide.”

The study involved 1,600 working moms who were 40 years old and married.

It’s likely that women who feel pressured to be “supermom” experience high levels of workplace stress. Results of this study suggest that employee wellness programs that provide tips for a balanced life and stress management may help working moms perform better both on the job and at home.

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