When I opened up my reader this morning I was hit with the following story:
“A new study has found that working mothers who try to perfectly combine a high-powered job with an active family life are unhappier than those who simply accept they cannot have everything.”
Talk about relating to a story… I could almost be the poster child. Been there. Done that.
I have always had to work. Staying at home with the kids was never an option. Financially we just can not swing it.
Being the personality type that I am, I’ve never merely “gotten a job.” Oh no. I am all in. Or, at least I try to be.
And when it come to parenting, I am the same way. Or, at least I try to be.
And that is where the guilt typically comes in. Because it is never enough. I can never be on top of it all at any point in time.
According to Katrina Leupp, the University of Washington graduate student interpreting the new study, that is exactly where the danger lies.
“We do know that, having to do things like answer an email at night is associated with feelings of guilt for women (but not for men) and that guilt is associated with psychological distress,” she said. “Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities. You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you’re willing to let some things slide.”
Ah, yes. Drop the need for perfection.
The key takeaway for working women like myself is that in order to avoid depression associated with trying to be a “supermom,” you need to learn how to either delegate or let expectations slide.
In other words — let someone with more time run the soccer team, hire a cleaning service or make sure your husband is doing his share of the chores. Don’t always expect that you can attend every school play or festival at your child’s school. And if you seek a more comfortable work-life balance, refuse to take on that additional project or put yourself out there for a promotion that requires longer hours away from home.
Accept that you can’t do it all and don’t blame yourself for struggling.
That is something that I myself am still learning. Just the other night I had a meltdown of epic proportions over having to handle my son’s soccer team registration. I had been up since 4:30am and finished work at 9:00pm. No sleep. Too many commitments. Trying to do it all out of guilt. Friends, I bawled like a baby.
Again, I am LEARNING. Super mom be damned.