Supermoms and Depression

Supermoms are women who balance a full time job or career and take care of their children at home. It’s quite a rough existence if one cannot find the balance between their work and home life that they can feel comfortable with and that can lead to an increased risk of depression.


Katrina Luepp, who is a graduate student at the University of Washington, followed up with 1600 married women in their 40’s that had answered questions 20 years earlier about their opinions on what the woman’s role in the workplace and at home was. Those that stated that a woman could have it all, both career and children, without sacrificing much, were at an increased risk of depression than those that understood that one could not handle everything without giving up something to balance it out.

Working somewhere in a career or just a job is quite satisfying to most people and missing out on that to raise the children can sometimes have a dark effect on those that feel as though they aren’t participating in the consumer culture. And thus, the study reconfirmed previous research that stay at home moms were more likely to be depressed in their 40’s as compared to all the women who were employed combined, no matter how they managed or didn’t manage their two lives. So the idea of the study is not to discourage women from working, as it can be beneficial in both physical and mental health, but to point out that women have to look at it from a certain perspective.

One has to be aware of their limitations, say researchers, and be able to trust their partners to take up the slack where they can’t. Those that do not get support from their husbands, either by their own design, or by the mere fact that the men don’t participate in taking care of the children, can have a profound impact on whether depression will develop. This is really understandable. If one is pushed to do every single thing themselves, it doesn’t give one enough time to do what they need to do to be able to relax and vent the stress. When stress builds up, it can lead to all sorts of problems including depression. Single women, which the study didn’t address, are often overwhelmed by their forced work and child care.

Guilt also plays a part when a woman is trying to be super mom because there are times when they just can’t be somewhere or do something, whether it’s work or its family. For instance, an important presentation is due and they have to miss their daughter’s dance recital because of it. And that puts a strain on their relationship with the child. But guilt can also be on the other side. If they go to their daughter’s recital, taking time out of their work even if it’s at home after hours, they feel guilty about not getting that done.

Organization is really the key to it all. Knowing that it’s not possible to handle everything is important and part of the balancing act is to make sure that if something interferes, which it will, that you balance that out later. For instance, if you are working extra hours and away from your family, work it out so that you can spend some quality time together doing something fun. It will relieve the stress and give you a chance to bond with your loved ones.

It’s a very tough road for a woman trying to do both career and married bliss. It’s even harder when it’s a single mother, but women do it all the time. But if you find yourself having problems coping, see somebody about it. Some jobs even have private counselors that can help you get through a rough patch and utilize techniques that can help manage your life effectively on both sides of the rat race. If your job doesn’t support that, then perhaps someone like a therapist or the local mental health department can be of service. Career women, like men, often are afraid that it will jeopardize one’s career to be thought of as having a mental issue, but being burned out and unable to handle either will be far worse in the long run.