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Study suggests 'Supermoms' hang up their cape

By Brooke Walker | Posted - Aug. 25, 2011 at 9:00 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Can trying to be too good of a mom make you depressed? A new study has moms everywhere re-examining their to-do lists.

"It's not necessarily being a good mom, but trying to be a perfect mom that's the problem. That's according to a new study by University of Washington researchers.

Researchers surveyed nearly 2,000 40-year-old women who were a mix of stay-at-home and working mothers. The women were asked to rank a series of statements about balancing work life and home life. The conclusion was that overall, stay-at-home moms were more depressed than working moms.

However, working moms who held onto a "supermom" attitude -- the idea that they can climb the corporate ladder and have a clean house, delicious dinner and perfect children -- were more unhappy and depressed than women who accepted the fact that they just can't do it all.

According to clinical psychologist Dr. Liz Hale, this study gives moms permission to "hang up their cape."

"Ask your child, ‘What would I be doing if I was a supermom,' and likely you are going to hear from them, not a perfect house, not gourmet meals, but ‘You are there for me. I feel like a priority and you really love me,'" she said.

As you might imagine, moms are talking up these findings in the blog world and other online sources. Moms weighed in on KSL's Facebook page when we asked: When was a time you hung up your supermom cape and were glad that you did?

For Kristine Brandt, it was this morning. She wrote, "Hubby offered to get our son off to school and let me sleep in, and I gladly accepted."

Sarah Webster told about a day she traded chores for a movie moment with her 17-month-old, saying, "Instead of cleaning the front room, I sat and watched it with her. Every time music came on, I picked her up and danced. Now whenever she hears music, she comes running to me, wanting to dance."

Teri McFarland has five young children. She says she used to try for supermom status, but that changed. "I had a pillow that I'd scream into whenever I felt a little stressed. I hung up my cape when my little daughter brought me ‘the pillow' without my asking one day."

You can log onto the KSL Facebook page to see more stories and share your own. Maybe consider it permission to just chill out a little bit!

E-mail: bwalker@ksl.com

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Brooke Walker

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