Monday, September 5, 2011

Draw your own conclusions

That’s what this article by Sarah Klein at basically expects of readers.

The title presents one hypothesis – that the Super-Moms [or women striving to be] can become miserable. That’s a no-brainer. We’ve all known for a long time that society’s expectation that a woman can be a perfect employee and a perfect mother at the same time is damaging to everyone involved. The article, of course, presents this like it’s news.

What’s interesting is, as you read the article you find that the first line:

Working mothers are less likely to be depressed than stay-at-home moms, a new study suggests.

Which sounds like the antithesis of the title, is contradicted by the results of the study.

The women who supported combining motherhood with a career had a greater risk of depression later in life than those who thought women should stay at home to raise kids.

In fact, the young women who were the least likely to support the idea of blending home and work life had the fewest depression symptoms when they were actually working moms at age 40.

[Emphasis mine]

So, to follow so far – Super-Mom wanna bes are not happy, but working mothers are happier, except for those who think being a working mom is a good idea. Ultimately women who don’t think mothers should work are less depressed later in life when they DO work.

Say what?

This is why the results of studies conducted by graduate students don’t really need to be published. Or then again, maybe the study draws some amazingly pertinent conclusions which Ms. Klein simply couldn’t communicate effectively in her article.

Either way, I’m confused. The article concludes that it’s best to accept the fact that you can’t do it all and not to feel guilty if you’re a working mom.

Thanks for that, because all those guilty-feeling working moms out there can now rest easily. We all know the best way to make someone feel better is to tell them to feel better.

I really don’t mean to attack the author here, but it stuns me how often these health articles contradict themselves and draw conclusions that anyone with a modicum of common sense has known for years. While a study that reinforces the conclusions of other studies may be helpful, presenting it with contradictory conclusions based on the same study is not.

My overall conclusion: Reading health articles on the Internet is bad for your health.

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