"Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities," study leader Katrina Leupp, a University of Washington sociology graduate student, said in a statement.
"In reality, juggling home and work lives requires some sacrifice, such as cutting back on work hours and getting husbands to help more. You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you're willing to let some things slide."
Leupp analyzed survey responses of 1,600 U.S. women -- stay-at-home moms and working mom -- and married, who were participating in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.
As young adults, the women answered questions about work-life balance and when the women reached age 40, Leupp measured their levels of depression.
The study found stay-at-home moms had more depression symptoms than working moms, but those with the "supermom" attitude -- who as young adults agreed women can combine employment and family care -- were at a higher risk for depression compared with working moms who had a more realistic view.
"Employed women who expected that work-life balance was going to be hard are probably more likely to accept that they can't do it all," Leupp said.
Leupp presented the findings at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Las Vegas.