Moms who make their kids the center of their worlds to the detriment of everything else may think they’re better parents, but a new study finds they may be setting themselves up for a major bout of depression.

Psychology professor Holly Schiffrin and her colleagues at the University of Mary Washington looked at whether women who endorse what they call “intensive parenting” beliefs struggle more with mental health, and found such women tend to be less satisfied with their lives.

“The way we’re parenting today is taking a toll on women,” says Schiffrin. “We need to find that happy medium — all things in moderation. Yes, you need to be involved with your kids, but the standard we’re holding ourselves to is probably unachievable.”

The findings didn’t apply just to notoriously-stressed working mothers, either. Stay-at-home mothers feel pressure to be consistently hands-on with their kids, even though many experts say scheduling too many activities isn’t good for them.

Worst of all, the kids may be paying the price for moms who set the bar too high for themselves.

“A lot of research says children of depressed mothers don’t fare as well,” Schiffrin says. “If this [“intensive parenting”] ideology is making us depressed, it may not benefit kids in the long run.”

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