Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood

Presented by Prof. Hollee Schwartz Temple

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 Women today earn more than half of all bachelor’s degrees, hold more managerial positions than men, are earning higher and higher salaries and doing all of this while having families on their timeline.  It would only make sense that this generation of girls born to Have It All would be the happiest in history. So why is it that study after study shows that women’s happiness levels have been decreasing—and what can they do about it?

Based on an exclusive study of more than 900 working mothers, more than 100 in-depth interviews, and the latest research, Good Enough Is the New Perfect builds on the growing “anti-perfection parenting” movement as the first book to present empirical evidence that this philosophy offers an advantage. Drawing on a groundbreaking original survey of 905 working mothers, Prof. Hollee Schwartz Temple will discuss a paradigm shift in modern motherhood: More and more mothers are losing their Never Enough attitude and embracing a Good Enough mindset to be happier, more confident and more successful.

Some surprising findings from the authors’ survey, which included working mothers  from a broad range of professions and from nearly every state in the nation:

  • Perfectionism emerged as the single greatest roadblock to juggling work and family; the “constant need to be the best at everything” far outweighed all other factors (67 percent), including financial pressures that forced women to work more than desired, inflexible employers, inability to afford extra help with cooking and cleaning, and husbands who didn’t contribute enough at home.
  • Women who reported a “strong need to be the best at everything” (the Never Enoughs) were less likely to feel their sacrifices reflected their priorities, and more likely to feel they’d sacrificed too much. They were twice as likely to describe their marriages as “not very good” or a “disaster.”
  • The Good Enoughs—those who said that “being the best isn’t important; I try to be good enough and happy”—felt better about their ability to connect with spouses, and were better able to find time for family, friends and themselves. And those who stayed in the same careers after having children were just as likely as the Never Enoughs to advance. The Good Enoughs were more likely to say they had realistic expectations for themselves—and six times less likely to describe themselves as wanting to be “a superstar at work AND at home, even if it kills me.”


Told through the inspiring stories of real moms—executives and entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers—Good Enough is the New Perfect blends expert advice and solid research to offer a true roadmap for the incredible balancing act we call motherhood.

About the presenter:

Hollee is a journalist-turned-lawyer-turned-professor at West Virginia University College of Law. After graduating at the top of her class with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Hollee headed to Duke University School of Law. She graduated in 1999, and then began a four-year stint as a litigation associate at an international law firm. After her first son was born in 2002, Temple returned to her firm on a part-time basis before joining the WVU faculty the next year. Hollee lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, with her husband, John, an author and journalism professor, and their two sons, Gideon and Henry. She travels the country discussing work/life balance, and blogs about the topic at