Transitioning from “Never Enough” to “Good Enough” may require lifestyle changes that perfectionist working moms have never considered.

Hollee Temple and Becky Beaupre Gillespie will give them plenty to think about in their new book, Good Enough is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood, available nationwide April 19 (or for preorder at from Harlequin Publishing Harlequin (ISBN: 978-0-373-89237-2).

Temple, a professor at the WVU College of Law and Gillespie, an award-winning journalist, mix their personal stories with snippets from the lives of working women and advice from parenting and marriage experts to deliver a book that serves as a primer for women looking for professional fulfillment and personal happiness.

The book is an extension of their blog, which addresses work/life and parenting issues. The women also write a column on those topics for the ABA Journal, a publication of the American Bar Association.

Click below to hear WVU College of Law Professor Hollee Temple talk about the process of writing, general themes and her hopes for the book she co-authored.

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“Our generation has struggled to make sense of all the options we have as mothers and career women,” Temple said. “We don’t know what to do with this abundance that we’ve inherited from the Baby Boomers. In the book, we’re trying to show women what all the options are out there that different successful women have tried, to show them that there isn’t just one way to find this happiness and success but rather many ways, and they have to figure out what their own priorities are to hit the right path.”

Part memoir, part research and part lifestyle guideline, the project started with an on-line survey of 1,000 women born between 1965 and 1980.

Keith Weber, an assistant professor in the WVU Department of Communications Studies, ran the survey, which drew quick and enthusiastic responses from a diverse group of working moms.

Click below to hear Hollee Temple talk about the survey results and interviews of women that are featured in the book.

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“We had responses from 43 states, every racial, ethnic group and profession you could think of,” Temple said. “Keith said that if you get 100 to 200 responses you’re doing well. People were forwarding the survey through Facebook and Twitter and when we got over 1,000 responses we were blown away. It really showed what kind of a hot topic it was and how women were so desperate to talk about it.”

Along with racial, geographical and workplace disparity, Temple and Gillespie categorized the respondents as “Never Enoughs” and “Good Enoughs.”

“Good enoughs,” Temple said, were women who said they didn’t have to be perfect at everything. The “never enoughs,” she said, “said they’ll be the best whether it kills them or not.”

Finding the proper balance between career and family is a topic most women, including Temple, encounter at some point in their lives. A mother of two, Temple and Gillespie met as journalism students at Northwestern. Temple expected to join Gillespie in the field of journalism but says her career path diverged significantly from her initial expectations. Even writing the book required a decision that typifies the work/life balance conundrum. She delayed working on it until her husband, John, a professor in WVU’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism, finished writing The Last Lawyer, which was published in 2009.

Once a perfectionist, Temple realized that many of her choices didn’t need to revolve around absolutes. She’s hoping other moms will be inspired by the book and come to the same conclusion.

Click below to hear Hollee Temple discuss the work/life balance issues that women face and the negative effects they can have on them and their families.

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“Through our survey and interviews for the book, we found that the ‘Never Enoughs’ were really giving up a lot to embrace that perfectionism,” Temple said. “They were making a little bit more money but they had given up a lot in their personal lives. They were more likely to describe their marriages as, ‘not very good,’ or a ‘disaster;’ they were not very happy with the amount of time that they spent with their children. The book shows that shooting for less than perfection in everything is actually the way to a happier life.”

Temple and Weber aren’t the only WVU connection to Good Enough is the New Perfect. Former SoJ students Tricia Fulks and Megan Bowers filmed footage of the women featured in the book for the NewPerfect blog and Bowers produced a promotional video trailer. The WVU College of Law supported Temple’s expenses for the book with grants from the Hodges/Bloom Fund.

Also, Temple and Gillespie will speak and sign books at a launch event at 6:30 p.m. May 5 at the Seneca Center in Morgantown. The event is a “Celebration of Women,” with refreshments, music along with the signing. One of the sponsors is WVLiving Magazine, which is published by WVU alumnus Nikki Bowman.

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CONTACT: Hollee Temple, College of Law

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