WVU law professor co-authors book to help women

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 29, 2011


MORGANTOWN -– A West Virginia University law professor has co-authored a book with an award-winning journalist to help women find happiness and be successful.

Hollee Temple and Becky Beaupre Gillespie's new book, "Good Enough is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood," is about transitioning from "never enough" to "good enough."

Temple and Gillespie 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, TheNewPerfect.com, 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.

"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."

Temple and Gillespie said the book started out as an online survey of 1,000 women born between 1965 and 1980. Keith Weber, an assistant professor in WVU's Department of Communications Studies, ran the survey, which drew quick and enthusiastic responses from a diverse group of working moms.

"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."

Temple said "Good Enoughs" were women who said they did not have to be perfect at everything and "Never Enoughs" were women who said they will 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.

Temple, a mother of two, and Gillespie met as journalism students at Northwestern University. Temple had planned to join Gillespie in the journalism field, but her career path diverged significantly from her initial expectations.

Temple said even writing the book required a decision that typifies the work/life balance challenge. 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.

Temple, who was once a perfectionist, said she realized that many of her choices did not need to revolve around absolutes. She said she is hoping other mothers will be inspired by the book and come to the same conclusion.

"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 Gillespie will speak and sign books at a launch event on May 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Seneca Center in Morgantown.

For more information about the book and the authors, go to www.facebook.com/BeckyandHolley or www.twitter.com/holleeinbalance.

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