If you care for both your children and your aging parents, you are in the Sandwich Generation, just like me!
This time in your life can feel overwhelming. This year, I expect to spend 8 months of my life moving my parents from a 2,600 sq ft home to a 630 sq ft retirement condo. They have stored 57 years of stuff in their basement, and I honestly don’t think they have thrown away much in those 57 years! They are so tied to their stuff and won’t throw anything away – after all, what if you need a garbage bag full of plastic utensils one day? or 5 golf umbrellas? or 30 ashtrays as a non-smoker? A good coping tool for me has been taking many deep breaths!
OK, so how do I find joy in spending 8 months moving them and selling their old place? That’s actually pretty easy. I’m lucky because they are moving to a lovely retirement condo that will be the perfect place for them – all their food and activities will be provided, along with the opportunity to socialize which they have lost in the past several years. They will have lots of people around in case they have any health emergencies. They want to go so I’m fortunate this isn’t a situation where they ‘have’ to go.
But there have been many times in recent years that were really trying. And those of us in the Sandwich Generation know what it is like to care for our parents – whether it’s driving them to appointments, sitting at their hospital bedside after a heart attack, doing their grocery shopping or helping them problem-solve day-to-day challenges – their needs continually increase, not decrease. Then, at the same time, raising children who you want to nurture to ensure they are heading down the right path in life.
I consider myself pretty fortunate, as I know the demands on me could be a lot higher. I am blessed with wonderful parents, children, family and good friends. My parents have done so much for me over the years and I won’t forget that. This is my time to return the favour.
Here is a good website for the Sandwich Generation from FGI.
If you are in the Sandwich Generation, I hope you are doing OK and are practicing self-care along the way.