Are you caught in the middle?
If you are caring for your teens or young adult children and also your ageing parents – welcome to the sandwich generation!
Funny name aside, there is nothing funny about this situation.
You are caught between the generation that hasn’t quite launched yet and the one that slowly -or rapidly – needs more assistance.
In some cases, there are grandchildren in the mix, adding another layer to make it a triple-decker sandwich.
It is already difficult to manage a busy family schedule and work and to find time for socialising with friends and self-care.
What does it mean to be part of the sandwich generation?
You might have teenagers at home and are challenged by their emotional and physical needs and their logistics greatly impact your schedule too.
You might have young adults who have returned to the nest for various reasons and who need your resources.
You might be a grandparent already and are supporting the young family.
And now your parents are starting to need your assistance instead of being there to help you. It’s no wonder that things get more challenging.
- If your parents live very close to you, the logistics can be a bit easier. But this proximity, also means that everyone expects you to be present at all times, and drop everything else. It can quickly feel like it is always you, who needs to step up to the plate.
- If your parents live far away, maybe even abroad – you obviously cannot be in two places at the same time. So how do you manage their care, your own feelings of guilt and responsibility and your own schedule?
- If you are an only child, you might feel terribly alone in this. You may be very hesitant to set any boundaries because you feel obliged to do it all. After all – who else is there to share this situation with?
- If you have siblings but are not on the same page when it comes to your parents’ care, it can really make things complicated. Regardless of the situation, there can be a lot of blaming and guilt-tripping which brings out the worst in everyone and loses track of what is best for your parents.
- If it’s your in-laws who need the help, this can also be a touchy subject. It very much depends on your relationship with your in-laws, and their attitude towards you. In some cases, there is an expectation that you do all the work and the son, your husband, gets the glory. Regardless of the reason or situation, you need to make sure that you are feeling at choice,or it can easily turn into resentment and even friction with your spouse
How do you even start prioritising all these different needs without completely losing yourself?
How do you cope with the exhaustion and the emotional stress, so you do not get burnt out?
So what can you do?
The first step is to consciously make yourself aware of what is going on for you with all of this change
- What are your feelings about your parents getting older and becoming less independent?
- What do you need to address in regard to your own family and their expectations?
- What do you need to recharge your own batteries?
- What is in your control, and where do you need to let go?
We can’t stop time, change the circumstances or make up for lost opportunities.
What we can control is ourselves, and how we want to show up for our family and our parents.
Here is what can help you!
- Look at everything you can control.
- Be clear on what you need, so that you are not depleting your batteries while helping everyone – setting healthy boundaries helps everyone involved.
- Be clear on what it is that you value most, and build a plan around those values.
- Ask for help and include the family in the process – they want to help too.
- You cannot be in more than one place at a time. But you can find ways to support everyone when you know what is non-negotiable for you, and what is realistic to achieve.
Our impactful workshop “Mission I’m Possible” helps you to take inventory of where you are
in your life, and explores who you are, why you do the things the way you do, what causes you stress and where you’d like to be.
It can be a tremendous help to discover what is really causing you to struggle with many life situations and what you can do about it.
How we do anything, is how we do everything!
Our impactful workshop, Mission I’m Possible helps you to take inventory of where you are
in your life. It explores who you are, why you do the things the way you do, what causes you stress and where you’d like to be.