Dealing with Intergenerational Stress

Caring for Your Children and Your Parents: The Sandwich Generation

Image of a tuna salad sandwich

Welcome to life in the sandwich generation!

You made it through those intense years of raising young children and were hoping that you would now get a much needed break in the action. Your own life may have been put on hold for a time and you may have been looking forward to being able to carve out a little time to attend to your own needs. Some space to relax just a bit would be so welcome! Surprise! You now find yourself in between two generations looking to you to help meet their needs: your aging parents and your not yet fully launched children.

Talk about being in the middle! Your parents are beginning to lose some of their independence at the same time that your children still need your support. Yes, you want to be there for those you love. Yet it can be a double whammy that causes you to feel pulled in many directions at once. It can be overwhelming and exhausting. Is your reserve tank of energy nearly depleted? Do you feel that you are running on empty? Do you find yourself being increasingly stressed, worried, even resentful—and then feeling guilty?

If some of this resonates with you, you may be a member of what has been called the sandwich generation. Are you feeling the squeeze of being the go-to person for both generations? Are you beginning to feel like a care-taking machine? If so, it may be time to design a mini break in the action. Perhaps it is time to think about what is going on for you—yes, you!—at this stage of your life. Your life is also worthy of attention.

As the years go by, you may have had a recurring thought that life doesn’t go on forever. It may be time to sort out some things. What is going well? What could benefit from some rebalancing or from a course correction? What are your dreams and desires for your life apart from those you love? You probably have them, but they may have been hidden away for a long time. Could it be that you are in danger of becoming invisible in your own life? You may have sensed a whispering within that maybe—just maybe—it is time to show up in your own life as well as in the lives of others.

Congratulations! Even considering this takes courage. I really get these struggles. To take the first step in sorting out some of these issues, please contact me.

And again, welcome to the sandwich generation! Will it be a club sandwich or a tuna fish on whole wheat today? And would you like a pickle with that?  You choose.