There are many stages we pass through in our lives. First, we are children, then young adults. We then get to work at marriage and parenting. Before we are done with the parenting stage, often we are thrust into the next stage: being part of the sandwich generation.
The sandwich generation is when we are taking care of our children and our elderly parents at the same time. This can be a very stressful time in our lives, a time that we are torn between two very pressing and important obligations. What do you do when your child is having a performance at school and your parent is in the hospital? You cannot be in both places at the same time. How do you choose between these two equally important things?
It is very stressful to be part of the sandwich generation. You are watching the decline of your parents and dealing with all the losses that involves. You are helping to mold the next generation with all the joy and frustration that implies. You may also have a relationship that you need to nurture as well. Your partner will need some of your time to keep that relationship healthy. You may also be working. You cannot miss too many days at work or you may have some significant financial stressors you have to deal with, too! Once in a while, you have to spend some time doing chores around the house so that you have clean clothes and food as well!
All of these things take up significant time and energy. The one person that hasn’t gotten any time yet is you! Everything you are doing is stressful. And time consuming! Yet, if you do not take some time out to nurture yourself, then you cannot cope with everything else that you need to do. If you have read my column for a while, you know that I am forever pushing you to take time for yourself. The other day a client of mine finally started to take care of herself. She came in and said, “You know what? This taking care of yourself really works!” She had more energy ,and her stress had decreased. This taking care of yourself really does help, especially when you are in such a stressful situation.
This is another stage of life that we will get through. Hopefully, we will learn some important things as we pass through it. Hopefully, we will emerge on the other side as a healthier, stronger person. Enjoy the journey, my friend.
This stage is very difficult for us as parents to deal with. It is important to nurture yourself to help you get through it. Perhaps a massage would help! And a glass of wine. The real key is to change your focus from the kids to you. Practice this skill. You may even find that you like it!
Enjoy the journey!