Do you feel like you’re a walking, talking sandwich? Are you the filling between your kids and parents? According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a ‘sandwich generation’ is defined as a generation who are caring for their parents while supporting their own children. If you’re anything like me, at some point you’ll find yourself stressed out from the endless demands of trying to meet the needs of everyone else. It’s a carefully choreographed dance taking care of your children when all is normal, but things kick into high gear when they are sick, and you’re managing doctors appointments, attending parent-teacher meetings, planning, cooking and serving meals, going to work, keeping up with daily household chores, throwing and attending birthday parties, chauffeuring to and fro and paying bills on time; not to mention simultaneously looking after your aging parents and ensuring that their physical, emotional, and mental health needs are also being met. This is multitasking at its finest. Does this sound familiar? I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Here are my three go-to tips to find balance in your life while juggling the life’s daily demands.
Well, obviously, right? Well, it’s true, yes, get organized. It is all about planning ahead that will help you take control of life when it is feeling chaotic. I personally use my iPhone calendar. Anytime there are appointments to be made, I immediately update my iPhone calendar. This includes any errands to run that day, as well as any bills that are due to be paid. For meal planning, find the website Pinterest to be your new best friend. There, you will find countless ideas for meal planning. In a bind and don’t know what to make? Just list ingredients that you have on hand in the search feature, and it will give you options of what you are able to prepare. There is something about planning ahead that relieves stress and helps you feel like you have more control.
Stop the Panic, and Find Peace
When the phone rings for the demands to be met “right now”, and the panic of stress sets in, ask yourself: Is the person in danger, or are they in need of immediate care? If the answer is no, then explain that this is not a crisis and you will work it into your schedule a.s.a.p.. If it is something that they know they will need, such as a doctor’s appointment or groceries, ask that they let you know several days in advance so that you can plan ahead. Meet their needs and keep healthy boundaries.
Next, close your eyes and breathe. Find your peace in prayer, meditation, looking at art, listening to a favorite song, or perhaps find an app and listen to ocean waves with your headphones. However it is that you find peace in your life, just stop and do it.
Be in the Moment with No Regrets
A beautiful quote from Maya Angelou is, “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.” Maya was right. Be in the moment and have no regrets. Use your time wisely with your family; this includes both your aged parents and your significant other and kids at home. Make memories and don’t get caught up in the minutiae. One day, you will be looking back at these moments wondering what you could have done better. In other words; be in the moment, so that tomorrow you can live with no regrets. Enjoy their smiles, laughter, and silly jokes. Takes videos of their stories so that you can show your grandchildren one day. Create a legacy.
It is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of daily life as you wonder how to meet the endless demands that are asked of you. Our time is limited. Use it wisely, and seek balance in your sandwich generation life.
Donna Foute is a Lifestyle Editor for Midlife Road Trip. Professionally, she has created content for numerous companies on their websites as well as in print. She has authored several blogs over the years, from writing about the humor of parenting, as well as highlighting interesting women from history, including those that are around today. She worked as a Copywriter for a company in Tampa and has been a contributing writer for Examiner’s Tampa Bay Parenting.
Personally, she resides in the Tampa Bay area looking after her husband, her two teenage kids, her bull mastiff, and her two very annoyed cats.