the sandwich generation
Children,  Family,  Healthy Living,  Mindfulness,  National Days,  Relationships,  self-care

The Sandwich Generation: Living In The Middle

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The month of July is the National Sandwich Generation Month.

The term sandwich generation refers to men and women supporting their parents and their children simultaneously. This generation of people tends to be middle-aged, 35-54, and still in the workforce. They are caring for aging parents as well as their own children. The term was coined by a social worker in 1981 who saw an increase in the number of adult children supporting their parents while also raising their own kids. 

This time of life can be exhausting and financially difficult. If you are experiencing an increased need to assist your parents as they age while having kids at home, you’re likely part of the sandwich generation.  

It’s Like Living Between Two Extremes

Depending on the ages of your parents and kids, you may feel like you are teetering between two sets of needs. While your children need unique help from you, so do your mom and dad. It can feel like two extremes and start wearing you out. Over time your children may need less of your attention while your parents may need more. Ultimately, your children grow up and out of the home while your parents may require more and have less independence.

Caring for Kids and Parents is Stressful

One study showed the sandwich generation as having the highest level of stress on a personal level. This comes from the constant complicated balancing act. These people have to deal with the varied needs of growing children as well as the delicate needs of aging parents. Add in issues like managing a career, marriage, and other aspects of adulting, and things can get very hard emotionally.

The Sandwich Generation Won’t Last Forever

Depending on what age your kids are when your parents need help as well as what age your parents are when they start needing help, you can expect to be stuck in the middle for a while. Thankfully, the situation won’t last forever though it may feel like it. Kids grow up and parents eventually pass away, at some point things will even out and the cycle will start over again for your children who may need to support you at some point in time.



Conclusion

Surviving the sandwich generation isn’t easy but it is possible to make things better. Making yourself a priority and refusing to become a martyr will help you make the most of a difficult situation. It’s an honor to care for family, both young and old but it’s crucial not to lose yourself in the process.


Loving Life — The Reboot!

Dominique

This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.

The Sandwich Generation: Living In The Middle

25 Comments

  • Lizzy

    I definitely relate to this post about the sandwich generation. Unfortunately I lost my father last year. But it was a lot of work juggling between caring for him and my two year old.

    • Dominique

      I think we are (were) in the same situation. Unfortunately, my father passed last year as well. It was almost a full-time job and we had some help!

  • Kat

    I agree with The Sandwich Generation Won’t Last Forever and it all goes down to the choices you make. You have to make sure to always prioritize yourself above anything else so you will be able to give back and make time for whats needed without neglecting yourself.

    You must learn how to take care of yourself before you are able to take care of someone.

  • John

    I know exactly what this feels like as I am going through it right now. Doesn’t help when you also have your own medical issues to address too! Life is a constant battle, but the rewards out weigh thr downsides. We all have to get stuck in!

    • Dominique

      I was there. We have cared for my husband’s mom and my father at different times. I also have a kidney transplant and a daughter with special needs. It definitely can be hard! Good luck!

  • Brianna

    I can relate to this! I’m towards the bototm of that…taking care of young kids and being worried about my parents!

  • Christine Weis

    Ah, yes! I am living in this generation. It’s not easy! My husband and I are both caring for our young boys, working full time, and caring for my father-in-law. My parents are self-sufficient for now but I assume that will change sometime soon. It’s a lot!

  • Marysa

    I have never heard of this term before, but it makes sense. This is definitely a tough position to be in. I was a caregiver before I had kids, and I can’t imagine trying to do both.

  • Eileen M Loya

    I am in that situation right now. I take care of my husband who is partially disabled. I cook for 3 families – mine, my sister’s and my daughter’s. They are busy with work, and I am the only “work from home” person, and probably they think that just because I am home, I have lots of free time. I take care of a grandson too on top of all that. Exhausted is not even enough to describe how I feel at the end of each day. Ugh.

  • Ramil Hinolan

    I belong the sandwich generation. We, Filipinos are closely-knit families so we care for our adult kids and our aging parents as well. I like your last line: It’s an honor to care for family, both young and old but it’s crucial not to lose yourself in the process. I agree with this. To be effective on this role, we need a balancing act betwen personal goals and other people’s goals as well.

  • Mae

    I’ve never heard of the sandwich generation. But I know how difficult it can be to be taking care of your parents and kids at the same time.

  • Elise Ho

    This is exactly me. As our parents age, this becomes harder and harder. When we get to the age when we start losing our parents it is really quite sad.

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