What’s your priority? Your mother-in-law needs a ride to the doctor and your dad’s calling on the phone because he can’t remember that you just hung up. Last week, your older son asked if he could move home to save money for graduate school. And now your teenager needs help with her science project, due tomorrow, an hour before your board meeting.
Sounds familiar? Welcome to the Sandwich Generation. You’re part of an increasing number of Americans facing the challenges of kids growing up and parents growing older. Perhaps you have siblings who are available to share the responsibilities. But sometimes they add more complications.
These are stressful times. And who isn’t vulnerable to the unexpected twists and turns of everyday life? But it’s you who is the anchor in the family and needs to sustain your loved ones. As your well-being is critical, here are some ideas about how to nurture you:
Recognize your support. When you’re facing tough times, find a role model who encourages you. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. An objective opinion from a family therapist or life coach can provide further insight and direction. Talking with friends who understand will clarify what you need while you work through the changes. And as you step back, you’ll be able to see the situation from a different perspective.
Access your moral compass. Was it strong faith, a spiritual path or self-confidence that has brought comfort in other circumstances? Look at the ways you can continue to build on your internal and external resources. Are you fiercely curious and determined to find solutions, no matter what? Discover caregiver programs and support groups where you can evaluate options and make decisions as you deal with the family problems you are now managing.
Trust yourself. Remember that past is prologue as you prepare for what lies ahead. Look back at the strategies that worked when you dealt with major family transitions before. A positive attitude will motivate you to stay on track and gradually reach your goals. And listening to your inner voice can help you focus on what’s important as you integrate your values into how you want to live your life.
Whether you’re hit in the face with a crisis, adjusting to changes in your identity or making a slow transition to the next chapter of your life, expect a cascade of feelings – anxiety, the desire to hold on, resentment, sadness, fear, eventually a sense of freedom. The emotional roller coaster is normal. But if you find the courage, you can’t help but grow from the experiences.
READ THIS if you’re in the Los Angeles area:
KNX 1070 news radio is sponsoring a FREE Sandwich Generation Forum on Saturday, November 14, from 9am-3pm at the Burbank Airport Marriott.
CLICK HERE on their website www.cbsla.com/sandwichgeneration for more specific information.
We’ll be at STAGE 1 from 10:35am-11:05am, participating on a panel with parents and their boomerang kids . We’d love to see you there!