Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The past few months just flew by - and here comes fall, with its urgent demands for focus. The end of summer always makes me feel a little nostalgic. What about you? Take this opportunity to reminisce, write down your thoughts and share your story with others.

Back to School Memories:

Ah, remember the back to school days of youth? How about taking us back with you by writing about your favorite memory? You are welcome to write about the anticipation and excitement of beginning another year, or plunking yourself down in a classroom full of strangers wearing brand new clothes all the way down to your underwear. Maybe you loved having all new school supplies, or couldn't wait to get to the playground and catch up with friends you hadn't seen all summer. Whatever it is, take us back to the good old days. Send us your story by entering our contest.

Deadline: September 30, 2007
Prizes include:
$50.00 cash and a new membership or renewal to the National Association of Baby Boomer Women. For guidelines, visit

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Despite the swift passage of time and the physical distance between us, when I visit with my older sister it's as if we've never been apart. Although I used to be the one she had to look after, we are now at the stage where we care for each other. All of our children are married with little ones of their own, and our role as grandmother has become what identifies us - in the family, that is.

But we're not ready to settle into the rocking chair just yet. We're both starting new projects at a time when we could be winding down our work lives. During the week together, at her lake cottage in Canada, we spent a lot of time talking about our work - and it was invigorating to share ideas, to give input and feedback, to get excited about the possibilities.

Do you have a sister or an old friend you haven't seen lately? With lots to catch up on, get in touch and make it happen - you'll be glad that you did.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Have you ever noticed how good it feels to reconnect with old friends - like putting on a comfortable old sweater that goes with everything and brightens your day whenever you wear it. Last week, I had the chance to spend time with one friend from grade school and then later in the week with another one from junior high school. Aside from the fact that we all look more like our mothers and less like we did as children, there is something reassuring about being with friends who knew us in our youths. Their memories validate ours in so many ways - that we were vibrant and fun-loving, that we had plans and dreams, that we had a whole, full life before we pursued a career and became partners, wives, mothers, grandmothers. There is also the assumption of trust - that an old friend, even when you haven't seen her in years, still values you and will not do anything to damage your friendship. And when you do reconnect, it just feels normal to pick up where you left off, with warmth and understanding. Undoubtedly both of you are wiser today and recognize that each of your little flaws are less important than the ties between you. So, as summer draws to a close, give some thought to the relationships of your past and see if there are any you want to nourish today.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

The comments from readers about last week's blog highlight the ups and downs of being the consummate caregiver to children, parents, spouse. Sometimes we neglect ourselves in the process. I recently experienced that first-hand as I tried to care for my recuperating husband while coping with four broken ribs - resulting from a fall while playing baseball with my grandson! Trying to do both at the same time, I'm not sure I did either one very well.

It's not easy to let go of the desire to take care of family but we should remember that we are family too. Let us give ourselves credit for what we do and, when needed, the permission to ease up and direct our attention inward. As Carol noted, "I think our family members know we're doing the best we can. We're too hard on ourselves."

What are some ways you have learned to be "kinder and gentler" with yourself?

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Friday, August 03, 2007

In most cases, the tugs on the Sandwich Generation come from aging parents and growing children, both needing attention at the same time. But this past week, I was faced with simultaneous pulls from a suddenly ill spouse and my twin grandsons celebrating their fifth birthday. I wanted to be with everyone, albeit for very different reasons, and searched to balance my time, energy and emotions between them. Of course, I wanted to be at the hospital with my husband, even if it meant just sitting there while he slept. The rest of the world melted away while I was with him. He, at the same time, didn't want to disappoint our grandsons by having me miss their birthday party. So there I was again, trying to be everything to everyone important to me - and feeling exhausted.

Then, instead of focusing on what I couldn't do, I allowed myself to feel a sense of comfort with what I was able to do. I could enjoy the personal closeness I shared with my husband at the hospital and later relish the infectious joy that my grandsons exuded. Although I couldn't be in two places at once, I could completely immerse myself in each situation, one at a time. Once I began to accept where I was rather than where I wasn't, I felt enveloped by each member of my family as I shared precious moments with them.

How have you handled these same kinds of family pulls?

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