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 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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true! It's so hard to be there for everyone. When my mom, who suffered from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's moved in with my family and I, my husband and I had to take turns going to church, the movies with our kids, attending our daughter's swim meets, school functions, and even dr. visits--so one of us could be home with my mom.

My husband was amazingly patient and kind. (I despised him for his nobility at times:)

I think our family members know we're doing the best we can. We're too hard on ourselves.

What helps me are a lot of "self-talks." Sometimes I write myself in my journal, "Dear Carol." It helps to go into that third person place to tell myself something. I'm usually kinder with myself, more understanding. It may sound crazy, but it helps.

Thanks for your wonderful blog!

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of MOTHERING MOTHER: A Daughter' Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir.
Available on Amazon and in most bookstores.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My parents don't live with us but they are not well.Our son has needs and support that we may not be able to give him,we will try but it won't be enough.Then there's us; My partner has health issue that will not get better as she ages.Our financial picture is glim indeed but we march on.We look for the little things that happen,positively every day.We derive some little joy which for the moment allows us to forget our problems.

9:59 AM  

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