We have received several interesting comments to our recent blogs, two of which we want to highlight today. They represent the range of issues we Boomer Sandwich Generation women are dealing with these days.
Audrey, a college admission counselor, knows that when our offspring leave for college, we parents have many reactions to the empty nest - sadness, relief, loneliness, satisfaction, the realization that our hands-on parenting days are over. We also have more of a valuable commodity, free time. She has created a program which takes advantage of the increased availability of our time, energy and interests. Through her new program called "Back to College for a Day," she has organized interesting lectures on a variety of topics by Los Angeles area professors. If you want more information about her program, set for October 27, 2007, visit her website at www.backtocollegeforaday.com.
Then there is the other end of the spectrum.
Concerning our interview with Carol O'Dell, one woman expressed the complex challenges of caring for an emotionally difficult aging mother while still trying to honor the needs of her own family. As she put it, "I feel badly for her but am not prepared to put the quality of my family life on the line."
Just as in the aptly named children's game, tug-of-war, we may feel like we are in a battle zone - pulled simultaneously from both sides and stretched to the limit in the middle. It is a struggle for each of us to sense our own breaking point – which we must do if we are to learn how to protect ourselves for the long haul. It's not easy to put limits on the connection with your aging parents, but you may need to place that relationship in the context of the rest of your life. Trust yourself as you design a plan that works for all of you, yourself included.
Let us know how you are grappling with these same kinds of issues in your own extended family - we can all learn from each other.