Family Relationships

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

We spent an exciting day Friday at Book Expo America, mingling with authors, publishers and consumers. What a joy to meet with creative women who are sharing their thoughts with all of us. More to come later on the evolution of our own book.

For those of you who are mothers-in-law, our message this week has been that your married children's lives are moving forward and so can yours. Focus your energy on taking care of yourself rather than on controlling your married children and their spouses. This is a new chapter in everyone's life. You can best serve your emerging relationship with them, and your own personal growth as a member of the Sandwich Generation, when you choose to enjoy your new role of mother-in-law.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Here are some more ideas for you Sandwiched Boomers who are about to become mothers-in-law. To be a MIL your daughters-in-law will want to talk with:

Begin to build a personal connection with your son's wife. Take this chance to enjoy each other as you share activities and experiences. Carol found that, "just going shopping together brought us new feelings of camaraderie. We could be focused on the hunt instead of on the tensions between us."

Place more value on the relationship than having your way. Don't hold it against your daughter-in-law if she doesn't see the world from your perspective. You can have more enjoyment as a mother-in-law by relinquishing power. Recognize that this is not a "zero sum game" - that is, there is not one winner and one loser - and you can all take pleasure in each other.

Share your frustrations with your life partner. When all else fails, and you are at your wits end, find support from your peers. Ann acknowledged, "Whenever I get angry about the relationship with my daughter-in-law, I call my friends. I don't feel so alone because they have some of the same problems. Commiserating takes off some of the pressure I feel. They really understand how it is to, all of a sudden, be totally out of the loop."

When you give your daughter-in-law the space - and place - she deserves in your growing family, you can all enjoy each other more.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here are some of our tips to help to you Sandwiched Boomers who are taking on the new role of mother-in-law after a wedding this June. Any of you who are old-hats at this, please share your ideas and comments with all of us.

Be sensitive to your new role of mother-in-law. Competition may surface with your daughter-in-law if she experiences you as supporting your son while they establish the ground rules in their own relationship. Help out when you can but don't overstep your boundaries. Debra learned "Even though I am very close to my son's wife, I wait for her to call me. And that has made all the difference."

The more you know about your daughter-in-law, the better it will be. Learn about her likes and dislikes. The average age for marriage in America is now 25 for women and 27 for men, so she has years of personal history to share with you. Get to know her and find out more about her childhood and relationships with her relatives. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and remember them.

Choose your battles. Be patient and let go of issues that are not crucial. Laugh to yourself about some of the petty concerns. Sandy related, "At first I was upset that my daughter-in-law never asked for any of my recipes. But then I realized that I didn't want this to turn into a 'food fight.' I could learn some new techniques from her and just enjoy her for who she is.”

What kinds of experiences have you had with your daughters-in-law? Let us hear from you!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now that June is fast approaching, and with it the wedding season, are you looking back and remembering what your friends told you last winter? When your son popped the question, the congratulations from them included some advice about the wedding: "smile, shut up and wear beige."

Your son's marriage, soon to become a reality, brings with it a whole new set of Rules and Regs. How, then, to take on your new role without giving up your true self? As a member of the Sandwiched Generation, you have become experienced at balancing everyone else's needs. Now think about how you can find the equilibrium for yourself between your role as involved, engaged mother and deferential, respectful mother-in-law. Can you rewrite the definition of a "MIL" without becoming the Mother-in-Law from Hell?

We know you can do this! As a Baby Boomer, you came of age during the sexual revolution, juggled career and family, broke new ground for women, enjoyed the role of superwoman. Come to this new learning experience with the same gusto you brought to those challenges. If you don't want to walk on eggshells around your daughter-in-law for the rest of your life, tune in tomorrow for some tips to help you transition into the Mother-in-Law your growing family will admire and love.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Our Virtual Book Tour with Amy Sherman yesterday was lively and the questions from our readers all had a common theme. How do I maintain a positive attitude when facing health and relationship challenges - my recent MS diagnosis, constant back and knee pain, the stress of aging, a Father with Alzheimers moving in with my family, the loss of my husband?

Amy's responses were consistent and right on. While validating each reader's concerns, she also had practical suggestions - educate yourself about the problem, reach out for support, work on changing your mental attitude, don't self sabotage, get help from experts, take control where you can, make effective choices.

So take Amy's advise. As you ease into this long weekend, remember that you don't have to let your challenges define you. Relax, enjoy your family and make sure to take some time to nurture yourself.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

We welcome Amy Sherman, author of "Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer's
Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life," to our virtual book tour.

Amy, how did this book come about?

I developed 10 strategies 29 years ago when I was pregnant with my son and found out I had Crohn's Disease. The devastating news sent me on a negative spiral of depression and fear. However, after reassessing my situation, I realized that I had a great deal of power over how I could handle this health crisis.

It took a lot of determination, faith, inspiration, support and specific techniques to turn my health around and I have used these tools ever since. As a boomer, facing many other challenges now, I knew how effective these techniques really are and wanted to share them with others who were dealing with changes in health and professional or personal losses, such as the empty nest syndrome and aging parents.

How is "Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer's Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life" different from other inspirational books?

This book addresses the specific issues and concerns boomers face and how they can overcome them. It does this by examining the fears, self-defeating thoughts, inhibitions and doubts that keep boomers from reaching their full potential. The 10 strategies are reinforced by exercises at the end of each chapter and are enriched with valuable insights about taking personal control and responsibility for one's own life.

What are the biggest mistakes boomers should avoid?

One of the biggest mistakes is self-sabotage. Boomers tend to sabotage themselves by their negative thinking, worry and fear. How can you achieve what you want, when you fear failure or doubt your potential? Another big mistake is taking life too seriously. Laughter and humor are free commodities that diffuse negativity, boost your immune system and reduce stress. Many people forget how important that is.

What is the most important thing boomer women should
know to keep them motivated and inspired?

Boomer women need to remind themselves of their own significance and value. As they age, their roles will change, but they can reinvent themselves at each stage of their lives by making new and exciting goals that are based on their passions. Women need to know that anything is possible if they keep their focus on what they want and that everyone deserves to feel joy and happiness.

Thanks, Amy, for talking with us today. To learn more about Amy's work and her book, go to And please click on "Comments" below, follow the instructions, ask Amy your questions and share your comments.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An AARP representative, interviewed on the Today Show, highlighted the financial pressures on the Sandwich Generation - struggling to pay for their kids' college education and, at the same time, helping support their aging parents. That's another concrete reason why you may be fighting inertia. Read on for some final tips on getting started again.

Make a public commitment to family members who want to see you succeed. By telling others about your intentions, you create a stronger reality that will keep you feeling motivated. Engage friends in your pursuit of getting into better shape – talk with a friend at work and make a pledge to hit the gym together three times a week.

Notice and savor your newfound power. Positive reinforcement is a major tenet of any behavior modification program. So reward yourself for a job well done - choose an activity that nurtures you, like a massage or a trip to the spa. This sort of attitude will sustain you as well as promote greater self care – and as your goals take shape, you'll shape up.

Take it slow and easy. With so much on your plate, it's normal to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. If some days you make plans and can't follow through, don't let frustration sap your enthusiasm.

Remember all those New Year's resolutions you made when you were younger and didn't know better? And think about the inertia that followed the failure of your short-lived goals. Don't fall victim to that kind of logic. Look well beyond the present moment – and resolve that you are making progress, that you are getting closer to your goals and that every day is a new opportunity.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Continuing from yesterday's post - if you're a Sandwiched Boomer in a rut, what follows are some more ideas to help you fight inertia.

Create weekly or even daily to-do lists. For example, if a regular exercise program is your ultimate goal, begin by penciling in a 20 minute walk twice a week after carpool or during your lunch hour. Organization and planning may sound like dirty words. But the more you concretize what you plan to do, the greater the chances are that you'll follow through with your intentions.

Lower your expectations – and, for sure, don't expect anything near perfection. Actually, there is no perfection, so relax. Start out small and accept baby steps. If Aunt Bess has moved into the nursing home across town, your only choices aren't either to go daily or not at all. Pile the kids in the car one Sunday a month and enjoy an hour in the park with her and your family.

Give up the pleasure principle – that is, having exactly what you want when you want it. Next time you eat out, instead of finishing up with apple pie a la mode, visualize a thinner you in that little black dress at your upcoming 30th high school reunion. Delaying immediate gratification for future goals will lead to your feeling better about yourself and will nourish you way beyond your last bite of dessert.

Tune in this Thursday when we'll be featuring Amy Sherman, licensed therapist and author of Distress-Free Aging: A Boomers' Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

On almost a daily basis, as Sandwiched Boomers, you are bombarded by a variety of tasks involving aging parents and growing children. You're also balancing a myriad of responsibilities at home with those that confront you at work. And that's without mentioning your ongoing commitment to stay healthy, lose weight and exercise regularly. Just thinking about your hectic lifestyle can stop you in your tracks.

If you find yourself in this predicament and are feeling the time crunch, join us over the next few days - we're going to give you some practical guidelines.

First of all, take a deep breath and let go of negative thoughts about yourself in relation to getting stuff done. Actively dispute the notion that you are lazy, apathetic or can't get a handle on the process. Choose a simple affirmation or a mantra that rings true for you - such as, yes I can - and repeat it often, out loud and with conviction. Give yourself an emotional break and watch what happens.

Make a start, any start. Buy a journal or borrow one of the notebooks your son isn't using and do your homework. Write out some specific goals and break them down into smaller, more manageable short term objectives. Reflect on their purpose and what that means to you. Consider the character strengths and personal resources you have that will help you achieve your goals.

Click on "comments" below and follow the directions to share your thoughts - let us know about the affirmations that work for you and the goals that you are setting.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Your relationship with your mom is likely to be complex and full of twists and turns, evolving over the years as you change. One Sandwiched Boomer ruminates about how she transformed her connections with her mother.

When Agnes was a teenager, she felt that her strong mother was trying to control her. She looked forward to getting out from under her thumb and moved across the country when she married and raised her own family. They maintained their connections but at a distance.

As her children matured, so did Agnes. She began to see her mom as a person, not just as her Mother. Agnes recognized that she admired and respected many of her mother’s characteristics - her sense of responsibility, her independence, her humor, her common sense. Warily, Agnes began to approach her mother more and more as an individual. As she did, she was able to reach out to her and forgive her mother for the way she had treated her before.

Asked about her aging mom's final years, Agnes related, "After she had a stroke, I moved her into our home. She lived with our family until she died. It was hard on everyone but we all became closer and I began to understand her even better. I wouldn't trade that year for anything."

As you in the Sandwiched Generation continue to build bonds with your mother, savor these moments. Reflect on your feelings from the past and cultivate rich memories now to sustain you in the future.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

We have been talking about Mother's Day all week and now here are some more suggestions for you Sandwiched Boomers as you continue to deal with the complicated relationship with your aging mother.

The old fashioned art of letter writing can help you develop a closer bond with your mom, even after all these years. Write her a letter about how grateful you feel to have her as your mother. Sharing these feelings increases good memories about the past and leads to greater personal satisfaction for both of you.

If you have some old, unpleasant issues to work out with your mother, you may be able to move forward in addressing them by writing her an apology letter or a letter offering forgiveness. When you apologize, you free yourself from shame or guilt and your mother from dwelling on anger or resentment.

When you forgive your mother for some past transgression, it doesn't necessarily excuse the action, but does free you from ruminating about it. Forgiveness releases you from the past; it is a gift that you give to yourself.

Tomorrow, we'll share a story with you about how one woman in the Sandwiched Generation grew and forged a new bond with her older mother. You can think about it as you write your own story.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

With Mother's Day celebrations just three days ago, how can you in the Sandwiched Generation set the stage this year to let your mom know that you care about her more than just during those 24 hours?

The gift of time is one of the most precious presents that you can give your aging mother. Spend some quality time with her talking and reminiscing. Look through old family photographs and ask her to tell you stories about when she was a young girl. The time you spend with her now will sustain you both.

Make your mom feel more valued by concentrating just on her - plan a date with her for lunch or shopping. Let yourself become absorbed and delight in these pleasurable activities. Pay attention to the details. Talk about what you are doing, appreciating and enjoying. Linger awhile in order to make it last.

On some of your visits do a chore to ease her burden - go grocery shopping together, accompany her to the next doctor's appointment, cook a delicious meal with enough left over for the next day.

Come back tomorrow and we'll give you Sandwiched Boomers some more bite-sized suggestions for nurturing your mother.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You may have sent flowers, candy and greeting cards to your mom on Mother's Day but, as Sandwiched Boomers, we recognize that what aging mothers really want every day of the year is to feel nurtured.

Ellie's mother, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, no longer recognized her. Ellie felt very sad but resigned. "Mom is so sweet, even if she doesn't know who I am most of the time. It's now like I’m her mom and I feel good being able to help her when I can. I just want to get her the best care possible." Ellie’s attitude helps her understand the changes in her mother and plan what to do now.

Baby Boomers recognize that aging is a natural progression and a normal part of the life cycle. But just as it is difficult to accept your own aging, when you witness your mother regressing, the facts of life provide scant comfort. Acknowledging your mother's decline in well-being, becomes the first step in your plans for realistic long-term care for her.

Research shows that money, title, or good health has less effect on life satisfaction than strong personal relationships. So now that Mother's Day is over, make a commitment to do what you can to improve your relationship and give your mom and yourself positive memories. Tune in the rest of this week for six tips to help you get started.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

We hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day and were able to connect with your family members.

We are happy to announce the winner of our Mother's Day contest. Here is the winning essay, written by Sheri Fisher, who will receive a spring bouquet to enjoy, compliments of and

"My mother has been gone now for twelve years, but the most significant thing I think she taught me was to be independent.

When I was growing up she always worked at an outside job. Therefore, I was left on my own a lot to fend for myself, whether it was making my own lunch, or just entertaining myself. As a child I always resented the fact that she was never around so that we could develop a relationship and talk.

As I got older and married, had a family, divorced and remarried, moved to another city all by myself to develop a new life, remarried again, one day I had a light bulb moment! I stopped those old tapes in my head about how I was left on my own so much as a child, how my mother was never there after school with the homemade cookies and milk. I realized the fact that because she did teach me to have such independence, I was able to carry on in my life the way many women of my generation could not have done, such as moving to a new city all by myself without knowing anyone and building a whole new life, traveling to Europe alone and having a new adventure and loving it. Things like that were only possible because I was, and still am, so independent.

I wish my mother was here today so I could tell her how much she actually did for me and to thank her and tell her how much I loved her and can now appreciate what she did for me."

Sherri responded to our award by writing: "Thank you so much for this honor. I am very excited about winning the essay and the bouquet. Thank you again and I wish all the mothers in the world a very Happy Mother's Day."

Stay tuned in for more information about our upcoming Father's Day contest. You'll have a chance to honor your Dad and the lessons you have learned from that important man in your life. We'll announce the winner in our free newsletter, Stepping Stones, and here on the blog next month, where we'll publish her essay. And our champion will again receive flowers from us. So send us your reminiscences about your Dad and what he taught you. Email us at

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Friday, May 09, 2008

The interview with Anne Kreamer, author of "Going Gray," yesterday was lively and generated a lot of pertinent comments. Both poles were well represented - all the way from I color my hair because it makes me feel younger, looks better, keeps me competitive in the marketplace, my husband loves it - to it costs less, is who I am, saves time, makes me feel good, attracts attention.

Anne Kreamer, in reply, said...
I appreciate all of your comments and find the exchange interesting. I have to say, Fran, that I am not at all surprised that you feel the competitive need to dye your hair. Ageism is real and even though my research revealed that we don't actually fool anyone about our biological age by using hair dye, as a society we have collectively agreed to pretend to believe the illusion. And work is the place where the rubber really does hit the road. Until lots of senior executive women keep their natural hair color, it will be a challenge to anyone in a high visibility position to buck convention.

As for advice for a man who is losing his hair. I'd suggest doing what Bruce Willis and Michael Jordan did -- shave it. I imagine the first few days would be shocking but then I bet you'd like it. And worst case scenario -- you grow it back and keep what you've got short.

Finally, I think that all women of every skin and hair type can look fabulous with gray hair, but it requires thinking about clothing colors and make-up differently -- you might need to brighten a lipstick or pick a more vibrant color closer to your face to offset the pale hair color.

So no matter whether you color your hair or go au natural, we send very special wishes and celebrate all of you on Mother's Day.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Anne Kreamer, author of "Going Gray," is our guest on this Virtual Book Tour. Welcome, Anne! We know that this interview will get a lot of you thinking first thing this morning, so let's get started:

What made you decide to stop coloring your hair?

A friend sent me photographs from a trip we’d recently taken and in one of them I was standing with my sixteen-year old naturally blonde daughter and a good friend with gray hair. I was in the middle with a harsh and dark brown hair dye and when I looked at that photograph I realized that I didn’t like the way I looked. I saw that my face and hair no longer really jibed with each other.

How did you decide to go about letting your hair grow in?

That was the hardest part of the whole process. I was fond of my shoulder length hair and didn’t want to get a buzz cut and start fresh, so I went to my colorist assuming that we could just start to pull the color out. But unfortunately it isn’t simple so simple. If you don’t want to cut your hair short, the best route is to add different kinds of highlights to blend in with your roots as they grow out as well as a toner that can help to blend in the various colors

How long did it take?

From start to finish it took me about 18 months to get rid of all of my color. And some days it was a challenge – about mid-point I felt like I looked like an old crazy kind of bag lady. My hair was brittle and sort of unkempt looking and I finally decided to cut about four inches off. It was wonderfully liberating. It felt as if I’d cut off my old and disingenuous dyed past and was ready to look to the future with a clear eye about my age.

What made you decide to write a book about the experience?

My usual way of making any kind of big change in life is to tell as many people as I can what I’m intending to do, and then I have to follow through. So I suggested that I write a piece for More magazine about the experience. And when More got the most letters from their readers about my piece they’d ever had I thought I’d touched a nerve that was worth analyzing in greater detail.

What were the issues that you’d uncovered while your hair was growing out?

I discovered that I was worried about whether I could ever be attractive to men in the same way with gray hair as I thought I had been with my dyed brown hair. And when I began to talk with other women about my experience I uncovered that worry about their loss of attractiveness is perhaps the single greatest fear almost all women feel as they get older since gray hair is our most visible signal of age. Women were also terrified that they would lose professional opportunity if they were perceived as old.

How did you go about getting at the underlying truth or issues behind those fears?

I did several different things.

I talked to as many different kinds of men and women as I could – from well-known people like Emmylou Harris, Anna Quindlen, Frances McDormand, Mireille Guiliano (French Women Don’t Get Fat), Nora Ephron and Governor Ann Richards to regular people I met across the country. I conducted a national survey of 500 people probing all sorts of issues around aging and the things that we do to mask the signs of aging. I used myself as a guinea pig in a variety of situations – I pseudo-dated on-line, went out to bars, interviewed headhunters and met in cognito with image consultants. And I read everything I could get my hands on.

What surprised you the most?

You mean after I figured out that I had spent $65,000 on hair color alone during the 25 years I dyed my hair? (That $65,000 would today be worth $300,000 after adjusting for inflation!)

Wow! But yes, beyond that statistic.

What most surprised me was discovering that when it comes to letting their hair be its natural gray, or not, I think a lot of women tend to be worried about the wrong thing. I certainly was. More women are more worried that men won’t find them attractive with gray hair, and yet believe that gray hair is acceptable professionally. My research revealed that the truth is the opposite.

What do you mean?

Well, for instance, I tried to really get at whether gray hair was unattractive to men on I figured if I was honest about my age and interests and posted an image of myself with gray hair that I’d naturally get fewer “dates” (or “winks” as overtures are called on than I would when I posted the same information but instead used an image of myself with my hair Photo-shopped brown. And shockingly, after I did the experiment three times in three different cities, three times as many men in New York, Chicago and L.A. were interested in going out with me when my hair was gray. This blew my mind. When I was on Good Morning America, they replicated the experiment with a 61-year-old widow in Florida and she had the exact same results! Maybe men figured that if we were being honest about the color of our hair that perhaps our lack of pretence would make us more accessible and easier to date. Or maybe the gray made me stand out from the overwhelming majority of Match-com women my age who color their hair. I honestly don’t know. But I do know the results were inspiring. We should give men a lot more credit.

Did you test this theory in the real world

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I went out to a variety of New York bars (from places where Wall Street guys would hang out to the kinds where locals went to watch sports) and once again I was really surprised by how it seemed that my gray hair color did nothing to prevent me from meeting and talking with nice-looking younger guys. Most women I talked with during research for my book were convinced that if a woman had gray hair and then got divorced that it was absolutely essential that she dye her hair if she were ever going to date again. I strongly believe that that is not the case. And moreover, I would suggest to most women that if the guy they’re interested in will only like them if they dye their hair, then maybe he’s not Mr. Right.

Was there anything else that supports your contrarian point of view?

The results from my survey were compelling. There is a huge double standard. Through a Photo shopped experiment I also tested precisely how much gray hair aged a person and what I discovered is that if a person is in their 40s or 50s, gray hair allows others to accurately guess a person’s age. When I Photo shopped the gray hair out with brown, the person was guessed to be about two or three years younger. Which seems like a modest difference to work so hard to achieve. I think the reality is we are only fooling ourselves about our age through the use of hair color.

So what was the story professionally?

I interviewed different media headhunters – one in New York, the other based in Colorado and both said that they had neither a female client nor a prospective job candidate with gray hair. They went into real detail about how gray hair was consistently viewed as a signal that a person would not be “right” for most company cultures. And they suggested that if a woman were in sales or marketing allowing herself to go gray on the job would be the kiss of death.

You didn’t expect this?

I met with these women assuming they’d tell me that if I wanted to get back into the corporate arena then I’d have to update my image and dye my hair. But I didn’t expect them to be so emphatic about how damaging gray hair could be to a woman’s career. What I’ve come to believe is that we need women in prominent positions (say, Hillary Clinton) to have their natural hair color in order to give other women the choice or option to dye or not to dye. In my mind it’s like baldness was for men before professional athletes like Michael Jordan or actors like Bruce Willis made baldness seem sexy and masculine. If there were more Emmylou Harris’ the choice would be easier.

What about the image consultants?

I was completely taken aback by the image consultants. I met with three very different people and firms and in each instance they believed that my gray hair could be a professional asset – something along the lines of the way Meryl Streep looked playing the character, Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada. The main thing I learned from the consultants is that if you change any one aspect of your look, then it is important to modify everything else to bring out your best features. I needed to update my style and color palette.

What about men?

I interviewed a lot of men for the book and with the exception of a writer living in Hollywood, all of the men claimed to be indifferent to the color of a woman’s hair. If a woman is lively and interested in what they are saying and seems to take care in her personal appearance, then hair color was irrelevant to the men – and they are so worried about going bald that the color of our hair never entered the equation!

And I’ve been thrilled by the number of men who have written to me since the book was published telling me that they’d bought it for their wives, or mothers or sisters. They hoped that by reading the book the women would come to understand that men like women just the way they are.

Unfortunately, I also discovered that men are the next market segment that the cosmetic companies are targeting for hair color. The female market is practically saturated so men are the only growth area left. It’s a scary thought.

And did you find any differences with people from other countries?

I interviewed Mireille Guiliano, the author of the French Women Don’t Get Fat books, and also several other European men and women and, not surprisingly, found that Europeans in general have a greater tolerance for a wide range of what women can look like as they age.

Where did you end up? Do you disapprove of people who dye their hair?

I certainly don’t disapprove of people who dye their hair – after all, I’m a very recent convert to my natural color. And I no longer work in a corporate environment so I have the luxury of feeling safe and comfortable writing at home by myself with my gray hair and I’ve been married to the same man for 30 years. But I did come through on the other side happier and more at home in my body than when I dyed my hair. It feels liberating to walk down the street and know that as much as possible I’m projecting pretty much who I am to the world. I love not spending the time at the beauty shop and I really love not spending the money.

I feel like I’m a better role model for my daughters and it seems like my husband finds me as sexy with my natural hair.

I also discovered through my research and reading that acknowledgement of your real age is one of the most important tools we have to increase the odds that we’ll age healthfully and happily. Several studies have clearly indicated that people who accept their age actually live longer. So I love that by choosing to give up one little piece of artifice I might actually be helping myself stick around longer for the grandchildren I long to know.

Thanks for taking the time today to inform our readers, Anne. I went gray a couple of years ago and I had lots of ambivalence before I took the plunge. So, Sandwiched Boomers, I know you have some questions and concerns. Anne will be checking in throughout the day - so here's your chance - just click on "comments" and fire away.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Barack Obama has found his voice again - asking the voters to embrace change, even if it is coming from an imperfect messenger. And after Hillary Clinton's very narrow victory in Indiana yesterday, and despite her expressed determination to continue the fight, the political pundits are all but declaring the race over.

Think about how you deal with a difficult situation, as Sandwiched Boomers, when the outcome is inevitable and ultimately you have no choice but to let go. You may be facing the end of a role you took for granted or the control you once had. Every loss, even a symbolic one, needs to be mourned – such as the marriage of your child, which signals the end of your own youth, or caring for an aging parent, which triggers the fear of being a burden to your children.

During a time of loss and grieving, some emotional, physical or behavioral reactions are normal. You may find that you're angry, feel anxious or sad, perhaps even depressed. Without your familiar comfort zone, it’s difficult to be grounded. There can be changes in familiar patterns, like how much or little you sleep or eat. Or you notice a difference in your ability to focus or concentrate and to remain interested in activities or others. If you're not at ease with yourself, you may withdraw or avoid social situations altogether.

Any major life change is challenging and transition is always a process that takes time and patience. But know that what you are experiencing is common and normal, for you and for Hillary Clinton. And, with a positive attitude, there are many hidden gifts to be found along the way.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

As Sandwiched Boomers planning your family's summer vacation, does Clinton's proposal of gas tax relief go to the heart of the matter or seem like an emotional ploy to garner more votes? And has what you've heard from Obama this past week made up for some of his former pastor's remarks?

Today may very well signify game change or game over. Instead of taking the race all the way to the convention, let's hope the Democratic party begins to unite behind one candidate for President. It's time to focus on the issues that matter.

Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, you're entitled to understand the candidates' positions on your deepest concerns - health care, education, housing, jobs, food and gas prices. As members of the Sandwich Generation dealing with the challenges of growing children and aging parents, what matters most to you? Now is the time to let your voices be heard.

Be sure to log in on Thursday for our Virtual Book Tour - featuring Anne Kreamer, author of "Going Gray."

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Monday, May 05, 2008

The North Carolina and Indiana primaries are on Tuesday and the stakes are high. There's a lot of speculation about the potential outcome but trying to read the tea leaves may be an exercise in futility.

The mantra has been "Hillary can't win," because of the numbers, because Bill put his foot in his mouth one time too many, because she'll go to any lengths in order to get the nomination, because too many people just don't like her. Yet Clinton has stayed in the race and, by not giving up, has recently had a string of wins. She is busy raising more money, winning respect and gaining momentum.

When Reverend Wright's attitude went from wounded to arrogant, it hurt Obama's campaign and "yes we can" was called into question. Pundits wondered how he would unite all Americans with such fierce loyalty to an Afro-centrist church. As he tried to focus on the issues important to voters, rather than the media frenzy, eyebrows were raised about Obama's ability to handle the tough times. Yet he hung in there, stayed calm and on task, eventually speaking out strongly against Reverend Wright.

As Sandwiched Boomers, you have so much life experience under your belt. So - when you're in a race that is too close to call, what personal qualities allow you to pull ahead? What kind of lessons have you learned when certain loyalties brought unexpected consequences? And what have you done to help turn the tide?

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Friday, May 02, 2008

With Mother’s Day coming next weekend, this Sunday marks the end of our contest honoring motherhood and the nurturing women in your life. You still have a chance to tell us about the most significant lesson you have learned from a special caring woman – your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt, daughter, favorite teacher, mentor. Just email us at and tell us why this woman had such a meaningful impact on you.

We will publish the winning tribute here on our blog and also in our May newsletter - and reward you with a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers! Visit our website to sign up for your own copy of our free newsletter, Stepping Stones. And happy Mother’s Day to all of you Sandwiched Generation Boomers.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day has arrived and with it the promise of spring and renewal. It brings with it memories as divergent as dancing around the Maypole with other young girls in the fourth grade to seeing the parades of Red Army soldiers marching to glorify the now defunct Soviet Union. We have, as the Chinese put it, lived in interesting times - whether that be a blessing or a curse.

As a Sandwiched Boomer, change and transition are an integral part of your life as you cope daily with aging parents and growing children. Does your load feel lighter as the days get brighter and longer? Arrange to spend some more time outdoors as you breathe deeply and let the warmth of the sun soak in. Pick up your parents and bring them with you and your children to visit the park - they will both enjoy the connection and the freedom that the open spaces allow.

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