Many baby boomers are finding ourselves stuck in the middle of a very tasteless sandwich. No matter which way you butter or slice it, the sandwich is very hard to swallow! Bread is dry and tasteless, the meat is old and seen better days, and the lettuce and tomato is lifeless. This usually sums up how the sandwich generation, ie, baby boomers, are feeling when they are faced with adding the care of their aging parents to their everyday life and responsibilities.
You may find yourself sandwiched between all the responsibilities that go with the lifestyle they have created – spouse, children, careers, and financial obligations and their parents or parent who are aging and requiring more of your time and assistance.
Thus you are the “stuffing” between both factions, trying to accommodate everyone’s needs and expectations. As much as you want to be everything to everyone in your life, it becomes extremely difficult as time goes on. So, is there an answer to the original question; Sandwich Generation, do you want to be a regular old sandwich or the Special Club Sandwich? It might be difficult but if you and the family work at it I think the Special Club Sandwich is possible!
Nothing is perfect, as much as we try. Be prepared to have the regular sandwich opened up by the different people in your life. They may try to pull off the tomatoes, add cheese and pickles, scrape off the mayo, smother with mustard, or even cut the crust off the bread! Yes there will be times when you feel that you are being pulled from both directions. You just need to stop, step back, and decide what the right decision is right now!
I do believe, however, that with some planning and testing, the Special Club Sandwich can be created, instead of a regular old sandwich! It will take effort on everyone’s part to make it happen and it might not be perfect. You, the person in the middle, will hopefully be less beat up and more appealing in the end than expected.
To come up with the perfect recipe:
- Be brutally honest with yourself, your family, employer and parents about what is going on right now with your life and what you want to do.
- Come up with a plan of action and meet with everyone involved. Ask for their help and support and be willing to compromise and be flexible.
- Remember there will be times when an emergency comes up and you will need to disappoint someone and they will need to understand – not criticize.
- Accept help wherever you find it.
You want to create the perfect “club sandwich” that will allow you to mix your immediate family, parents, financial, and career, a beautiful, satisfying club sandwich that can be very carefully cut into quarters and arranged neatly on a plate for everyone to share. This will be far more appealing and satisfactory to everyone involved. You will be able to spend quality time and effort on everything that needs your attention and not be pulled apart and thrown away. A perfect, tasty club sandwich is far more appealing that a regular, dry sandwich – ENJOY!