“Sandwich Generation” – by Lily Maino, M.S.

I’m a member of the sandwich generation. You know, the most stressed out generation in America that is trying to juggle professional careers, child rearing, and caring for our elderly parents. I’m not saying this to get your sympathy. I’m saying this because I am at a loss as to Sandwhich Generationhow to keep all the balls in the air from tumbling down on my head. In the past month I have taken my oldest son to look at colleges for next year, interviewed and researched kindergarten for our youngest daughter, dealt with three rounds of antibiotics for our toddler’s ear infections, taken my mother-in-law to the ER twice, scheduled my middle daughter for orthodontics, taken care of my husband after back surgery and all the while tried to keep my private practice afloat while I grade papers for the class I teach at a local University.
Something has to give.
My husband and I went out for our bimonthly “date” night this evening and just stared at each other. Not like we used to stare at each other but rather in that ‘hi, do I know you?’ searching sort of way because quite frankly we are ships passing in the night.
The problem is I don’t want to give anything up. I want to juggle all these balls- I want to be a dedicated and loving mom, an effective and genuine therapist, a caretaker and confidante to my aging mother-in-law, a well-spoken and organized professor, a smart and business savvy self-employed woman, a good friend and a great wife. And I admit that I want to do it all well! Not half-assed, not just get by. But really, authentically, well! I want to feel proud of the balls that I am juggling, and I’d like to look good while doing it.
But frankly, I don’t know how. I can’t find the manual. And what I do find tells me to take time for self-care. When? Between baths and feeding the dogs and throwing a load of mildewed laundry into the drier and eating my dinner standing at the kitchen counter? Where does that extra hour for me come from? I am not whining. I hate whiners! I just want someone to show me how.
I was born in the 1970s and my mom instilled this idea that I could have it all. And I want it all. I am not willing to give up on any of these roles; I have chosen this life. So, I ask you, how do we have it all, do it all, and have time to maintain our sanity and self-care?

– by Lily Maino, M.S.

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