Welcome to the Sandwich Generation

I think I can safely mark in my calendar that yesterday I became an official member of the Sandwich Generation.

My son started kindergarten and while he was there, my sister called from the hospital to say my Mother’s doctor thinks we should consider a nursing home for both of my parents.

To boot, kindergarten didn’t go so well. My son misses his preschool friends and there was a little boy with some serious issues causing havoc in the classroom by biting other children, and, I heard, even biting a teacher. My son’s expectations were dashed. He was sad and sullen when he got off what I hoped would be a very exciting bus ride home. Instead of going out for ice cream with the neighbors, he wanted to stay home and eat ice cream alone.

Meanwhile, my Mom has been in the hospital across the country since Monday. She was admitted straight from a doctor’s office appointment where her blood pressure was in the you-might-have-a-stroke-any-minute range. My Dad is completely lost without her and can’t remember where she is from one hour to the next. Thank God for my sisters who are keeping a 24-hour vigil with them. Obviously, that can only go on for so long. They too have jobs and families to attend to.

I am fortunate because I have three siblings and my parents have the financial means to get the care they need. As is my way, I sat down this morning and started doing research. I can make my plight my work this morning too, and that is a luxury few other sandwichers share.

Life gets in the way of work: Perhaps even more for the entrepreneurs who create their own destiny everyday. From our forties through our sixties American’s are sandwiched between their children and their parents and grandparents. There are tuition bills, graduations, boomerangs and births with the former and strokes, dementia, heart attacks and oxygen tanks with the later. About 20 million Americans find themselves in a similar spot. It’s difficult to keep the balls in the air and concentrate on day-to-day work.

How do you do it? Can you set aside time to deal with family emergencies? Can you put your thoughts on family aside to write proposals and attend meetings? Do you just stay up all night to get it all done? I hope sharing your experiences will be a beneficial catharsis for you and helpful to others in the same boat.

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