July is National Sandwich Generation Month – a cause for honoring and celebrating!
Y’all, we made it another year!
Those of us caring for children and parents simultaneously – The Sandwich Generation – have hopefully made it to another year with our loved ones. I have done it for eight years now, and while the task can seem daunting at times, I think the reality is the thought of losing a loved one can be just as daunting. So we do our best daily, and for that, we should celebrate ourselves and each other!
What is the Sandwich Generation?
The Sandwich Generation was coined in the early 1980s (why does that sound so long ago?) by a social worker named Dorothy Miller to describe women in the Baby boomer generation caring for both parents and young children. The term has since grown to include women and men, a wider age range, and those caring for older adults and younger children. Many additional factors contribute to the more inclusive use of the term in this generation, such as smaller family sizes, women delaying childbirth, more women having full-time careers, and a longer life expectancy for most Americans.
Yay for us!
Let’s celebrate another year of us! We are figuring out insurance, enrolling kids in sports, learning about Medicaid, figuring out our own lives, and coming together in Facebook support groups to find encouragement. However we do it, we get it done!
It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be pretty, but we do it. I am celebrating us today and all this month. Happy Sandwich Generation month!
Please go love on yourself in some way. Take a long bath, walk in the park, or just get some sunlight today. You deserve it!
I think one thing that many of us have in common is that we have consistently taken on the task of caring for another adult without much help from others. Sometimes this can take a toll on our own lives and our own health, relationships, and careers. However, if possible, take a break this month and give yourself the grace to do a self-check. During my own self-checks, I’ve learned it’s okay to destress, it’s okay to ask for help (even if it’s paid help), it’s okay to dismiss others’ opinions if they are not helpful, and it’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes.
Remembering those honorary members …
A lot of people have shared their experiences with me dealing with sick parents, and I very much appreciate all who have shared their stories. Unfortunately, many are speaking in past tense. They have lost a mother or father, and as they encourage me, they also reflect on the life of a lost parent. I remember you all as well.
I would encourage you to shake off any regrets. You did your best, and even when you didn’t, that’s okay because no person is perfect. I wish you all the best in processing your grief, and I hope you can use it to fuel a better self or to encourage another caregiver.
No matter where we are on our journey, we must celebrate ourselves this month – and always! Celebrate the sacrifices we’ve made and the lives of those who depend on us!
Happy Sandwich Generation Month!