Caring for your children while also assisting your elderly parents with day-to-day activities can be tough for the so-called “Sandwich Generation,” those caught in between their kids and their aging parents. Between the after-school soccer games and frequent geriatric appointments, the role can be physically and mentally exhausting. Here are four tips for balancing what’s on your plate.
Ask For Help
Ask your siblings or your parent’s younger siblings for help. When responsibilities stack up to impossible heights, you shouldn’t be too proud to ask others for help, especially from family and relatives. Give them several days’ notice before the actual day when you need the extra pair of hands. This gives them enough time to make changes in their schedule. Being clear with your needs helps establish expectations removing any gap for miscommunication and more frustration.
Organize What You Can
Organization is key to transition from one task to the next smoothly. It helps you tick more boxes on your to-do list and avoids any rash decision-making. For instance, meal prep for your kids’ school lunch every weekend, so you only need to reheat a few minutes before they leave for school. Another time-saving hack is to organize your parents’ clothing into pairs or complete attires that match their fashion sense and size. Doing online ordering with pickup is a lifesaver
Remember to Breathe
Caring for both your kids and parents shouldn’t be considered a crisis unless there is an immediate or imminent threat that involves possible injury or even death. Rather than be stressed about the responsibilities in front of you, take a step back and clear your head. Use deep breathing exercises and meditation to pull back to your “center.” You should also encourage your kids and aging parents to take the same approach.
Don’t Submit Yourself to Guilt
It’s a normal response to be guilty when you miss your kid’s dance recital or are unable to visit your parents for weeks. In times when your energy and time are spread too thin, there is nothing wrong with saying “no” and having a breather. As long as you prioritize tasks that are directly connected to their health and well-being, you should not mind giving yourself some time off. Create your own mantra to draw upon when negative thoughts consume you.
While being a good parent and a good child are roles that everyone aspires to, don’t forget to take a break; otherwise, you put yourself at risk of burnout.