Just when you think you’re free of the little kid stuff, you discover big kid stuff…and I-don’t-want-to-be-a-parent-to-my-parents stuff.
Like more than 30 million women in the US today, I’m a baby boomer/sandwich generation mom. The baby boomer part is obvious: I’m 53 years old (50 being the new 30 does help when I have to tell my age). The sandwich part comes from the experience of being torn – smushed, some might say – between the demands of my children and my parents, both of whom need help, support, time and attention. Of course, that discounts the pressures that come from other sides, like career and a husband, friends and some sanity, “me time” that I’ve learned I need to survive. It’s all part of the juggling act that women my age face today.
It’s not all bad. In fact, it’s wonderful to watch your children emerge as adults. It’s awesome to add new little lives to the family, too. Somehow your heart just continues to grow in amazing ways as you find room to love these new little ones, and new older ones, too, as your children form significant life relationships.
It’s gratifying to be at the point in your career where you can begin to count achievements, and see the results of years of hard work. My relationship with my husband is strong and vital; our friends share history and significant parts of our life story.
But the challenges take their own shape at this stage of life. Shifting from mom-mode to friend-mode is tough with adult kids; shifting from child to helper to your parents is even tougher.
We look our own future directly in the face as we watch our mothers age, become dependent, and then die. It can be brutal and incredibly painful, especially when we see so much of ourselves in their eyes.
It’s a part of the journey of life. I’m convinced we can learn, grow, bloom and thrive even when feeling like the PBJ sandwich that got run over by a truck.