3 Tips for Thriving in the Sandwich Generation

Sandwich GenerationI am part of the sandwich generation, looking for balance in my personal and work life. I run my business from my home office, but that in itself can host a number of challenges. Being a daughter, wife, mom of 5 and grandmother of 5 means that I get personal calls or texts at least once or twice a day. Which hat do I wear and when?

At a recent training event I asked the question, “How do I balance it all”? I was waiting for word that my step-father had passed away, knew it was only a matter of time. I knew I needed to be there for my Mom. My brother had carved out time from his busy schedule to be with Mom while I attended this long anticipated training class. I also homeschool my children, my older kids are active and it is challenging to be there for them. Oh by the way I have a wonderful husband, am active in church. Both of our mothers are aging and have special needs. Can you see the plates twirling in the air? My mind was on overload!

Sandwich Generation Problem!

Suggestions were made, helpful suggestions. BUT, I have a problem…a big one for me. I will be working on a project and humming along nicely when XYZ calls and tells me there is a problem. I automatically switch into problem-solving mode, Lisa to the rescue! The call concludes and I should switch back to the project I was working on before but instead I am trying to solve the problems of the world and completely neglect the project at hand. I am working on this but as a product of the Sandwich Generation I find it hard!

What is the Sandwich Generation?

The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people usually between 30 – 50 who are responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents. I clearly remember my Mom dealing with us as teenagers and dealing with her aging mother. At that time she had just recently reentered the workplace. It was stressful for her.

Entrepreneur Paula Boylan is a Bliss Guide and writes?

I had lived through 6 years of immersion in what is known as the sandwich generation. I was exhausted and really down. With 2 adolescent children at home, and a full-time job, I helped my parents with all the details inherent in the final years of life. Cancer treatments, nursing home placement, burials, grieving, and executrix duties had taken their toll. I began to question all the egotistical things which seemed so important.

She now works with people dealing with the trauma of being the sandwich generation. In her recent podcast she discusses ideas for getting clarity in a crisis. She recommends grabbing a journal and answering the following:

  1. Is this really still a crisis or has this situation become chronic?
  2. Why am I still so invested in this situation?
  3. Is there another who could take some of this responsibility?
  4. Am I doing more that I need to do?
  5. Is there a healthier way to see this situation?

To listen to Paula Boylan’s Bliss Cast Life is What Happens While You Are Busy Making Plans click here.

Can the Sandwich Generation Balance it All?

I believe we can balance our lives as we let go of pre-determined expectations. It is hard work but take a deep breath, really take a deep breath … let it out … read on!

#1 Accept the decisions you have made.

To me this is most important step. Accept decisions you make without rumination. Don’t compulsively go over decisions made and revisit them. Those decisions are made. There are always consequences to actions, accept that and move on. It is so easy to wallow in the what ifs. That is a waste of our time and energy. If you made a mistake, acknowledge the mistake, accept it as a breakdown and turn it into a breakthrough.

#2 Weigh the needs.

I live by the mantra God, Family, Business.

  • My faith is important to me. It is the basis for my world view and how I run my life.
  • My family is my rock. I know from loss that my time on earth with loves ones is finite. I want to enjoy every moment that I can with them. My family knows that hugs are a natural part of my day (and an occasional back scratch is added bonus).
  • My business has given me the independence to say no to things that do not align with my life. Letting go of those things can be extremely difficult and does not always profit my business but then I remember #1. Accept the decisions you have made.

#3 Don’t Do it All!

As much as I try I know I can’t do it all. I look at my weaknesses and try to find support in those areas. Can someone else do this job? I didn’t ask if they could do it exactly the way I want it but can they do it? My almost 13 year-old’s responsibility is to clean the floors. I had no idea when we installed hardwood floors that they would have to be cleaned every single day (sometimes it should be done more often). Yikes! Through teaching him how to do a job well I am letting go of something I don’t need to do. We have to have occasional discussions about dust bunnies under the chairs but it is his responsibility. Do you have tasks that you can let go of?

My goal with my business is providing like-minded entrepreneurs with business services that help them balance their life. I want to partner to create a business system that allows flexibility in their lives and a peace that everything is handled. If you are looking for a partner in your business to help with administrative overload, contact me today and bring some balance back into your world.

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By |2018-08-28T14:46:46+00:00March 27th, 2014|Operations Management|Comments Off on 3 Tips for Thriving in the Sandwich Generation

About the Author:

Lisa Olinda is the Chaos Whisperer. She takes chaos and turns it into gorgeous, productive harmony. We all have chaos in our lives. Embrace it. She is a wife, mom, grandmom, and world-class operations manager.