Survey Data: Part 2
Survey Says: The Sandwich Generation Concerns are Real!
Last week, I wrote about some factors that were NOT rated highest on our radar of concerns – namely, growing waistlines (i.e. physical appearance) and hot flashes (menopausal issues). Though inconsistent with pop culture’s perception of midlife women, these results are probably not surprising to most of you.
So, what then, are our biggest concerns? I’ll give you a hint – it’s not about us. It’s our concurrent concern for the welfare of our kids (#1 concern), other caregiver responsibilities (#3) and finances (#2), the last which undoubtedly ties into the other two. It’s the challenge of being the in the “Sandwich Generation.” We feel the physical, emotional and sometimes financial squeeze of simultaneously caring for our kids and our parents.
Regardless of whether your “Sandwich” experience is a labor of love and/or an obligation, it’s stressful, and can be exhausting. And the time and energy we give to others is time and energy we don’t have to give to ourselves.
Very recently, these concurrent responsibilities hit me hard. While I was with my very ill father in New Orleans, back home in San Diego, my daughter Tara was preparing to leave for Europe to attend University, and our dog Nola tore her ACL, had surgery (big $) and needed 24-7 care (and yes, pets also count as caretaking responsibilities). Though there was no question of where I needed to be, the guilt and heaviness of not helping Tara prepare to leave and not helping care for Nola, was powerful and distressing.
These survey findings align with my experience that us middle age women are deep and deeply caring about others. We know what is most important (and concerning) and the responsibilities can weigh on us. It’s a fascinating time of helping our kids spread their wings, bearing witness to our parents’ wings begin to falter, and feeling our own wings emerge with new strength amidst big changes all around us.
Next Up: How Do our Pre-Covid vs. In-Covid Concerns Differ? And they do! Stay tuned, same time next week.