My generation is frequently referred to as the sandwich generation, with one generation of small children at home, responsibility for caring for ailing parents, and the need to work full time in the face of pensions that have long gone by the wayside. Right now, I am a sandwich. I am THE sandwich stuffing in my family.
My dad is in failing health, with Parkinson’s. I am constantly needed for decisions, large and small. Everyone turns to me to make those decisions- my family, my dad’s caregivers, and the medical professionals who surround him. The sheer number of decisions I have to make on a daily basis is nearly overwhelming. Today, I moved him to another facility to better meet his needs. I had to decide what will move with him to his new apartment, what furniture to move, what not to move, how to store things, and even decide what he will eat, and when during certain phases of the move. Things still didn’t go as smoothly as planned, but we got the old apartment unloaded, and dad moved along with his kitties.
On the other side of my sandwich, I have four kids. I am pretty sure that very little in my house happens unless I poke and prod at it. Fortunately, I do have a spouse who is really helpful, and is quite capable of helping run the household. But there are certain things that still fall under my domain. Those things include helping my oldest daughter with her Girl Scout Gold Award, running my Girl Scout Troops, and helping my younger daughter plan and model her Girl Scout Silver Award. Since my kids are normal kids, there is a certain amount of reminding them to bathe, eat, and do things. Throw in a couple of major projects, and I have to make sure that things keep flowing, and that work continues, even when I want to curl up and go to sleep in a corner.
In the middle of my sandwich, I’ve got my job. Since I manage a group of interns and lab techs, my job is very interrupt driven. I have to poke people, and influence people in other groups help ours in a timely manner. I have to be there to watch, give feedback, gather status, and make sure that things are staying on track, much like Dad and the Kids. If I’m not there, it all seems to wait for me to come back and deal with it.
I really do feel like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich some days- with extra jelly squishing out the sides. I am a sandwich!