I have hand written blog entries, thought about blog entries, wanted to list a few things and say a few things but, alas, it has take a few months to do it.
I, actually, had to relearn how to post.
Well, it’s a snow day and boy oh boy am I happy about that. I’ll still run my new mom’s groups but NOT HAVING to get the kids up, ready for school, dog walked and everyone out the door (let’s add a parent-teacher meeting this morning) before 8 is a huge relief. I will also add that life has taken a way too busy turn.
You know when the baby boom media talks about the sandwiched generation? Well, here I am. Sandwiched between my parent’s declining well-being and my kids struggling preadolescence. And this is where it sits, let alone what it feels like when i project into the future and start predicting stuff.
I asked my kids, “How do you define being a grown up”? Their answers were “when you can tell someone else what to do”, “when you can do what you want” , “when you can drive”. Their answers are very reminicent. The feeling of freedom, of choice, of independence. I think as a kid I had those feelings, too; “when I can wear makeup, when I can go to bed when I want”. However as an adult, a defining moment of being “grown up” has been caring for my aging parents. Some might say that’s strange since I became a mom years befoe that happened. I had been in the work place and on my own even fruther back. The first, concrete, glimpse at being gown up, or maybe an adult in a new way, was when my mom had open heart surgery about 8 years ago. I remember bathing her and her allowing me to help. Her revealing her vulnerability and letting me assist. WOW! She let me take care of her. It was profound, sad, sweet, and moving.
Fast forward to today. My parent’s wellness is on an obvious decline. While they balance the tightrope of being able to be independent (sort of) and could easily be completely dependent on the other side. A moment, and hour a day makes the difference. As the adult child, I am needing to shift constantly. What my parent’s don’t realize is how much I do for them and how much more they need done. I have found a big part of my role with them is to care with respect. I don’t want them to think they are burdening me, I don’t want them to give up ALL aspects of independence, but there are times that they need to know this is either too much for me, or too much for them.
A great challenge to me is balancing this and the emotional (and logistical) tug of my kid’s growing needs (school, behavioral, relationships, food/shelter etc) with my parents growing needs (0versight, safety nets, backup plans etc).While my kids are entering their middle school years, academics have taken on a new look and behavioral changes or exaggerations are precarious. If you are partnered, the relationship can be strained during this time or can be a strong piece to holding it all together.
Oh, have I forgot to mention my New Mom’s Groups, my private practice, my sleep consultations work? I have really cut down on promoting my practice. I am fortunate I am partnered with some wonderful places that do the administrative pieces: the outreach etc (Prenatal Yoga Center, Discovery Programs, Wiggles and Giggles Playhouse and Bread and Yoga), but my involvement with pulling in people has had to give. I have whittled my practice down to the essence, lending support, assisting new moms and parents in identifying and building on their strengths as women, moms, dads and parents. Sometimes we just need to know we are on the right course or need some support in steering the ship from an outside perspective. well, that’s no different for moms and dads of school aged and adolescent kids, or of adults taking care of their aging parents.
Whatever adult stage of development one is in there are challenges and joyful moments. Each needing to be acknowledged for what it is (emotional, logistic, financial, pure, muddled, whatever). I need to remember that I am not in control of all things around me and that my daily life with my kids have all these components (sometimes in the moment and sometimes with some perspective) and even my relationship with my folks at this point still hold all of these components. This is what life looks like for me right now. Much I am overwhelmed by, some of which is me, some of which is the situation.
So, how do I take care of myself during all of this. It’s is very easy to disconnect, to retreat. I feel a bit flat, socially, sometimes. Like, when you are a new mom- you’re home with the baby and it’s like WHOA! How’d this happen? Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? But as you reach out to others, talk, connect, take in the support, care, love (where you can) those feeling of self appreciation and care build. So, while you still might have struggles with nursing or your baby still might not be sleeping, the support around you helps hold up and build your own self confidence.
I do believe reaching out for support and finding the right people to surround yourself with can give the journey perspective and insight. Can help build one’s own confidence and to help feel cared for (while caring for all these other people and situations). Life is messy much of the time, can be uncomfortable and can require more from you that you think is possible. I need to remember I do have my limits, I will do nothing perfectly but I can do things to the best of my ability (which has its variables).
So, perhaps if I am part of the sandwiched generation, the supports and friendships are the condiment.