As we celebrate national Women’s History Month this March, it’s a great moment to take a look at all of the pressures and pulls on women’s time and energy. The pandemic has exacerbated the “typical” issues facing the sandwich generation by creating even more challenges for women, in particular. This should no longer be called the sandwich generation for women, but instead, the club sandwich generation.
The Sandwich Generation
This clever term refers to the generation (consisting of women, in most cases) being caught, or sandwiched, between kids who are struggling financially and need help and elderly parents who are also struggling and need help. These simultaneous burdens on women during the pandemic have heightened their financial and emotional stress.
Women, in greater numbers than men, have had to take off work to care for kids who couldn’t go to school; take off time from work to care for their adult children returning to the nest because they may have lost their jobs or became ill; and also, take time off to care for and take parents to doctors.
Why the Big Deal?
It’s because the real “meat in the sandwich” (women) are worried about not having enough “bread” to support all the generations relying upon them for financial help. The pressures mount as life shifts. People are living longer, which is great, but that also means that elderly parents may need more help for a longer period of time. That translates into the sandwich generation often having to give up their work to care for their parents. The sandwiched women may be raising their own younger kids, and then couple that with their older kids moving back home, and we have a recipe for real financial burden.
The big deal is that women are still the caregivers, in most cases. They are pulled in too many directions. As discussed, the pandemic forced many to leave the workplace to handle all of these circumstances. Many moms are single and are under even more pressure.
What Can Be Done?
Take a Deep Breath
The first thing to consider is to try to balance all of your obligations and try not to be stretched so thin that you burn out because so many people depend upon you. Although it may sound impossible, you need to even schedule a daily “time-out” for yourself to take a walk or to meet or Zoom with a friend. Once you do, you’ll be more “present” to help the others in your life.
Have the Talks
Talk to your kids …….