Are you a member of the “sandwich generation”? I still have kids at home, but I also have my own parents to care for sometimes. Though they’re barely in their seventies, we’ve still dealt with some emergencies.
In the midst of the Thanksgiving holiday my mom had a scheduled surgery. We knew there would be several days of hospitalization, but we didn’t expect the complications that followed. Between the drive back and forth to the hospital, working and trying to keep my own home intact, I AM TIRED. I’ve been at the hospital so much I’m starting to feel like a nurse! But when I felt like I couldn’t go on one more minute, I forced myself to stop and think about the advice I would give my best friend if she were in my situation.
Breathe. Don’t let yourself get so wrapped up in things that you go on auto pilot. Sitting silently for a few moments and taking deep breaths not only relaxes your body but clears your mind and allows you to focus.
Find your comfort. I have my husband and children for moral support, but my personal comfort and peace within comes from much prayer. For you it may be a warm relaxing bath, snuggling with your baby or listening to soft holiday tunes.
Delegate and accept help. Not only am I trying to be present for my mom, I want to be there for my children as well. I am relying on my husband to do things I normally do. Some guilt goes with it, but I have learned to let go. He took them to the choral concert at school, and I drove myself there just in time to hear my daughter sing. Then I left and crashed on the couch! This weekend, my girls are learning to make a menu and prepare two meals each.
Take shortcuts. I love to do things big at the holidays: get everyone together to take the family photo, send out cards, make cookies. This year, I simply haven’t the time or the energy. When I ran in the store the other evening, I went for the refrigerated cookie dough so we can still have the fun of decorating them together!
Sometimes life gets overwhelming and we have to focus on things other than the fun stuff. But by slowing down, simplifying and taking shortcuts, we can still enjoy quality time with our families.