The sandwich generation’s Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous moms out there.

I used to have to call my mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day and thank her for her awesomeness.

20140511_154920Now she lives with us, having moved down to Huntsville from Minneapolis nearly two years ago. My dad passed away in 2002 and a neuromuscular disease has since taken a toll on Mom’s health. She was capable of living on her own, but not quite comfortable with it, hence the move to Alabama.

As a result, my husband and I are part of the sandwich generation, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a generation of people who are caring for their aging parents while supporting their own children.” We are typically in our 30s and 4os and we are a growing group.

According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent. Sound stressful? It can be, especially when it comes to child-rearing practices and politics, depending on where parent and spouse sit on this issue. 

But more than anything, it is a rewarding experience for not only mother and daughter, but son-in-law (I think!) and grandchildren. I never really knew my grandparents. Two died before I was born, one when I was a toddler and my last, when I was 8 years old.

It’s amazing to see our daughters, Serina and Sophia, interact with my mom on a daily basis. When the girls draw family pictures, “Mormor” is as much a part of the portrait as mommy and daddy.

Mom is still sharp, still drives and gets along really well with the help of a walker. At 80, she’s slowed down. Heck, haven’t we all? But she is beyond helpful, preparing dinners during our busy workweek and folding mountains of laundry. Plus, she is my biggest cheerleader.

The term sandwich generation was just added to the dictionary in 2006, but there is nothing new about multi-generational living. It’s trended before in the U.S., typically during economic downturns, and it’s a way of life in other parts of the world, including India and Asia.

It may be a novelty for us, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saying Happy Mother’s Day has never been easier — I don’t even have to pick up the phone. I just hope she knows how much I appreciate her every day of the year! Hold on, I think I’ll go tell her.

About minndixiemom

I'm a Minnesota native with an Alabama heart, reflecting on the past while looking toward the future. My husband, David, and I landed in Huntsville in the late 90s through my former career in TV news. We have two amazing girls, Serina and Sophia, whom we are raising with God's guidance and grace. Besides faith and family, my passions include writing, walking, mental health, and recovery. By day, I'm the Director of Development for WellStone (another passion), North Alabama's largest and most comprehensive mental healthcare provider.
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