I am a card-carrying member of the Sandwich Generation, which simply means that I take care of my home and kids as well as coordinating care for my aging mother. After performing this juggling act for over ten years, I believe I am some-what of an expert in the area of balancing a multi-generational family.
Taking care of multiple family members can be a challenge so I offer you this list of tips for your diverse family management:
- Recruit. Consider hiring a responsible teen to run simple errands such as picking up supplies, groceries or prescriptions.
- Keep the kids busy. If you anticipate a busy day that may be focused on your parents, set up a card table for your kids in an out of the way location. Provide puzzles, games or crafts to keep them busy while you get your “parental” work done.
- Use your timer. Instead of getting lost in your tasks, use your timer to remind you when it is time to stop.
- Barter. Consider setting up a babysitting trade with a friend. Keep in mind you will have some uninterrupted time when it is her turn to watch the kids. You can use your free time to take your parent on an appointment.
- Map it! Before venturing out on your errands, map the route or consider a good phone navigation application.
- Accept the offer. If your parent offers to lend a hand to lighten the load, take them up on it! A parent can clip coupons, fold laundry or chop veggies for dinner.
- Work ahead. Make multiple meals ahead of time and freeze. This will save you dinner prep time when you have had a long day!
- Travel Box. Create an errand running travel box to keep in the car with small toys, crayons, paper, dry erase boards, markers, etc. It will keep the kids occupied if you have multiple stops to make.
- Choose a day. To make scheduling easier, select one day to devote to senior appointments. I used Tuesdays as my dedicated “mom” day, taking her to the senior center, doctor or hair appointments.
- Take a break! Schedule an appointment to be kind to yourself. Have a manicure, curl up with a good book, take a 20-minute cat nap or enjoy a warm bubble bath.
What systems do you use to keep your busy family balanced?
Photo Credit: mollyelliott.
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