Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sandwich Generation

I don't have a Thanksgiving recap for you.  I actually didn't even get a picture of Heath on Thanksgiving.  I did get one the next day, but even then it wasn't one of all three of us.  I wish the reason was because we were busy living in the moment and just enjoying our time as a family of 3. But that's not what's going on in the Hassler household.

Michael and I are experiencing a sandwich generation problem right now.  I didn't even know what that was until a couple of weeks ago.  Basically it's when you are taking care of elder relatives while also taking care of your own children.  Usually this happens with people in their 50's when they are taking care of their elderly parents and their almost grown/grown children.  We are definitely an exception....

Michael's mother has suddenly and unexpectedly had to move in with us.  And it's not a "oh, she's moved in for a time but at least she can help with the baby" situation.  We are providing care for her.  No, she isn't that old, but she is sick.  I'm going to be really honest about it.  Michael's mom is having mental health issues.  She had to go to the hospital and was then released to our care.  She can no longer live by herself because the doctor does not want her to drive and she needs a lot more care than that.  We cook, clean, prepare meals, etc for her.  To say this is challenging would be a HUGE understatement.  In addition to all of that, she is not mentally we never know what is going to be done or said.  For the dignity of Michael's mother, I am not going to go into details on the internet.... but just know it's no walk in the park for anyone. (She doesn't want to be living with us either, so we're all unhappy.) A lot of days it feels like we have a baby and a toddler. 

This is just a temporary situation, we are looking into a retirement facility for her, but we don't know how temporary.  With the holidays and this happening suddenly, it's taking us some time to look at places and decide on the best option.

One of the hardest parts of this is the lack of privacy and normalcy.  She is in our house 24-7 unless we take her somewhere.  Her condition also causes her to not sleep well, so she is usually sitting in our living room when I get up, when I get home from work, and when I go to bed.  It's an introvert's worst nightmare!  Michael and I don't get a lot of alone time.  (So, remember my post about the challenges of being a mom and wife, when now imagine how much more challenging that got.)  When we do have alone time, we are both so tired or spend that time talking about what we are going to do next.  We don't get those fun "family of 3" moments that I have enjoyed.  This holiday season is going to pass us by without a lot of those memories.  I don't even think we are going to take Heath to see Santa or attend any holiday parties.  It's just all I can do to go to work, take care of Heath, help take care of Michael's mom, and keep my sanity.

It's also hard to do so much for someone that's an adult and you think "should" be able to do it themselves.  I don't mind doing everything for Heath, he's a baby, an adult is completely different.

I could go on and on and on.....  but it won't change the situation.  We just pray for Michael's mom to get better, for Michael and I to weather this storm together, and to get our lives back to normal soon.

So that's me just being real about life. 

1 comment:

  1. It may be worth looking into a day treatment program where she can spend some time away from the home and so you get a break.It's definitely hard helping someone with mental illness because it is a 24 hour thing (especially if they aren't sleeping) and when they don't want the help. My thoughts are with you.