Local Heart, Global Soul

March 7, 2013

The Art and Chemistry of Life… The Sandwich Generation…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Life in the Kiwidutch household in recent months has been more than hectic.

Himself,  as a self employed free-lancer has been inundated with work at the same time as I have recovered from a chest infection, started several simultaneous courses at work that require study at home, am cleaning out and packing for a work office shift (just down the hall but still an upheaval), keeping up to date with my regular work whilst also starting actual case work in the areas I’m training in.

After an uphill struggle and with the assistance of the union, I am now working two days from home, except for when there are meetings at work and some days my diary has been packed with meetings.

Most of my department are in the same boat concerning the course work and suffering from information overload… in the short term it’s exhausting but I also know that times change and our work and methods of work need to also change and keep up. Maybe later in the year when the initial shock of the sheer volume of change has worn off and I am more confident in my brand new work, it will be easier, but for now I’m more than a little brain dead after the working day.

Physiotherapy is going well, bones are still not fully back in place in my foot but the muscles holding them are getting measurably stronger so progress is slow and steady. When the surgeon warned this would take years, he wasn’t joking.

If I can accomplish several exercises successfully several times in a row in the next weeks,  I will be able to graduate from a single crutch to a walking stick… a milestone I’ve had in my sights for a while now.

Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter have busy lives full of play-dates, school work, sports and other activities and then there are the Birthday party invitations, sleepover requests and activities at home like baking,  arts and crafts.

Extended family commitments are there too, my Mother in Law is now 90 years of age, and requiring more and more assistance: this generally falls into Himself’s lap since I am unable to drive and do MiL’s shopping etc.

We have friends and family with children and never pay for babysitters: rather we operate a network of give and take, little cousins at ours whilst their parents attend important function, our kids to friends whilst Himself and I enjoy a rare dinner out at the home of a boss of an Agency who supplies Himself with work, and then we had their baby at ours when they needed to attend a funeral.  We wouldn’t manage to attend any adult social event without this network.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s an excellent way to interact and help one another and we love it, all of it, but sometimes when we look at our week and weekend schedule there is barely a space to draw breath. I know this is a common problem of modern life, especially in families like ours who are the “sandwich generation” looking after parents as well as kids.

Often we get things in the house done in fits and starts as we go through phases that range from being super organised like a military organisation to semi-controlled chaos where we barely keep up. The super efficiency usually happens as a knee-jerk reaction when the chaos threatens to become catastrophic and sadly never lasts because we always have way too many balls in the air and are lousy jugglers.

If we let something slide then it waits until it gets urgent before we are spurred into action and other stuff gets elbowed further down the list to accommodate it and so the cycle continues. It’s the reality of modern family living I think  and many parents can relate.

What stuns me most of all is that I am not one of these so called “tiger mama’s” who’s kids have activities very day of the week: we believe in our kids being kids, having time for fresh air and exercise, our kids get to play and unwind before dinner (we take turns to cook, do laundry, sort school stuff for the next day, or supervise/play with them whilst they are at home or in the park etc) and there are still not enough hours in the day. Forget TV, we barely watch it, no time. I have no idea how these “tiger” parents and their kids actually fit all their extra stuff in…

Is life really so much busier than a generation or so ago? Certainly I don’t remember ever having the sort of schedule my kids currently have… I was much freer to roam and play on my own (or at least it seems that way looking back) and any activities I had (when I was older) were generally within walking distance. Don’t get me wrong .. I’m not complaining… we are grateful for having  kids, grandparents and jobs,  life would be infinitely less full without them. We want them all, but having them all is also a huge undertaking and responsibility.

I just wonder if  life in general has become overly busy? Have our workplaces become more complicated too?  I’m not entirely certain if technology like computers, emails and the like have actually made my work easier or busier or both. Is this just us?  Just my specific culture? or do those of you with school aged kids experience this too?

If anyone has recommendations on how to stretch the day past 24 hours I’d appreciate tips… every now and again it would mean I could actually tick “complete” to  almost everything off the days list.


  1. I recently read that if you are too busy to take time out for quiet and rest, then you urgently need to take time out and rest.

    The days just fly past and I’m nowhere near as busy as you, so I don’t have anything helpful to say. Maybe I should have saved my time and commented on another blog instead 😀

    Comment by The Laughing Housewife — March 7, 2013 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  2. I was a young mom in the 90s, just as our techno age was beginning to burst open; I had two jobs, a kid to raise on my own, school — and still it was not as hectic as family life has become these days.

    I think the benefits of technology — freeing us up to do things faster — are offset by our feeling that we’re therefore not doing enough, and that we have to constantly keep up. It’s like “keeping up with the Jones’s” on an international scale. Plus, although the Web has opened up the world, we feel obligated now to be in the know about everything. (We even start to feel guilty if we haven’t blogged in several days — even though blogging is supposed to be a leisure activity!) I think the sandwich generation is on overload, technologically speaking.

    Comment by Luddy's Lens — March 8, 2013 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  3. Living alone with no spouse or kids to deal with and a relatively small circle of friends I find myself with a fair amount of free time so I can’t help you there!

    I did want to say, though, good luck with the walking stick goal and ditching the crutches completely!

    Comment by Carrie — March 16, 2013 @ 1:58 am | Reply

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