Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pews Survey: Our Middle-aged Children are Stressed. Just shoot me now!

Pew Research came out with a survey that even got some time on the news this morning. The big story was that a whole new generation is stressed. They have to take care of each other and it is very hard. The people stuck between their adult children and aging parents are feeling like they are being sandwiched both financially and emotionally. It sounds very familiar to me and I am 71. In other words this is not new news for me. But I do get it. Really I do. 

According to the Pew Research "... about one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child."
I think that this is the reality and if we listen to the news it is all so sad and awful. But is that right? If it is, let me say it again...just shoot me now! I am "the aging parent" part of the equation. Even though my husband and I are financially independent, the fact remains that we are parents of 3 children that are sighing (maybe) and wondering when they are going to get a break. Will they retire to a life of caring for us or have their children boomeranged back into their house? I can see how they feel...because I have been there.

The truth is that we are part of a family. We take care of each other and try to avoid being a rock around anyone's neck. For goodness sakes people, we need to begin to take a look at life as it really is. There is nothing new about being sandwiched or caring for each other or even having adult children that need our help either financially or emotionally. That is part of life. Sometimes things get worse and sometimes they get better.

I just wish that we could find a way to see all of this differently. Maybe we could rejoice in what we have. Maybe we could be happy that we are allowed the chance to be with our children and parents. Perhaps we need to take a good hard look at living on what we have, not on what we would have if we didn't have any family or responsibility or if the economy was better. 

Things are what they are. We make money, we may lose part of it, we may need to move so we can have a better job, our parents may get ill, our children may flounder. Stuff happens. I have always thought that life was not about the journey at was about how we valued the journey. It is our choice to be stressed, happy, or even a victim. I am always on the side of working hard, living with what I have and being joyful. I can honestly pull it off most of the time. That is a very good thing!

It's just a thought!

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  1. What a smart, insightful post. You are so right that life is all about how your value the journey—because that is the one thing no one, no financial meltdown, no change, positive or negative, can take away from you.


  2. It must be an extremely difficult situation to be in. People are often victims of their own charity, ending up stressed from giving all their time and money away!

  3. I think healthy giving is a good idea. Not a bailout to a grown kid who has made dumb choices.

    That said, we're all in this together. I did the thing with the elderly parent and it made all the difficult years with her somehow satisfying in the end.

  4. Thank you ladies for your input.

    Reality is what it is. There is no escaping what is so the best path is to make it a positive part of your life. Even the worst of situation can have a good result...or at least I am told that is so.

    My children have actually never ever given me any reason to feel that they are dreading what approaches. We have a philosophy that bridges should only be crossed if they actually appear. We stress about what is happening not what might. Even then we giggle a lot!

    Be well.


  5. My mom and dad took care of my grandmother for several years. My dad helped support his family when his father died while dad was still a teenager.

    That is life and what being a human being means. Parents help their kids and kids help their parents. The circle continues.


Leave your thoughts...I am interested.

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