For the women who are the meat in the sandwich there is a flow on effect for their emotional and mental and physical health. Our fast paced world is already stressed. The “sandwich generation" feels this stress acutely.
Many people, particularly women, feel that they are the meat in the sandwich. The demands on their time, strength, emotional and mental energy are pulling them in many directions. There are the demands of a busy lifestyle – with many women caring for their own children while working part-time or full-time. On top of that, many women are needing to care for ageing parents. Some also have responsibilities with grandchildren. Nearly one in 4 (23%) people aged 20 to 34 continue to live in the parental home.
Not only does this create pressures on time, but for many this means financial burdens as well. Extra petrol for travelling between homes, extra food for parents who can no longer cook, extra chores to care for those who cannot cope on their own, the need to work fewer hours to give more time for caring… it all adds to the burden.
In the past things were different (although not always easier). Many people had families living within short travelling distances, if not within their own home. There seemed to be wider network of support.
For the women who are the meat in the sandwich there is a flow on effect for their emotional and mental and physical health. Our fast paced world is already stressed. The “sandwich generation” feels this stress acutely.
So how can the church help?
Firstly, many people in the church are part of his sandwich generation. They need people who will allow them to talk about their feelings and to pray with them and for them. They need understanding that they may not be able to commit to as many activities as they had previously, and reassurance that they are still a very valuable part of the Christian community. Often people are excluded from church activities because organisers assume they are too busy. Carers can begin to feel undervalued or even cut off.
There may be an opportunity for people in similar situations to get together to share with others who are struggling with the same issues. We are commanded in Scripture to love others, honour our parents and care for our own families. For those in the sandwich generation, the following of these commands can consume huge amounts of time. It is helpful if others can attempt to understand this, rather than coming across as judgemental of those who may have to miss some functions in order to do what needs to be done.
Jesus does understand the pressures of life. He too has felt the pressures and demands on his time and energy. He knows what tiredness is like and he knows what it’s like to be misunderstood. Jesus also knows that a lifeline is our relationship with him. He wants to give us his strength, his love and his wisdom as we deal with each of these situations. He knows that when we are stressed and also vulnerable and can easily turn away from him. The writer to the Hebrews put it this way in Hebrews chapter 4 verses 15-16 “we do not have a high priest unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Jesus is the one who see what you are doing, knows you need his help and loves you deeply.