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As a parent to young children, you already felt stretched thin. But then when your parents' health began declining, you somehow took “stretched thin” and made it impossibly thinner. As a part of the Sandwich Generation, those in their 40s and 50s who are caring for kids and home and parents over age 65, maintaining some balance and relaxation can seem downright impossible most of the time. Here are a few tips to help.
Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenarios
Between the check-ups, sprains, cavities, broken bones and trips to your local urgent care, comprehensive health insurance is a necessity when raising kids. Accidents happen, and you shouldn't have to stress about getting your kids the medical attention that they need. Health insurance can be expensive, so be sure to shop around and do your due diligence to find the most affordable health insurance plans for your family.
Dental insurance is another must-have policy, as a little prevention can go a long way when it comes to avoiding costly dental procedures down the road due to excess decay. Vision insurance is another option well worth looking into getting for your family if 20/20 vision isn't in your genes and you and/or your spouse wear glasses or contacts.
While many may find it a bit morbid, invest in a life insurance policy for you and your spouse as well. In the event that something would happen to one of you, a life insurance policy could provide a real saving grace and pay for everything that your kids are used to in a small effort to preserve their sense of normalcy. If nothing else it can help you stress a little bit less to know that your family would be taken care of if something happened to you.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Taking time for self-care is a critical part of being a good caregiver. Without doing so, you will burn out and not be able to do the important work of raising a family and taking care of your parents with the patience, empathy and kindness that both require.
Commit to doing something for yourself every day. It can be something small like taking a walk by yourself after dinner or a glass of wine and your favorite show after the kids go to bed or something more substantial like a night out with friends or a weekend getaway. Schedule an event in your calendar for your “me-time” to make sure that you stick to it and don't over-schedule your commitments when you are meant to be enjoying some downtime on your own.
Know Your Limits
You cannot be everything to everyone. The roles of wife, mother and daughter (not to mention, friend, employee, mentor, etc.) require a ton of work on the easiest days, let alone on the days like today amidst the mountain of obligations that you have in this season of life. While you may want to do it all on your own, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Likewise, if someone is offering to help, accept the support, even if you think you can handle it without assistance. Not only will this help you get whatever needs done in the present moment, but it can also help you establish a better support system that you can count on for more assistance in the future, allowing you for more room for balance in your life.
Above all, give yourself a little grace. Taking care of aging parents and raising a family are both hard enough on their own, let alone when you have to juggle both simultaneously. But by investing in comprehensive insurance, making time for yourself and letting others help lighten your load, balancing it all can be a little bit easier.