What the sandwich generation taught me about joy, and inspiration on how to choose this essential gift. Joy unspeakable from God's Word and life experience.

What the sandwich generation taught me about joy

Ruthie Rearing 6 Comments

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I’m a member of the sandwich generation.  Ever heard of it?  It goes something like this:



Babysit 7 week old in the morning

Take 78 year old mother to cardiologist in the afternoon



Babysit 7 week old and 2 year old while the little mama goes to the dentist



Babysit 7 week old while the little mama works



Take my mother to the foot doctor



Protect the day to get caught up on – well, everything.


These responsibilities are nobody’s fault.  They’re part of the cycle of life – and a random cycle at that.  We care for our children when they’re young.  We support their efforts when they’re older, and just about the time the grand babies come along, our parents need care.


What the sandwich generation taught me about joy, and inspiration on how to choose this essential gift. Joy unspeakable from God's Word and life experience.


Important side note to the young mama:

Even though your babies/kids/teens are all up in your grill, you still have them under your roof.  You run their lives.  You make choices according to what you think is best for them.  And you have a daily schedule.  Also, you are in the prime of life, so your health is the best it will ever be (believe me – it’s all downhill after that).


This is a busy time of life for you.  But it is the BEST time of life.  Stop wishing for it to “get better” – that steals your joy!


Perspective from the sandwich generation mama

I’m not saying my time of life is not good.  In fact, it’s great!  I’m so thankful for the variety of ages and stages currently enriching my days:

My husband and I get to travel once in a while (when we plan very carefully)

My kids are making adult decisions and are headed in positive directions

Almost everyone’s  done with college (praise God #allofthecollegebills)

The Two-Year-Old Tornado is absolutely adorable with his ever-increasing vocabulary

My parents are both living (and lasted years longer than expected due to major health issues), and remain independent.


The tagline for RearReleaseRegroup.com is “Capturing joy in the transitions of parenting”, and there’s a very good reason for that.


If we wait until the kids can walk

If we wait until they’re in pre-school

If we wait until they can all feed/dress/shower themselves

If we wait until they are old enough to make dinner

If we wait until they can drive

If we wait until they are out of the house

If we wait and wish for the magical hour before we capture the joy, then guess what?


We miss the point, and therefore – we missed the joy.


Dear mom, don't wait for a magical hour to capture joy. That hour is now! Click To Tweet


Joy isn’t about being happy when x, y, and z come true.

Joy is about practicing overflowing gratitude and full-on seizing the moment while everything’s still messy.

Joy is possible, my mama friend.

And joy is now.


Six years ago when the bottom dropped out of my world and my parent’s health failed, I became frazzled and weary, inner turmoil waged – I could not order even one single day.  Not one.

A different doctor, hospital, or therapy every day for 3 solid months, and then – more doctor visits.  Power of attorney was dropped in my lap.

I couldn’t even home school my daughters properly because I was always needed at the hospital to chase down doctors, ask pertinent questions, and make decisions.


And I learned this:

God was in charge, and He had ordered my days.  So I could either choose rest, peace, and joy, or I could continue harboring anxiety and frustration.


I chose joy.

But it’s not a one-and-done deal.  I must choose joy every day.

So how about while I’m in my sandwich season, I choose joy.

And how about while you’re in your particular season, you choose it too.


5 ways to choose joy in your mundane mommy mess - Tuesday Talk Link Up! Click To Tweet


Five suggestions for how to choose joy

1.)  Spend time in the Word and prayer each day (even if you only have 5 minutes)

2.)  Seek out humor and laugh at the little things – especially with your kids and AT YOURSELF

3.)  Savor ordinary moments and give thanks for them throughout your day

4.)  Enjoy good (and fun) music

5.)  Love your people well and spend time with them 


You in?

Count it all JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  ~James 1:2-4


Featured post from last week’s Link up!


*NOTE:  Be sure to click the link to read the rest of this sweet post!

Andrea from Living on Cloud Nine has been raising teen boys for years.  As the cycle goes, she’s getting ready to let her first one fly from the nest (boy, can I relate) and, grappling with mixed emotions, she wrote this piece straight from her heart.   It’s evident from her posts that she loves her role as boy-mom and this encouraging post is for YOU, mom, because when you think you can’t do this anymore – YES you can!


Ode to Motherhood - Yes you can!


There’s no way I can have another gut wrenching contraction with no pain meds. Nope, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore! Then a voice says yes you can.

Middle of the night, when you’re rocking, rocking, rocking, and pacing, pacing, pacing, staring out the window at other quiet, dark houses and thinking, “Everyone out there is sleeping, but me.” I can’t do this anymore. Then a voice says yes you can.

There is vomit in my hair, I haven’t gotten a shower today, purple crayon needs cleaned off the wall, there is clutter everywhere, why is there glitter on the dog?, how can I get dinner ready? I can’t do this anymore. Then a voice says yes you can.

I am sitting on the floor of Target with a child who is thrashing, screaming and calling me names. I can’t do this anymore. Abandon the cart, Abandon the cart. Then a voice says yes you can.  Read more

~Andrea from Living on Cloud NineOde to Motherhood – Yes You Can!

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Comments 6

  1. I was finding myself further and further from the Word and decided that needed to stop. I have went as far as giving my son the iPad to play with for 30 minutes so I can do my daily devotional. Sometimes a Momma has to do what it takes and that was my low point but guess what? I was able to read my Bible and he got in some much love computer time. It’s a win win in my book.

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      Hey, what ever works, gal! It’s SO important to stay in the Word daily – even just a few minutes helps, and keeping those 3×5 cards handy with Scripture or even having your Bible open on your kitchen counter as a reminder to snatch a few moments now and then! Young mamas have to get inventive but God will bless EVERY little effort!

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  2. A while back, a friend gave me the book “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp during a challenging transition. As I began to keep my own list of gifts, I found that there were many every single day, even the harder days. I’ve gone to that practice a number of times and am currently keeping a list again. I think it’s a great way to be intentional about noticing and being thankful for God’s hand at work.

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      That book was instrumental to getting me back on track after the kids left! So important to develop a thankful spirit – and we have to keep practicing! Thanks for your comment, Rachelle! Intentionally thankful – I like that!

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