Carers caught in the sandwich generation

No time for Dad, an SMS will have to do.

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I write this the day before turning 45, wow, 45. Surely by now I?m meant to have more answers than questions? I expected I would have the day to day in hand with a clear direction on how to make the most of my decades of experience at both work and home.

Why is it then life often feels more like I live in a tumble drier hooked up to a V8 supercharged engine driven by Mad Max himself? I know I shouldn?t complain, and I feel guilty for even putting this in writing as in reality, thinks are pretty darn good. I live in a lucky and relatively safe country, have family and friends that care, and enough money to enjoy some amazing adventures. ?I don?t have so much that I ever take them for granted.

The issue is?time. When did life get so incredibly busy? My parents worked hard?at work and?home and their tough grind laid the foundation for a good work?ethic in my?sister and I. But they didn?t seem to be as frantic as my generation?are.?Growing up Dad left at 6:47am to work a 6-day week, he is a creature of?habit.?On Sunday he worked hard on the house we moved into when I was two?where he?still lives today, and with the time he had left, we socialised with?friends or?played tennis. He somehow even found the time to help the?community with his forty-year?commitment to the Lions Club.

Mum who sadly?passed away some years ago after a marathon battle with?cancer was very present?with us. She worked part time but was not expected to?contribute financially?giving her the freedom to dedicate time to be there every?step of the way for?us growing up. Having said that she wasn?t driving us to?activities seven days?a week, leaving time for us to ?just be? and utilise this time?to do something?creative and fun TOGETHER.

Our life is just?so different. Co-parenting, my wife and I running our own?business to afford?our mad lifestyle whilst finding time for everything our kids?may want to do?day in and out. Yesterday, my ‘Daddy Day’, is an example of?this, up early?walk the dog, rushing them to grab dancing bag, bathers and?guitar before?school to ensure when I leave work early to pick them up I have?time to make?their engagements. I?ve worked out if I pick my son up, I have just?enough time?to take him for a swim to improve his fitness for basketball before?picking up?my daughter from art, with just enough time to get my son to singing?before?dropping my daughter at dancing before getting home, finishing school?projects,?eating dinner and getting the kids to bed so I can get back into work?as a?result of leaving early. My wife does this the other 4 days.

The reality is?in trying to deliver every opportunity for our kids, I fear we don?t?actually?spend enough quality time with them.

What will they?think when they are 45 looking back at their childhood. Dad and?Mum were there?every day although they always seemed busy and stressed!

Will my son end?up playing NBA for all this effort?.of course he will. Will my?daughter be?invited to join the Australian ballet, who knows if she will still enjoy?dancing next week???I have this nagging?feeling the joke is on us.

Speaking of Dad,?in all this rushing, when do I find time for him? Not for charity,?I genuinely?want to and should.

He is living by?himself and keeps busy, but I?m sure he feels like a third wheel at?best, and?the nights he spends alone must be difficult, he can?t even use Netflix.

Fast forward?fifteen years, heaven forbid after all this rushing my kids can?t find?a night?or two every month to hang out with the old man, assuming I haven?t?burned?myself out and been committed to an asylum. If life keeps accelerating,?who?knows I may be lucky to get 10 minutes of FaceTime or VR time or?whatever is?going to be the norm to make us feel connected with no time in the?future.

I think we are?all aware of the treadmill, the question is how to find balance???If I?had time I should sit down with Dad and?actually ask his advice, nah, I?ll just text?him, I don?t have the time.


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