Who's Making My Sandwich?

Sandwich Robert Walker

Oh, right, I am. Because I'm in the Sandwich Generation, and today, I'm kind of annoyed by it, so I'm putting extra Russian Dressing on my Ruben. (Half corned beef and half pastrami, grilled and not microwaved).

I don't always feel this annoyed by it, though. After all, my blessings are numerous. I'm a mostly stay-at-home mom with two healthy, hilarious boys who are almost 3 and 5. They're cute, they're smart, we live in a nice home, we live in a great city, and have lots of friends. On these days, a PB & J is fine. I'll even settle for bread and butter.

But keeping two rollicking boys on point when we need to go to get boots, snow pants, jackets, hats and mitts on just to walk out the door can get kind of taxing, especially once they learn to start pushing your buttons. And then need to go to the bathroom. Then, oops, have an accident. At those times, a PB & J is fine, but I want freshly ground peanut butter with that lovely huckleberry jam from Montana.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I moved my father to Toronto, where we live. He and my mother are divorced, I'm an only child, and he's aging quickly, so I wanted him to be close. We rented a small apartment about a mile away, and set him up with what he needed.

I'm already doing 10 loads of laundry each week, so another 20 items of clothing aren't going to make a difference. I'm also already planning meals for four, so factoring in one more person for leftovers isn't difficult. And cleaning up, dishes and garbage removal are my current hobbies. So what's the problem?

The problem is that no one is taking care of me.

My husband, who is a more wonderful husband and father than I could have ever hoped for, is at work every day. He's supportive of what we're doing with my dad, but at the end of the day, it's my father and not his. And between his job and our home life, he's at capacity.

Today I asked my personal-trainer friend, "I'm feeling resentful that I don't have any personal time. I feel like the three mornings a week I have when my kids are both at school and I exercise should satisfy my need for personal time, but it doesn't. Does exercising qualify as personal time for you?"

"Oh no," she replied matter-of-factly. "It's something I have to do. It's good for my mental state, yes, but it's not time for 'me.'" I groaned. If exercise didn't qualify for my friend, it never would for me.

I asked another friend with small kids: "How much personal time do you get a day, or a week?"

She replied: "Every evening, once my kids are asleep. I turn on the TV and have one glass of wine." In other words, she switches off.

I realised there's only one solution to my problem: Asking my mom to come for a visit to take care of me. And while she's here, have her make me a sandwich. Please.