Sanity for the Sandwich Generation During COVID-19

by Dawn Jacobson-Venn


I am part of the Sandwich Generation, meaning that we are caring for children as well as my elderly mom.  If your household is multi-generational, then you can relate.  This is all new to us as we moved my 90-year-old mother in with us just this past September.  There have been a lot of adjustments and learning for all of us.  My husband, Doug, and I also have a son and daughter who are both in college now.  Although they are adults, they still rely and depend on us.  After six months of having my mother living with us, we felt like we had figured out our “new normal”.  That is when the Corona Virus invaded our world.


We all had our routines and schedules.  Doug and I both working full time, both kids were studying and working at Universities.  My mom, still fairly independent, even though confined to a wheelchair, enjoyed being home alone, watching the birds in the backyard, reading, doing her word finds, puzzles, sewing projects and caring for her Yorkshire Terrier.


But now, Universities have closed, and students have returned home and switched to online learning.  Our workplace was also closed, so my husband and I have been working from home for three weeks.  The only time we go out is for food or medicine.  It is just amazing how our world and lives have changed so drastically in just a few weeks.


Today, I am claiming the promise found in Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I don’t know about you, but for me, being confined in our house with two college students, and my 90-year-old mother has been a challenge.  I praise the Lord for my husband who keeps me sane, listens to my venting and when he sees that I am worn out, or my patience thin, he steps in, making sure that my needs get met.  Sometimes he takes me out for a walk or helps me get some needed quiet time.


Many mothers would say that their sanctuary is the bathroom, a place where they can go and shut the door for a few moments of peace and quiet.  These days I retreat to the basement where I have created a workplace that is away from being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of family activity.  My other place to retreat is outside.  I enjoy doing yardwork while listening to the birds and feel the warm sun on my back.  It is during these quiet moments where God can speak to me and fill me with His peace.  The kind of peace that is described in John 14:27 (NIV), “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” This is my prayer for you today.


How are you keeping sane and finding peace during this time?  Next time I will share activities that our multi-generational household has done together as we choose to take advantage of this extra time we have together.


Dawn Jacobson-Venn, M.A.T.  And educator, and administrative assistant for the Department of Family Ministries at the General Conference.