It’s time for 'National Give Your Adult Daughter a Break Week'
Strolling through Heinen’s the other day I was surprised to find a 4-year-old girl roaming the store by herself. I peered around the corner behind me and saw that all was well; her mom and grandma were just an aisle behind her.
It’s a regular sight these days – the multi-generational shopping trip – and if there were a club for its practitioners the logo would be a mom face-planted near the dairy section, with Gumby arms stretched halfway up adjacent aisles by a toddler and a grandma.
These are perilous times for so-called sandwich moms, in large part because their own moms don’t understand what the big deal is. The Big Deal is that 1978 Mom and 2018 Mom are as similar as a Ford Country Squire and a Mitsubishi Outlander.
1978 Mom worked hard too, but almost exclusively in the home. Her daughter, 2018 Mom, often works outside the home AND takes care of her kids.
1978 Mom lived before the breathtaking advances in healthcare over the past several decades. Which means not only that 2018 Mom’s own mother is living into her early 80s on average, but also that there are vastly more doctor’s appointments and procedures.
1978 Mom lived in a time before there was so much danger for children, enthusiastically featured every night on the local news, and ricocheted around the globe on Facebook. So 2018 Mom lives in constant fear of what could happen.
My own 1978 Mom could send us out for the day at 10 a.m. to ride our bikes, via Bradley Road, to swim in ANOTHER CITY. Or release us into the neighborhood without a worry.
2018 Mom’s children can’t leave the yard without a note. Which means if Mom’s home they’re checked on hourly, then shuttled around to practices, play dates and scheduled activities – unless Grandma needs a lift to the ophthalmologist.
The good news, of course, is that multi-generational life is a wonderful thing. My wife and I marvel at the enormous gift of quality time our kids have spent with all four of their grandparents.
A day rarely passes when I don’t see a grandpa and his granddaughter at her school play, or at the mall, or walking in the neighborhood. Millions of American families are enjoying the richness of multi-generational life.
But it's 2018 Mom who holds it all together. Her kids are at the kitchen table every morning and night. Her own folks are in a nearby town waiting for her to call or drop by. Everybody’s reaching for those Gumby arms.
So today I’m proposing “National Give Your Adult Daughter a Break Week.” I encourage all 1978 Moms to give their daughters a hug, and stealthily slip a gift card for a massage, a Casa de Chardonnay dinner, or some free babysitting, into the right rear pocket of her 2018 Mom Jeans.
Mike Nock is the founder of Thrive Westshore (thrivewestshore.com), which enhances the lives of retirees living at home.