Sandwiched Between MIL and DIL

Mazel Tov

A post by writer Miriam Hendeles:

Today I find myself in a generational crisis.

I was born in the early 1960’s into what became known as the Baby Boomer Generation.  We boomed along for several decades, through Generation X and Generation Y.

More recently I’ve landed in the “sandwich generation,” an apt description because I often feel that way: sticky like peanut butter, mashed up like tuna fish and mayo or flattened like turkey.

And it’s no fun.

Yes, flat, sticky and mashed up is how I feel as I wonder who to please. Do I please  MIL or do I please  DIL’s?  How about both? Is that possible?

Recently, our son, DIL, and children came to visit us for a few weeks. On the way back from the airport, my mind was swirling:

Should I encourage them to call Grandma?

Or would that put too much pressure on them?

After all, they just landed.

But Grandma is probably anxious to see them. She only called three times today asking when they are arriving.

“Uh, maybe you want to call Grandma when we get home to let her know  you arrived?”

“Sure,” they answered.

But I could tell they were distracted with keeping him from wriggling in the carseat.  Why can’t I just back off? I’m treating them like babies. Let them handle their vacation time themselves.

 We get back to the house. My husband helps them take their bags into the house.  I go inside to prepare dinner. The phone rings. I see the caller ID – it’s Grandma.

Me: “Hi Grandma, yes, they arrived…..yes, here they are…they were just going to call you.”

I hand the phone  to my DIL who has the baby squirming in her other hand.

I leave the room as she speaks to her grandmother-in-law.

Being sandwiched between generations and deciding how to accommodate both parties can be a delicate balancing act.

As I gingerly un-stick myself  from the outer trappings of the events around me, I try to keep my focus. This is time to be sensitive to those older and younger than me. 

I do my best to accommodate and then let it go.  I’s really about me – the tuna, peanut butter or turkey and how I take care of myself, so I can deal appropriately with all my relationships.  Especially during the Holiday season, when the various generations gather together, I try to be sensitive to those older and younger than me.

How do you deal with the pulls and the pushes of the sandwich generation?

Are you feeling conflicted between your roles?

I’d love to hear.


Miriam Hendeles, MT-BC is a music therapist, writer, blogger and the author of a book on being a grandmother to her four grandsons,  Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby!

Miriam’s website is  MIL’s who visit that site will get ideas on how and when to speak up, keep quiet, cope, and survive in their challenging roles as mothers-in-law.  Miriam lives in Los Angeles with her husband and sons.


And check out her blog, Bubble Joys and Oys: A Place for Grandmas to Kvell, Kvetch…and Stretch.

Bubby Joys

9 thoughts on “Sandwiched Between MIL and DIL”

    1. Yup – well said, Priska. This time of Holiday get-togethers can really bring about lots of interesting family dynamics and generational “issues” (for lack of a better word!).

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