Learn how to balance work and your children in this Parenting advice video series.
Host: How do you balance time between work, caring for children and possibly caring for others, too? Dr. Diana Zuckerman: I think one of the toughest things is when for those of us who are part of the sandwich generation where we have parents or other relatives that need help as well as children that need our attention and it can be very, very difficult to try to balance or juggle all of those responsibilities. You love your parents, you want to help them and they maybe getting increasing helpless as they get older and they may need you sometimes more than your children do. On the other hand it's an interesting thing. Children don't see it that way. Children think they should come first and they don't really understand the idea that an elderly parent or grandparent may need as much attention as a child does. So, there is no magic to that. The best way to deal with it is to talk to your children about why you are spending so much time with these other relatives and make sure that they know that doesn't mean love them less or care about them less but only that you love them but you also love your parents or these other relatives and you want to make sure that they are safe and make sure that they are okay. I think, in most cases, parents are much more understanding of that. They are usually much more understanding of the fact that their children need to have children of their own that they need to take care off. But sometimes even if they are understanding of it they can't help it. They need a ride to the doctor and they can't go there themselves or they are rushed to the hospital, what are you supposed to do or some other emergency. So there are times in people's lives where it's just too much to take care of a parent, take care of a child and have a job and those are some of the women particularly who are most likely to say, I just can't work fulltime anymore. I have too much else going on. But all the same principles still apply that you need enough sleep to be functioning. You need time for yourself to relax and you need to figure out what's possible in your life. What can you do reasonably and don't be yourself up for what you can't do.