Sandwich generation: no, it’s not my mother’s or my daughter’s

The “sandwich generation” is a constantly moving target of those adults sandwiched between caring for children still at home and parents needing more assistance as they age.

Getting dressed this morning, I noticed that I first used “Not [My] Mother’s” shampoo, then I put on “Not [My] Daughter’s Jeans.” I feel well and truly labeled as a woman living in the current sandwich generation.

I dislike these brand names. Nope, they aren’t my daughter’s. They’re mine! I use the products in spite of their mildly offensive branding because they meet my needs.

I do find NYDJ denim fits me better than most* other jeans I’ve tried on throughout my life. This was especially true during the ultra low rise trend of the early aughts when I found the “pants falling down” sensation of low riders utterly unbearable.

It was also true of my teenaged and young adult self, however. I was frustrated when trying to buy stylish clothes to fit my figure before I was old enough to drive. They sure as hell wouldn’t have been my daughter’s jeans then, but they would have fit!

I used to blame myself and my “defective” figure; I’m now very well aware that the clothing itself is to blame. My figure, whether slightly overweight or at a healthy level of fitness, is exactly what it’s designed by my genetics to be, and that includes an above average abundance of hips.

Trends in preferences for ladies’ figures come and go, but the wide diversity of shapes and sizes of human beings stays more constant. It comes down to pure luck whether you are a narrow waif or a busty bombshell at the right time to rock the latest popular fashions.

My pants—and my shampoo, for that matter—are anything but generational markers. I resent this kind of marketing because it buys into and perpetuates the steady stream of bigotry that is ageism and generational warfare. It’s loathsome stuff.

How many articles have you seen recently about snowflake Millennials and their personal failings? Perhaps you’ve read a few about the entitled Baby Boomers and their legacy of poverty for the rest of us?

Sure, there are trends that can be seen, in hindsight, to identify a group in a certain time and place. Allowing yourself a similar set of assumptions about an individual standing before you is prejudice, plain and simple, and it serves no one when acted upon.

My mother’s shampoo is a very good one, and, if my hair were color treated like hers, it would work well for me, too. I share her fine hair texture, though mine is straighter.

And, if I had a daughter, she might well have inherited my hard-to-fit lower body. If so, I suspect she would be grateful to pull on a pair of jeans that didn’t gap at the waist, no matter how uncool the brand name.

I am living in a sandwich generation. For all its occasional inconveniences, I’m grateful for the gift of my children, though they do require my time and care. I’m happy for the privilege of having elders still with us to share their love and wisdom with those same kids, and with us, too, though more and more often they are turning to us for practical support.

This isn’t a new thing; it’s an ancient role. We’ve complicated it by breaking up the extended family and living in isolated nuclear bunches, but human lives are bounded by periods of frailty.

The very young and the very old are precious resources for us all. They may require more of our time and assistance, but our entire society benefits when someone makes these “sacrifices.” At its most base, this is reassurance that, I, too, will be cared for when I am no longer able to care for myself. And at its pinnacle, it is altruistic love that represents the height of human empathy, compassion, and potential for goodness.

*FYI: the vastly less expensive Riders by Lee also work very well for wide hips with a narrow waist. I can buy five pairs of the Lee jeans for the same money as a single pair of NYDJ jeans. Overall longevity is similar, though the NYDJ details are superior. Look how much better the much older stitched brand label on the NYDJ pair has held up than Lee’s printed logo, below. NYDJ also offers more and trendier styles.

We aren’t REALLY talking about pants today, but I’m always willing to share this kind of knowledge with other women seeking pants that fit.

Jeans Riders by Lee - 1

I order my Lee jeans from Amazon. Most of my NYDJ jeans are purchased from Nordstrom during the annual Anniversary Sale.

2 thoughts on “Sandwich generation: no, it’s not my mother’s or my daughter’s

  1. Sadly, we are all living, and have for many years now, in a marketing generation. That is, we are victims of marketing. And as my wife–whose first degree was business and marketing–is very fond of telling me, “Products wouldn’t be marketed that way if they didn’t sell.” So even when you and I find some marketing particularly objectionable (Abercrombie and Fitch, I’m really looking at you), there are obviously enough customers out there to make it all pay. What a depressing thought, and what does that say of early 21st century western society?

    I had a conversation the other day with a female Muslim friend, a lady who has no siblings and whose mother and father died when she was in her 20s. She is in the final year of a PhD in Canada, and contributed a thought that went something like this, “If I wear a hijab–and remember, I am single with no other family, so no immediate family is coercing my choice of headwear–I often encounter statements about male domination of a culture that most of western society does not understand. Yet I walk through the center of Toronto, and see blatantly sexualized marketing; selling everything from chocolate bars, children’s clothing, and shampoo, to handbags and designer luggage. Then I look at the clothing and the sizes women are expected to buy–sizes that will differ dramatically from brand to brand–and I see a male domination of women in the west, that is so pervasive, most women don’t even notice it.”

    She had absolutely no argument from me. At Christmas, I bought my daughters clothes from various stores, and the 13-year-old had pant sizes that ranged from small to large from two stores that were part of the same group. As a man, that has never happened to me in more than 50 years, and I’ve never been asked to buy a pair of jeans that have felt like they’re sliding down my backside.

    Nice post, thank you!

    • Worse yet is that marketing to younger men is pretty bad, now. They’re expected to meet unrealistic expectations or be unlovable, just like the girls. Eating disorders are growing at a more rapid pace in males, I think, though girls still have greater numbers. Sigh.

      We’ll just have to march on in sharing our good sense. I notice a range of ages amongst my followers, and that delights me! Let’s all keep the dialogue open. 🙂

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