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Your Idea of a Healthy “Work Life Balance” is All Wrong

Based on all the things I post on social media and all of my endeavors (parenting, fiance-ing, work, blogging, hair tutorials, documentary filmmaker, etc), I am often times ask how do I manage to balance it all. In fact, I’ve been listening to more and more podcasts about women, specifically women of color who are entrepreneurs, and that is always one of the first questions (if not THE first question) during an interview. “Such and such, how are you maintaining a healthy work/life balance? What are some good tips?

First and foremost, there needs to be some clarity around what a healthy work/life balance actually means. More specifically, what the word “balance” means. We tend to assume that balance is equivalent to 50/50 when in actuality, there is no such thing. As much as I love Teddy P and his jam, “When Somebody Loves You Back” (also known as 50/50 love) I don’t find that equation to be relevant… at least not today. AND that’s not a bad thing either.

Lemme explain.

This concept didn’t become real into me until I was knee deep in college and parenting at the same time. I would always feel guilty because I either felt like I was focusing too much on my studies and not enough on my daughter, or too much on my parenting and not enough on school. It wasn’t until I got to graduate school that I truly understood my journey had to be walked a day at a time – and not feel bad about it. Some days I had to put myself in a zone and pull some late nights while Addy entertained herself and we ate fast food because I didn’t have time to cook. Other days I said “ta hell with class” and slept in or picked Addy up from school early so I could spend some time with her.   

I carry that concept universally now. It’s relevant with all of my identities – all of my endeavors. When my hours at my 9-5 get to be hectic, I pull back on one (of my many) creative projects until the tasks are complete. For example, rather than writing 3 blog posts this week, I may only write one to make sure I at least put forth some effort and to stay consistent with my writing altogether.

On days I know I need to film, I try to schedule those days with space in between so my daughter isn’t always away from me (she not ready to be on set yet lol). This works for me.

So how do I manage a healthy work/life balance? I understand that 90/10, 80/20, 70/30, & 60/40 mean “balance” too – not just 50/50. Some areas will get a greater percentage out of me on some weeks than others. I accept that because that is where I am.I’ve learned to accept my “W’s” as they come. I may not cook a nutritious meal for my household everyday but I guarantee you they never go without a meal – whether it’s made by my hands or picked up from the drive thru. I may not be further along with my film than I originally wanted to be but I’m gaining more and more skills by the day.

We tend to get all bent out of shape and frustrated because we feel our efforts or inadequate and half-ass. We set ourselves up with unrealistic goals from the jump and get upset when they aren’t accomplished in the way we originally intended. Ultimately, there is no such thing as 50/50. You do the best with what you have when you have it and you get real honest with yourself.

Just don’t tip the scale over.

 

-iAM

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