The Coronavirus has given many us an opportunity to pause and think about life, our purpose, and even the right work life balance. What’s your perspective and has it changed over time?

Alicia Stemper | Owner & Maker at Wondermint Goods

Like I’m sure most mothers would say, their view on work life balance likely changed the moment they became a mother. My story is no different. I worked a traditional and fast paced career in advertising before heading off to start Wondermint Goods. I truly loved that job; the people and the work; but the hours and flexibility were pushing me every day towards burn out. I constantly felt that I was failing at one role at any given point; and unfortunately, work ended up getting more attention than my children during that time. Going back to the notion of burn out; that’s why balance is so important. We need to evaluate our priorities in life and take the necessary steps to make sure nothing is standing in our way of tending to those priorities. That’s one huge reason why I love owning my own business. I’m in total control. If I want to be busy, I can be. If life is in a season of me needing more personal time or my family needs me; I can scale back where needed. Read more>>

Dan Ryan | Owner

Balance. I am not a fan of using that word in this sense. To me, it infers getting too far in any direction is a negative thing, and then there is failure associated with it. I prefer to call it a work-life blend, and everything comes in seasons. This week may be a big week at work, my business may have a particular event or numerous things going on that require more of my attention. That attention is being pulled from somewhere else in my life, which could have a negative effect on myself or those close to me. Next week or month my business may be moving along nicely, and I can take a step or two back giving me the ability to enjoy other aspects of my life, pouring back into my family and personal needs. This is not a pass-fail or balanced-unbalanced at any given time but an evolution, constantly moving and changing…a blend. Read more>>

Leanne Rubenstein | Community Builder & Connector

I used to describe myself as a workaholic. I had a hard time turning off my work and creating boundaries. In social services it is easy to fall into this norm. It is often expected of you. In our US culture, we are taught to work hard, work harder and climb the ladder. One day I wondered what climbing the ladder actually meant. Was it really the definition of success? I realized that success is as you define it for yourself. So my success is doing work that is meaningful to me and living with a work – life balance. I love my work. I make choices that allow me to feel rich while living on a smaller budget. I have managed to question the narrative of what success really means and create a healthier lifestyle with time for family, time for me and inspiring work focusing on community. Read more>>

Dr. Shannon O’Brien | Prenatal Chiropractor

Sometimes I think we as a society have unnatural and unrealistic expectations of what work-life balance is supposed to look like throughout our lives. I think there’s this notion that work-life balance means we have this very delicate and fragile equation to our lives, where we’re juggling all the balls and wearing all the hats, and that balance has to mean 50/50. And that the balance must remain at 50/50 for it to be true. And that how I’ve balanced my life has to look anything like how you’ve balanced yours. And that’s just not the case. There are seasons to the wok-life balance. I’ve lived through several already. When I was pregnant 11 years ago with my first child, I was working full-time as a research molecular biologist at the CDC in Atlanta. Even after I had my first child, I went back to work and managed my new role of motherhood and parenthood with my husband as we navigated daycare and long commutes and maintaining our own sanity. Read more>>

Amanda Means | Teacher & Designer

This is a really good question, especially right now. About three years ago, Tanya Dalton of InkWell Press shared at a creative conference that she didn’t believe really in the concept of work-life balance. She really thought of it more as a harmony. That concept really stuck with me. There’s never really going to be a balance between work and life, you know. My family is always going to be more important to me than my work. My work is done to support my family. I go through phases where I’m spending more time working, like for launches. Other times, my passive streams of income allow for me to work when inspiration hits for new products. I feel like being at home so much has blurred the lines a bit, so there’s not a set time where I work on my business. I fit it in when I can or set blocks to work when I need. Quarantine has really allowed my night-owl tendencies to thrive, so there are a lot of late-night work sessions. Read more>>

Breyona Sharpnack | Entrepreneur & Domestic Engineer

When I started my first business Bombshell Cakes, custom cakes were my life. I really didn’t have time for anything else outside of that and obtaining my degrees. The weekends were always booked; and when I say booked, I mean booked months out! I found myself always tired and when I did have downtime I wanted nothing to do with cakes or people. I did this for 7 years and I realized I was making everyone else’s special occasions magically and not my own or my family’s. This got to be draining over time and pushed me to the point where I did not enjoy making cakes anymore. Making cakes felt like a chore. It was no longer fun. When I found out that I was having twins, I was immediately put on restrictions. My kids and my husband voiced their opinions that they were not happy with me doing cakes. It was stressful, time-consuming and most importantly I was not happy doing it anymore. The downtime during my pregnancy made me realize that I needed to make a change to my brand and to my work-life balance. Read more>>

Tiara Luten | Multidisciplinary Artist

I used to define myself by my work, art and productivity. I thought work ethic superseded relationships, family and my own personal relationship with myself. And that’s just not true. This pandemic in 2020 has shifted how I see myself and others. Though we are spiritual, divine beings – we are still living a human experience. To be human means emotions, feelings, lessons, heartbreak, pain and yes, even struggle. How will we learn and grow if we are too afraid to feel? Working too much distracts us from everything it means to be human. So now, I don’t even seek a balance between the two — I come first. My needs, my emotions, my life. I am a woman before I am an artist, and I am a human being. If I need to take a day or a week to rest, then I will. If I need to take a hiatus from working to focus on my mental health, then I will. If I need to just focus on self-care as a Black woman in America, then baby — I will! Because my heart and soul is worth more than any job or project. Read more>>