Work Life Balance In Entertainment
By Roque Diaz
How do we find balance? Artists who have “grownup responsibilities”. I wanted to write about how my wife (who is also an accomplished artist) and I try to balance our lives as artists, while caring for our two-year-old son and dog.
Oh, let me add our schedules, me: full-time PhD student (for the next three years) who is also creating an arts production company, and wife: full-time mom, chef, errands runner, ballet instructor, freelance actress, and backbone to our crazy lifestyle.
10 years ago, my wife and I were in different parts of our careers performing in separate productions.
My wife was performing in Celine Dion’s Las Vegas production, A New Day, while I was performing on a national tour of Blast! the Show. If I were to ask my 10 year ago self if I “planned to be married, have a kid, while pursuing a PhD”, I would have laughed hysterically. I didn’t even have a college degree or serious relationship necessitating a “grownup lifestyle”.
Let’s transition back to the present. My family and I are currently living in Minneapolis, MN. The art scene here is wonderful. The state of Minnesota is very supportive of the arts.
We have lived in NYC and Las Vegas where the arts scenes are alive, but difficult to “break in”. We were under the impression that I would focus on my school studies, while my wife raise our son (basically a stay-at-home mom). This model lasted not even a month. My wife and I were being contacted by local arts organizations for work. It wasn’t a random gig here or there, it was potentially a lot of work.
We were shocked and grateful. We have never lived in a city where artists are supportive of each other. As we began to take gigs, we had to recalibrate our lifestyle.
When I mean lifestyle, I mean: getting into performance shape and readjusting our sleep habits. If you don’t know already, artist are usually night owls. WE LOVE OUR SLEEP! We are also grateful that our son sleeps in (amen). I predict a future artist in the making.
All this being said, finding lifestyle balance requires a lot of sacrifice. When you are young, you usually don’t think about how valuable an hour is. Now? Wow! We cherish every hour of the day. Given what our schedules are before adding performing, we are still learning to adjust. One of the biggest obstacles I have encountered is how to find “me, us, and family time”.
We can plan a daily schedule that includes me warming up for a music gig, or my wife stretching/yoga for a dance gig, but we need to include our son’s day (activities, play, nap, etc.). What are some of the biggest thing we have learned? We have learned that kids need their naptime. Schedules are great! Oh, and once your kid goes to preschool, be prepared to catch lots of colds. Wash your hands, people. Seriously. Do this all the time.
Moving forward, we have done a fair amount of performing while keeping up with the other tasks. I am approaching the end of the school semester which entails writing final papers (around 35 pages each), music compositions, and business proposals.
How about my wife? Well, she is performing in a musical production for three weeks, while finishing her ballet classes and being supermom.
Our son is waiting for his big number three birthday while looking forward to his parents not working during the summer. Oh, almost forgot, we brought our dog here this past January to add-on to the scheduled craziness.
My wife and I use to joke about an episode of television’s Modern Family where the parents have a HUGE calendar that dictates the family of five’s hectic schedules. Yeah, that is us now.
The bottom line, no matter what situation you find yourself in, always stay true to yourself. Never let the art leave. Embrace it. You can always make adjustments to find the balance that will give you a sense of purpose.