Alison Seward shares some useful advice for working moms and dads that has helped her over her career.
At GE Appliances (GEA), Alison Seward, program senior director for dishwashers, has been a busy launching a new dishwasher assembly line during the pandemic and navigating her personal life as a working mom of two daughters, ages 8 and 4.
It’s been stressful to say the least, but Seward, who is active in GEA’s Women’s Network and the founding member of GEA Working Mothers, has useful advice for working moms and dads that’s helped her over her career.
“Work-life balance is a myth,” Seward said. “It has contributed to mom-guilt and work guilt.”
A quote that she often uses in presentations to working parents is from Dan Thurman, author of Off Balance On Purpose.
Thurman says, “When it comes to balance, you have been sold a bill of goods. It’s time to give yourself a break, embrace the life you have and make adjustments that will allow you to grow in the areas that are crucial to your most important commitments as well as your happiness.”
According to Seward, first you need to recognize and find the areas where we can tackle guilt with work, at home and with yourself. And then it's about finding the right strategies.
- Ask for and accept help. Where can you let go of something or ask someone else to help you? Is there any opportunity to outsource?
- No more super mom. Where can you lower or adjust expectations? Where can you say no or not now?
- Find the And. What do you need? What does your company need? Are you having honest conversations?
- Give grace to yourself and others. “We need to build other working parents up, not tear them down when they make different choices than you,” Seward said. “Ask yourself, where have you not met expectations? It’s ok that someone has made a different choice than you.”
- You can’t pour from an empty cup. What do you do for yourself to keep your cup full?
“All through launching our new dishwasher program, I did yoga every day,” Seward said. “On tough days, when maybe I wasn’t my best, people on my team would ask if I had done my yoga. It 100% made a difference for me and put me in a much better frame of mind.”
“There are no easy answers but be proactive and put some good strategies in place to set yourself up for success,” she said.