Working moms need to say ‘Yes’ when presented with new opportunities even when we don’t know how we will make it all come together. We are planners and protectors. We don’t often leap unless we know that there is firm ground beneath us. However, there are times when we need to leap and just say ‘Yes’ before all the details are worked out.
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In the spring of 2019, I was asked to interview for a very special job in the Air Force. To this day, I vividly recall being dressed in my service dress, trying not to sweat, sitting in a small space across from the Colonel who was interviewing me. I thought that I was doing well in this round of interviews. Until she said that the work hours were 7:00 am to 7:00 pm every day.
I’ll never forget the moment when she asked me “Is that going to be a problem?” It was like time stopped for me. I don’t know how long I sat there staring and my mind racing. It felt like an eternity but was likely a few seconds. All that I could think about in that moment was all of the reasons why I could not do that job. Who is going to get the kids to school? Who will pick them up? What about after school activities? Then out of my mouth came “Yes, I can do it.” When I left that interview, all I could think about was what I had just done.
When the call eventually came, and I was informed that I was selected for the job.
I was overcome with joy. I did it. This job was a great career opportunity. I would experience an incredible amount of personal and professional growth. I was elated and floating on cloud 9. Once the euphoria ran out. I came back to the realization of what I just committed to doing. Panic and stress quickly moved in next. I said ‘Yes.’ But I had no idea how I was going to make it work for me and my family. I knew that it was going to take new family systems for me to succeed. So, I used the 4 components of “Working Moms: How We Do ‘It’” to help me design a solution. The book says that to successfully manage work and home working mothers need Support, Organization, Aspire, and Resilience–To SOAR.
This job was going to be one intense year of work and I needed more support at home to succeed. After analyzing where I was currently spending my time at home, I identified needing help in two main areas: transporting kids to activities and house cleaning. I hired a high school senior from the area to help get my oldest to his afternoon soccer practice and I hired a house cleaning service. My husband shifted to doing the morning drop-offs at child care. We also enlisted my mother to assist for the first couple of weeks and when I traveled.
My husband and I implemented a Sunday evening meeting to discuss our calendars and make sure we knew what all three kids’ activities were, where they had to be, and what homework was due. Having a shared Google calendar becomes essential to managing our hectic lives.
My husband, children, and parents knew how important this assignment was for my career. They also knew that it was going to be a challenging year, but they were committed to seeing me succeed. I knew that opportunities such as this only come once in a career, so it was now or never.
We treasured the weekends as family time to reset, laugh, play games, or be outside together. This time helped us bond during that busy time.
I want to encourage working mothers to listen to that voice inside of them. During the interview, even though my mind was racing with all the negatives, deep inside there was a little voice pushing me, encouraging me, to say ‘Yes’. I am glad that I listened. If I had said no, I would have shut a door that would not open again.
I am not advocating irresponsible and unreasonable behavior.
A working mother should leap. Say ‘Yes’ when she knows that she can do ‘It’ but doesn’t have all the details sorted out. I use the SOAR model to create a new paradigm. And in doing so it turned into a growth year for my family. By saying ‘Yes’ we created new success systems and thrived that year.
As of this summer, Rojan Robotham has been in the Air Force for 21 years. She attended Georgetown University and earned a degree in Physics. During college, she was in the Air Force ROTC program at Howard University. After graduation, she entered the Air Force. She has worked in a wide variety of Air and Space Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance programs. Last spring she was 1 of 44 women selected to become a Colonel. This year she and her husband are celebrating 15 years of marriage. They have three sons aged 12, 10, and 6. In Dec 2019, she wrote a book titled “Working Moms : How We Do ‘It’” to encourage other women to stay in the workforce and raise children.