This time I’m going to veer off the shopping experience to discuss what I believe is hidden economic engine in our towns… and one that honors Mother’s Day.  Wait until you read how I tie those two together! 


I have lived many places both in this country (small, medium and large towns) and abroad and no other locale has had such an abundance of highly-educated, high-achieving stay-at-home moms. 

I have been slightly obsessed with this since I did a project a few years ago that led me to coin the term SWAT Moms:  Smart Women with Available Time. 

How Chapelboro has become home to so many SWAT Moms is somewhat clear:  Smart people are drawn to our community thanks to UNC and to all the other smart people here.  Also, with our cost of living still reasonable compared with a place like Berkeley, the need for double-income families is lower here.

What I can’t figure out is what we can do with all this talent.  I don’t pretend to speak (write) for everyone in this category and I’m also asking the following questions in a big picture way because I don’t mean to suggest or even infer that SWATs should work if they don’t want or need to.

We have a stalled economy and though we are better off here than in many other places, recovery would be nice.  Budgets would suffer less, more people who need work could find it and a host of other reasons. 

If all these SWAT Moms are a largely untapped resource, how can we best use this resource to drive us forward? 

Many SWATs do important volunteer work, many are very involved with their childrens’ schools but there are many others who’d like to feel productive, who have something to offer, who have children now in school for a longer day, who have spent an enormous amount of time, effort and, possibly, money on higher education. 

How can we harness the power of this idling economic engine for the good of our towns? 

Here’s my idea and all you employers out there, feel free to comment below on why it just won’t work:

Suppose we create a bank of these employees who are available part time or on a project-basis?  You’d know that most of these people have a “Mommy Gap” on their resumes but you’d also know they are all multi-taskers who know how to deal with childish clients/customers.  You’d know they likely have a highly developed sense of responsibility.

SWATS and employers, what do you think?  Again, comment below or write to me at