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Who knew that when I decided to return to college for a second degree, this one in fashion design, that I would have to take a philosophy class? “To sew or not to sew is surely the question.”

But alas, my official summer break has commenced. Unfortunately, the hiatus only lasts until June 8. That is when my Alpha Mom role kicks into full swing and my four children charge home for a 12 week, 24 hour, non-stop summer vacation. I remember as a child traveling from Philadelphia to rural Virginia to visit my relatives for the summer. There would be tears in my eyes on the trip down south and tears in my eyes on the return home. Sandwiched in between those tears are lifelong memories of fun and play. Even as an experienced mom of four, I still haven’t figured out how to arrange that “summer away with the grandparents” trip. If anyone is interested in taking on the task, I’m willing to split the little ones up.

In all seriousness, I actually relish the opportunity of spending summer break with my children. My daily bread is provided and I accept my role of service. However, at times I wonder if society fully appreciates the energy it takes to transform into a Super Soccer Mom. After all, it’s difficult to compare my efforts to those of a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. What is the median salary of a Residential Domain Executive Director? I wonder what compensation I would command if I decided to post my motherhood skills on Careerbuilder.com.

  • Leadership Skills: Willing to challenge conventional wisdom (Because I said so!)
  • Interpersonal Skills: Recognizes the needs of others (Do you have to go to the bathroom, again?)
  • Communication Skills: Values open communications and encourages honest feedback (Who broke my lamp!)
  • Organization Skills: Excels in streamlining operations (No video game time this afternoon if you guys aren’t ready for school in five minutes.)
  • Time Management: Works smarter, not harder, demonstrates effective allocation of resources (Okay, you eat five McNuggets and save the rest for your sister.)
  • Managing Conflict: Offers win-win alternatives for stakeholders. (If you don’t unlock this bathroom door now there will be PAIN!)
  • Coaching and Counseling: Gives sound, practical advice (Please double tie your shoes so you do not trip and fall.)
  • Problem Solving: Uses the latest technologies to improve operations and overcome problems (I love my new Palm Treo 700p. Now I can text message.)
  • Cost Management/Effective Delegation: Is very cost conscious/gives subordinates the authority to effectively carry out delegated responsibilities (Honey, on your way home can you please pick up some laundry detergent?)

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Salary.com determined that a stay-at-home mom could fetch about $135,000 a year for all her hard work, and that doesn’t include overtime. Honey, tell the kids I’m underpaid!

As Mother’s Day approaches (ahem … May 13, in case you forgot), many matriarchs will receive tokens of appreciation from their spouses and offspring. I admit my personal motto has been, “Don’t say it with Hallmark, say it with cash.” This year and going forward though, my message is to appreciate mothers everyday and in everyway. The currency that mothers crave is not measured in dollars and gifts. The currency that mothers truly crave is measured in hugs, kisses, and the unprompted “Thank you.” Mothers may be under paid, but should never ever be under appreciated. Now if I can only figure out how to get my grandparents to take the kids for the summer.