Take Your Child to Work Day: Stay-At-Home-Parent Version

My husband, Mike, is an engineer at a chemical company in Texas. I have learned that there are two types of people in this world: (1) engineers and (2) everyone else. Engineers are their own breed who speak a strange foreign language that no one else but other engineers comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, it is based in the English language and follows the syntax of English, but the average lay person tends to cross his eyes whenever and engineer talks about his/her job. I call it “brain shut down.” It is the body’s natural response to “engineer-ese” so that our neurons don’t explode and our grey matter doesn’t shrink in trying to wrap our non-engineer brains around whatever it is the engineer said.

Group of children (9-12) watching experiment in school laboratory
Group of children (9-12) watching experiment in school laboratory

This necessary introduction about engineers s to lead up to the fact that my girls (ages 11 and 12) are going to “Take Your Child To Work” Day with Mike. They are very excited to go, because really they have no idea what a chemical engineer does. (I just tell them Daddy makes plastic and goes to meetings with lots of PowerPoint presentations). The planner that he is, Mike sent me the schedule for “Take Your Child To Work Day.” In addition to “Science is pHun” sessions, the girls will get an overview of the company’s operations and jobs. They will see videos on safety, learn about careers in the field, and even win prizes.

So, I wondered what “Take Your Child To Work Day” would look like for a stay-at-home parent if we gathered together several parents and their children. Here are the events and activities I came up with for our big day. I tried to make it as authentic as possible to the job. No glossing over the demands and joys of being a domestic engineer.


2015 Take Your Child to Work As a Stay-At-Home Parent Day Schedule

7:00 Snacks: coffee (lots of it, extra strong), microwaved bacon and an overripe banana

7:30 Welcome: Welcome to the glamorous life of a stay-at-home-parent (Mother-of-the-Year)

7:32:   Safety Lecture (Father-of-the-Year)

  • Don’t stick your hand down the disposal
  • Don’t stand in water and play with electrical plugs
  • Don’t leave the stove burners on (with or without a pot)
  • Don’t stick siblings in dryers and turn them on
  • Don’t fall into the toilet head first
  • Don’t walk and read your laptop
  • Don’t ingest bleach, peroxide, ammonia, any yellow liquid, and fuzzy fruit or bread
  • Never use dull scissors when clipping coupons

8:00    Overview of Operations (play video of Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton).

10:00  Snack: More coffee and handful of Tootsie rolls; clip coupons while munching

10:30: Break Out Sessions I (Children Rotate after 1 hour)

Group A: The Science and Art of Laundry (includes special session on stain removal, origami-like folding and tricks with hangers)

Group B: Kitchen Cleaning (steel wool and dishes, simplicity with spills, scraping bits of food off walls and cabinets, identifying unknown smells and stains)

12:30: Lunch (Cottage Cheese and fruit, Cheetos and a diet soda).  Time given for checking emails from teachers and calling repairmen

1:30:   Breakout Sessions II (Rotate after 30 minutes)

Group A: Bathroom Essentials (includes scrubbing toilets and walls and floors if necessary, shower soap scum 101, and special techniques for scraping toothpaste off mirrors).

Group B: Everything You Need to Know about Floor Cleaning: (Includes sucking up spider webs and dust bunnies, getting paint off wood floors, puppy pee removal, and a history and demonstration of mops)

2:30: Break (Diet soda, cookie crumbs, and that’s it)

2:45:   Break Out Sessions III (Rotate after 30 Minutes)

Group A: What in God’s Name Are We Having for Dinner? (includes quick thawing techniques, recipe modifications, cooking for five people who do not like or eat the same things ever).

Group B: Homework Hell (Mentally preparing for arguments and lies, boning up on math skills, gathering cheat sheets for social studies and grammar)

3:45:   Closing remarks and door prizes (a brand new toilet brush, a Magic Eraser, box of dryer sheets, and the grand prize—those hangers wrapped in fuzzy material)

Of course, this is a draft. If anyone has anything to add to the schedule, please feel free to throw out your suggestions!

Cara Turner

8 thoughts on “Take Your Child to Work Day: Stay-At-Home-Parent Version

  1. Ha ha. I so want to go to the Science is pHun session. Your one sounds more fun though. Single up! Also – sign my kids up. Actually, can you run a full camp. I’ll send them over for a few weeks.xx


  2. Jackie

    HaHaHa …. Love this. Being an engineer and a Mom (and formerly a stay-at-home Mom), I can tell you the jobs are not that different. The lingo may change but in both environments you are often cleaning up other people’s messes, negotiating with “terrorists,” presenting to blank stares, and just trying to find a moment of peace to yourself to get what you really want to get done!

    Thanks Cara … I will forward a pic of your little sweetheart in her hard hat and flame retardant clothing!


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