As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 49 percent of mothers stayed at home in 1967. That percentage fell to 23 percent in 1999, but increased to 29 percent in 2012.
A Pew Research Report says that, in 2016, only five percent of homes had mothers as the solely-employed parent. In 27 percent of the homes, the father served as the sole “breadwinner.” In 2016, nearly 66 percent of households had dual income earners, compared with 49 percent in 1967.
Overall, the majority of households do not have stay-at-home parents. The “domestic engineer field” has declined as costs of living and changing views of gender roles have placed more females into the work force. Yet, stay-at-home parents perform many functions and exhibit many skills found in the labor force, as the following job description explains.
Job Overview: What Does a Domestic Engineer Do?
“Domestic engineers” ensure the proper functioning of their households. The responsibilities of these stay-at-home parents include seeing that their children get fed, educated and treated for any health conditions or problems. The job description also includes oversight of the household finances and extracurricular activities of the children.
Domestic Engineer Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities
- Prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Shop for groceries, household supplies and clothes
- Formulate household budget
- Pay bills or schedule online or electronic payment of bills
- Take children to school, appointments, practices and other events
- Review announcements, schedules and agendas from school
- Volunteer at children’s schools and teams; church and community organizations
- Perform laundry and housecleaning
- Collect online or paper coupons
- Balance checkbook and track deposits, withdrawals and spending from bank accounts
- Schedule repairs, connections and installation of appliances, utility and communications services and other improvements to home
Domestic Engineer Job Essential Skills
Detail-oriented. Tasks such as laundry and house cleaning require considerable attention to details, such as the presence of stains on clothes, dirt on dishes and dust on surfaces. Cooking involves following detailed instructions and precise measurements set forth in menus.
Math. The ability to perform math operations helps stay-at-home parents keep accurate balances of bank accounts, determine the affordability of contemplated purchases and plan budgets. Cooking requires skills in measuring ingredients, calculating cooking times and reading temperatures on hand thermometers and stoves.
Planning. To shop for groceries and supplies, domestic engineers determine the supply of certain items and list those items for which replenishment is necessary. Planning skills include anticipating how much money is required to purchase various items and when the acquisition of these items is necessary.
Scheduling. A stay-at-home parent must have awareness of due dates for bills, days and times for appointments and when to take children to and from school or practices. Domestic engineering often requires a calendar for tracking and reminders of appointments and other tine-sensitive tasks.
Time-Management. Domestic engineers manage their time by setting aside particular days for laundry or house cleaning. With appointments and pickup times happening in the middle of a day, the parents have limited time for household tasks. Breakfasts and dinners are often cooked within a small window of time. Thus, time-management requires the ability to prepare foods for cooking.
Becoming a Domestic Engineer
A person becomes a domestic engineer through becoming a parent and a choice to stay home. Much of the development comes through practical experience, facing various scenarios and classes that teach the skills needed for managing a household.
Education & Training
Where offered, home economics classes in high school cover many of the skills and tasks involved with domestic engineering. Such a course addresses personal finance topics such as checkbook and money management. Students learn the differences among types of banking accounts, payment methods and essential categories of household expenses. Classes also teach cooking, sewing, nutrition, the types of textiles and linens and how to care for them and household sanitation.
Other classes in high school and post-secondary institutions cultivate skills used by would-be stay-at-home parents. These include health, math and certain topics in introductory algebra.
Community colleges, university extension programs and community organizations also teach subjects such as nutrition, personal finance, protections and home safety.
Domestic engineers have performed many of the relevant tasks while having participated in the workforce. These jobs include teller, nutritionist, restaurant, kitchen or cafeteria worker; childcare worker and administrative assistant. In these and other positions, stay-at-home parents applied knowledge of nutrition, cooking, sanitation and personal finance and exercised skills in organization and time management.
Prior work as a teacher or tutor helps with guiding children through homework or practicing skills and concepts covered in school.
The stay-at-home parent’s schedule is influenced, but not totally by, the working parent’s schedule. The latter may have time to take children to school if the latter starts before work time and the school is along the travel route to work. The domestic engineer may still arise early to prepare clothes and meals for the children at school.
During the daytime, domestic engineers with school-aged children may perform meal or budget planning, cleaning, run errands outside the home or participate in volunteer projects. For those with infants or toddlers, much more time is spent at home attending to the needs of the infant or toddlers.
For stay-at-home parents, the experience may provide talking points for a job interview or explanation of activities during an employment gap. Resumes or interviews should tend to avoid terms such as “domestic engineer.” It may appear “gimmicky” to employers for an applicant to list functions as a stay-at-home parent as points on a resume. Identifications and descriptions of volunteer activities or participation with organizations outside the home may prove helpful in displaying community involvement and relevant job skills.
Domestic engineers perform functions and exhibit skills found in many lines of work in the paid labor field. Their activities in the home may prepare them for entry or re-entry into the workforce. With acceptance of women in many employment roles and an overall growing standard and cost of living will come a generally low percentage of single-earner households overall.