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“What do you even do all day?”
“It must be nice to sit home and relax while everyone else is working.”
“You have so much time for yourself, I’m jealous.”
If you had a dollar for every time someone said something like this to you, how rich would you be?
It’s safe to say that anyone who assumes that you’re sitting at home watching soap operas all day is blissfully ignorant to the broad range of challenges, tasks, and responsibilities a person undertakes when managing a household.
Housewife, stay-at-home-parent, home maker...these terms have served us well for many years, but when I think about how many people I know that manage households like Cardi B manages to run the streets, I can’t help but think these labels don’t really tell the full story.
Which is precisely why it’s time that we adopt a new moniker for those among us who choose to get into this exhausting line of work.
The reason we love “domestic engineer” is because it accurately describes the value and weight of the economy of the home. Like a business, it can be a beast to manage a household. You’re likely wrangling schedules, family finances, and the needs of several people at once, and you’re also trying to raise functional, thoughtful, well-educated humans… that’s no small feat. Add in the time management skills it takes to coordinate a family schedule full of soccer games, science projects, and Girl Scout meetings, managing a household should honestly be considered an Olympic sport.
What is a Domestic Engineer?
A domestic engineer is anyone who manages a household. From scheduling and managing family finances, to meal prepping, keeping track of household member’s schedules, time management, and even minor medical care, domestic engineering can be a full-time job. Of course, you don’t need to be a full-time domestic engineer to manage your household. Most people are, at least on some level, a domestic engineer. Whether that means you’re organizing pickup and drop off at daycare or picking up groceries, you’re probably domestic engineering on a daily basis.
What is a “managed household”?
It seems self explanatory but just to clarify, no we aren’t talking about a Unified Managed Household Account for investing (this time!). A managed household is simply that: a household that’s well-run by a domestic engineer. Everything in a household has to be managed from time management and money management to the management of actual household members and household utilities (why do kids always leave the lights on?!)... domestic engineers master it all. If you’re living in a well managed household, things will run smoothly and be mostly headache-free.
Domestic engineer job description
Domestic Engineer Duties:
Domestic engineers are responsible for keeping their homes running and raising children. Money management, including handling household utilities and overall family budget considerations, is a MAJOR aspect of this role. Domestic engineering is a mostly work-from-home gig, except for doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, extracurricular activities, and rides to school. Domestic engineers don’t work normal hours and are always on call to take care of children or handle household emergencies.
Domestic engineers are essentially the whole c-suite of a company... plus the operational, administrative, medical, financial, and logistics staff too. It’s no small undertaking, and it’s certainly not a breeze!
Domestic Engineer Skills:
The biggest skill you need for this role is the desire to be a domestic badass. Everyone has to handle household tasks, but only domestic engineers do it with gusto and a sense of real purpose.
Of course, it helps if you have babysitting or au pair experience, excellent time management skills, a grasp of home organization techniques, an ability to deal with long phone calls to the electric company (and other household utilities), a handle on household repair, and an understanding of basic family finances. Being a domestic engineer isn’t all household chores and structure, though. Creative people are at a major advantage when it comes to keeping household members fed, well-read, and entertained.
Bonus points if you don’t need any sleep ever, but that’s not mandatory.
Other than the joy of a job well done and the relief of raising good citizens, the main benefit in choosing the domestic engineer life is the autonomy you have. You’re not on the clock for anyone else, you’re able to make decisions that work best for you and your family, without having to run it up the management chain.
Where this role can be immensely beneficial is in the overall family budget. A domestic engineer on their own often saves a household from spending money on nannies, housekeepers, chefs, and other jobs that keep the household functioning.
Most domestic engineers are also gifted savers, and add value to their family budget through moving mountains. Domestic engineers achieve their goals by researching the most cost-effective measures, clipping coupons, and using other clever financial management tricks to benefit their bottom line.
How to become a domestic engineer
Good news! Anyone can become a domestic engineer. You don’t even have to be a parent to get started. If you’re planning and organizing life for someone other than just yourself, you’re on your way to becoming a domestic engineer. If you have the time management, the financial management, and family budget skills down already- congratulations you’re essentially an expert!
What tools are most helpful in becoming a domestic engineer?
Many domestic engineers fly by the seat of their pants at first. There aren’t a lot of resources that deliver a play-by-play of how to become the best domestic engineer ever… until now.
Here’s what we’ve found most helpful when it comes to getting prepared for domestic engineering:
- Groups—real-life friends or online communities
- Apps like Personal Capital to track and manage your family budget
- A master calendar for schedule and time management
- A family planner app, like Cozi, to keep everything in one place
- A glossary of household questions like The Art of Good Housekeeping: 1001 things you need to know to run the perfect home
- An app, like JouleBug, to keep track of your household utilities will help save you big money when it comes to family finances
- Limitless patience
- A sense of humor
- COVID-19 Update: The ability to keep calm and be a homeschooling hero.
Though it may seem like a thankless job, we are giving domestic engineers their due on Think Save Retire and in the economy of the home.
Are you a domestic engineer? Share your best tips with us in the comments below!