Today is the day. It is the day that parents look forward to showing off their workplace to their kids, and their kids to their workplace. The day that children look forward to getting the chance to experience what mom or dad do all day, and – let’s be honest – just getting the chance to miss school. The day is meant to be an educational lesson in career exploration.
Yes, today is “Take Your Child To Work Day”.
When I worked as an educator, my daughter was too young to participate in this day. In 2016, I resigned from my job to pursue a new direction. My daughter is now in first grade, and I was excited to invite her to learn about my current career of stay-at-home mom.
The agenda for our day is as follows. Of course, I must assist in the completion of the tasks to ensure accurate and thorough on-the-job training.
6:30am: Wake daughter at least one hour before she would normally wake up and tell her that I am hungry. This will ensure she starts her day off in the right frame of mind – exhaustion.
7:00am: Prepare three different breakfasts consecutively, in case we decide we really want pancakes, and not oatmeal or cereal after all.
7:30am: Eat breakfast and have a little screen time (equivalent to Mommy’s time to chug coffee).
8:00am: Brush teeth and hair, wash face and get us both dressed in 15 minutes max to simulate that we are running late for school. (We need this to be realistic, people.)
8:15am: Get toddler up. Change and dress him quickly for the day. (This takes longer than it should because his clean laundry is still in a basket, unfolded of course, downstairs.)
8:30am: Get toddler milk and cheerios to snack on. Try to decipher what he actually wants for breakfast, as every option offered is answered with a “NO!”
8:45am: Pile everyone in car to simulate the drive to school. Drive around for a while, get everyone in and out of car at least once to recreate drop off, wave at neighbors, then return home.
9:15am: Play in family room. Every time toddler says “Wook, Mommy!” daughter will look and respond with, “I see! That’s great!” Note: She must maintain a cheerful, interested tone at all times even if she is busy with something else. She must also actively engage in pretend play as the role of Super Girl for at least 15 minutes, despite her long to-do list and unread emails.
9:45am: Change poopy diaper in toddler’s room. Use the opportunity to put toddler in crib long enough to throw in a load of laundry. Resume play in family room.
10:15am: Realize there is still a lot of time to kill before naptime. Take toddler for a long walk outside, if weather permits. If weather does not permit, have daughter hit continuous play button for Blue’s Clues on the DVR.
11:00am: Come inside from walk or turn off TV. Calm toddler down because he is having a tantrum asking for “More outside!” or “More Clues!”. After several attempts to make him smile, daughter must resort to dancing the “Whip and Nae Nae”. This will work. The sillier, the better.
11:15am: Find an activity for toddler to do independently. (Good luck.) Attempt to vacuum quickly before he gets tired of this and starts up with the tantrum again.
11:30am: Prepare at least two main lunch options, and then throw them out after only the crackers on the side are eaten.
12:00pm: NAPTIME. (Thank goodness.) Change toddler and put him down in crib. We will have intentions to attempt to complete some things on our to-do list, but will end up laying down for just a minute because it was an early morning and we’re exhausted.
1:45pm: Attempt to take quick showers before toddler wakes up. Fail. Get toddler up and changed.
2:00pm: Snack time. No, toddler can’t have more crackers. Daughter will attempt to find a healthy alternative he will eat. This will not be easy.
2:30pm: Realize we forgot laundry in washer. Run down to laundry room with toddler in tow to switch load to dryer, then return upstairs to recommence the “snack wars”.
3:00pm: Pile everyone in car again to simulate school pick up. Run to grocery store for essentials needed immediately, like milk, toilet paper and those “soft, brown cookies in the blue box”. Get everyone out of car, take stroller from trunk, strap toddler into stroller, run into store, purchase items, exit store, take toddler out of stroller, get stroller and everyone back in car. Drive around for a while, get everyone out and in again to recreate pick up, wave to neighbors, return home.
4:00pm: This is the time my daughter normally returns home from school, so even though a SAHM shift is really 24 hours/7 days a week, “Take Your Child To Work Day” activities will conclude. She’s only 7, after all.
And that, my friends, is what I call an education.
A version of this article originally appeared on Reality Moms
Mia Carella is a stay-at-home mom and writer who lives with her husband, their two children, and their dog. She likes reading, napping and spending time with her family. She dislikes cooking, cleaning and adulting in general, but absolutely loves being a mom. Her work has been published on Scary Mommy, Babble, The Mighty and more. Read more on Mia’s website, (this) mom with a blog, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.