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日本での育児と仕事の両立 (Balancing child rearing and work life in Japan)














Recently, more and more women choose to work while they raise their kids in Japan.
One of the factors is for financial reasons, but the other factor is that more and more women are focusing on their careers than before. In the past, most Japanese working women retired when they got married or pregnant to be a good housewife. However, recently many couples choose to work together and share housework.

In addition, the Japanese government is encouraging women to work even after giving birth to get more people in the workforce since the Japanese working population is decreasing.

I am one of those Japanese working mothers. My son is now 3 years old, and I went back to work when he turned 1 year old. During my working hours, he stays at a nursery school near my house.

When I was pregnant, I assumed that once I found a good nursery school I could work the same as before, but my expectations were totally wrong.

・It is hard to find available nursery schools in Japan, and there are many (potential) working mothers on waitlists.
・Even after my son entered nursery school, I cannot work constantly. I often get calls asking to pick up my child because he is sick.
・To add to that, I am under huge stress because I cannot work like I did before.
・Even after working, it is not my time but “mother time”, and I have no time to relax.

I assume this is the same situation as other Japanese working mothers!

It is hard, but I can handle this with my family and company’s help.

・I share housework and child care with my husband. If there is any concerns, I discuss with him.
・If we need any help, we can ask our parents and siblings.
・If any child-related emergency happens, I can ask for leave easily.
・If I need any support from work, the door is open.

Additionally, thanks to my company, I changed my working style after I returned to work. Currently I am working at home.
Since my work is mainly related to design, I can work from any place if there is a PC. Since I work at home, I have no commuting time and I can pick up my son easily if it is needed. When the nursery school is off, I cannot work but I can attend meetings via messenger systems and reply to emails. Having efficient communication with the office is challenging but with instant messengers and by working at the office once a week, we try to manage.

My other challenge is to be able to flip a switch in my mind from “mother mode” to “working mode” even in the same room. I try to handle this by working at the office sometimes and having video chats with the office.

My overall challenge to achieve a balanced working style will be continued…!

-Japanese by Y.O., English by S.T.