1. Home
  2. /
  3. couple
  4. /
  5. [The real voices of...

[The real voices of mothers! This is how to solve the problems of housework and childcare.
Part 2: What is your daily schedule? How to share housework and childcare responsibilities to get through a busy day

 Mam Smile, winner of the 2022 Tokyo Metropolitan Women’s Activity Promotion Grand Prize, is an organization that promotes mothers’ reintegration into society and community revitalization through the production of the free childcare information magazine ” Itabashina.
 This issue is a special project by Mam Smile! We will be presenting the real voices of mothers we have met through our past activities regarding housework and childcare in a series of three articles.

 The second theme is “Housework and Childcare Sharing. Many of you may feel that you do not have enough time in your busy days with housework, childcare, and work. Therefore, we asked three families to show us their daily schedules and asked what kind of efforts moms and dads are making. We also included advice from Aiko Bando, representative director of Mam Smile, a general incorporated association that promotes career development in childrearing.


the Kawakami family

Family of 4: mom, dad, and 2 children (a girl in 4th grade and an older boy in preschool)

Photo of parents and two children



 The Kawakami family says that when they had only one child, the mother did all the housework and childcare. When they thought about having a second child, they realized that they would not be able to do the housework and childcare on their own, so they discussed how to divide up the roles.

Daily Schedule

The mother takes the younger child to daycare, but the father, who comes in late to work, is in charge of washing dishes after breakfast.
I do not force myself to cook meals by buying prepared foods or eating out, because I want to prioritize enjoyment. I also look up recipes that can be made in a microwave oven and make use of them.

We use a scheduling app at the beginning of the school year to share the annual schedule for daycare and school so that fathers, who are sometimes away from home for long periods of time on business trips, can go to their children’s events.
…On Sunday mornings, two of my children learn the same lesson and we go as a family of four. During that waiting time, the couple shares their plans for the week and discusses mom’s thoughts on childcare and education.

・I was busy during the weekdays, so I started taking time for myself in the mornings and evenings on my days off. I started learning something for myself (English) on holiday mornings because I thought that if I am not energetic, the house cannot run and I can work harder if I do what I want to do.

I have not been able to do my housework to my satisfaction because of work, housework, and childcare during the week and my children’s lessons on weekends, and I don’t have enough time.

Mr. Bando’s advice

 I like that you and your wife take advantage of the waiting time for lessons to have a discussion together. In particular, it is wonderful that the couple is able to share their awareness about their children’s education.
 I think it is also good for mothers to have time for themselves in the mornings and evenings on weekends, rather than during the week.
 You say that you are not able to do your chores to your satisfaction, but it might be a good idea to set aside one day a month for one of you to watch the two children and the other to do a good job of housework. Another idea would be to make a list of the chores that are not being done, and to seek professional help, such as hiring a contractor to clean the bathroom once a year.



Fukushima family

Family of 4: mom, dad, and 2 children (an older boy in preschool and a younger boy)


Photo of a couple and their two children

 The couple began to share housework together when the father was transferred to another city after the birth of their first son. Mom had a hard time raising a child as a one-operator in an environment where there was no one who knew her. When Mom returned to work and their first son entered daycare, they reassessed the division of roles.

Daily Schedule

I hate it when my dad asks, “Do you need any help?” I hate it when he asks, “What do you do?” So I made a list of chores I do and put it on the wall, as a way of saying, “I do so much. I would say, “Do the things on the list that Mommy isn’t doing.”
The stock of consumables is shared by two people so that the one who notices can replenish the stock.
…to do things that we are both good at and that are not hard for us. Dad is good at working quietly, so he folds and puts away laundry. Mom likes to keep things clean, so she is in charge of washing dishes and cleaning.

On holidays, my dad, who is good at motivating me with praise, is doing support for my children’s studies, including prints and tablet learning.
Dad also encourages the children to store their own clothes in the laundry room.

I am having trouble using all the ingredients. I am not sure what to put on the menu every day.

Mr. Bando’s advice

 It is a good device to visualize household chores by making a list and facilitating the division of labor.
 It is also wonderful that the father is responsible for supporting the children’s studies, and also prepares them for school and puts them to bed, which the mother tends to do alone!
 To use up food, we recommend that you regularly cook dishes in which you can add whatever ingredients you have left over. For example, curry and nabe are classic examples. It is important to keep cooking to a minimum on weekdays, and on weekends, make something more elaborate with the children.


Okubo family
Family of 4: mom, dad, and 2 children (an older girl in kindergarten and a younger girl in preschool)

Photo of a couple and their two children

 Although Dad’s work is irregular in the Okubo household, they are able to share the housework well. Because Mom’s parents shared half of the housework, Mom thought that was normal, and since she was pregnant, she has been talking about wanting Dad to do housework and childcare as well.

Daily Schedule

Since Dad’s work is irregular, we ask him to share his shifts as soon as they are available, and we use them to determine shopping schedules, etc.
We try to divide the workload between the two. For example, cleaning and cooking are Dad’s responsibilities. Laundry is also a routine: when dad wakes up in the morning, he puts in his pajamas and runs the washing machine. Mom is good at managing schedules, helping with studies, and organizing digital relationships, so she is in charge of those things.
I do the bare minimum of cleaning, such as wiping the table, but I don’t do it every day. On my dad’s days off or when he works the late shift, he cleans the toilets and bathtub, and if he feels that the place is getting a little messy, my mom vacuums and cleans up.

I try not to break the order of bathing, eating, and putting them to bed. At night, the first priority is to put the children to bed. Even if other chores do not go as planned, we have a common understanding as a couple that we will make up for it after putting them to bed or the next morning.

By writing your schedule and goals in your notebook in the morning, you can not only check your schedule, but also spend the day with a sense of purpose: “I will accomplish this today.

Mr. Bando’s advice

 It’s great to have a dad-driven cook! Mom doesn’t have to do everything. Also, you are very thorough with your scheduling and very good at setting priorities.
 She says she has little trouble sharing housework and childcare now because those who can do it or are good at it do it, and she is able to set priorities without trying to make everything perfect, which gives her more time and room for her feelings.

The key to sharing household chores lies in family communication!

 Although the ages of the children and the working styles of the mothers and fathers differed among the three families, they all made good use of their time by devising their own ways.
 In order to share housework and childcare with all family members, the three important points are “visualization of housework,” “information sharing,” and “not trying to make it perfect. To “visualize housework,” it may be helpful to use the “Housework with No Name” checklist introduced in the first article (*link). Discuss together as a couple or family what chores are currently being done and who is doing them. The third point, “don’t try to make everything perfect,” is also important to have a common sense of what kind of life you want, rather than trying to make everything perfect. It is easy to get caught up in the housework and childcare tasks at hand and put them on the back burner, but if you make communication your top priority, your housework, childcare, and work will all fall into place. I thought the three families introduced here were able to do that.
 We hope that this article will serve as an opportunity for couples to communicate about the division of household chores.

Aiko Bando Photo









Aiko Bando

Representative Director, Childcare Career Advancement Promotion Organization, Inc.
Representative of Mom Community Mom Smile
Director of Nursery School Foresta Shimura Sanchome

She founded “Mom Smile,” a mommy community that supports women in childcare to return to society. Through her activities, she sensed the challenges of women’s careers and the childcare field, and opened her own daycare center, Foresta Shimura Sanchome. 2019, she launched a general incorporated association, Childcare Career Development Promotion Organization, and started a training program on career support for childcare workers and mothers. She conducts time management courses, etc.


Click here to read the first article, “How Does Everyone Do It? How do you share household chores with others?

Click here to read the third article, “What’s Hard When Your Kids Are in Elementary School? The Troubles of Elementary School Moms” article is here.