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Special Project] TOKYO “Ikugyo” Conference
From “Maternity Leave” to “Childcare Work” Childcare work is an irreplaceable time!

 In the final installment of the “TOKYO Ikugyo” Conference ( click here for the first installment, here for the second), we exchanged opinions on the “take-it-only childcare leave” issue and the joys of childcare work!

■Sachiko Hanyu, Visiting Researcher, Nikkei xwoman, Author and Media Producer
Rie Yamaguchi (Post-maternity leave consultant)
■Yoshihisa Aono, President and Representative Director, Cybozu, Inc.
Takashi Kuroda (Company employee, father of 4 children, has taken childcare leave 3 times, expecting his 5th child in December)
Kohara Kunitsugu (Company employee, father of 2 children, currently in childcare for the second time, 1 year and 1 month)
*Facilitator: Joji Sugiyama (Editor-in-Chief of “Papa Shirube,” a child-rearing information website)

(Titles omitted)


 What to do? Men’s “Take-it-all maternity leave

-(Sugiyama)According to a survey by Conehito Corporation, which operates the childcare app “Mamari” for mothers, one in three fathers spend less than two hours a day on housework and childcare during childcare leave, which is also known as “take only childcare leave. How did you feel when you heard this?

green field
 Especially with the first child, you have one child for every two adults. So I can imagine that some people feel that “my wife does it, so I have nothing to do. If that’s the case, I think it’s better to consciously create opportunities for fathers to take care of the children on their own. I especially recommend experiencing a situation where the wife is not at home completely, say for two nights and three days. 0-year-olds always get into trouble when there are about two nights and three days. If you don’t experience that kind of shuraba once, you’ll feel like you’ve done a good job of childcare just because you changed a diaper. No, that’s not how childcare works! I think.

 I couldn’t agree more! I think I grew up because I faced exactly that kind of situation during my very first childcare job. I tried everything I could think of to get my daughter to stop crying, and when I asked my wife for help, she replied, “You have to think for yourself! I asked my wife for help, and she replied, “Think for yourself! As a result, I became able to understand and quickly make the necessary arrangements for child-rearing and to calmly respond to unexpected situations, which I believe is a necessary discipline for fathers to improve their child-rearing skills.

 In the first place, it is not good that family matters have become women-centered even before raising children. Men are only “helping” in the sense that they are only “helping”. They only interact with each other at the “point. So, even if a child is born, the relationship will only be one in which the woman takes the lead in child-rearing and the man “helps” with child-rearing. Therefore, I think it would be better for men to take responsibility for housework and childcare on a “line. We will never know unless we completely exchange positions and do it first. As Mr. Aono said, it is tremendously good to experience the absence of the wife.


downy mildew (disease)
 Me, I put it into practice. This is a bit extreme, but when my second child was 0 years old, I went on a business trip to Africa for 20 days to breastfeed him as well. My husband sent me a picture of the 0 year old crying in a shrimpbowl with the words, “Thanks to you, I’m in a shuraba,” on line, but since it was my second child, I watched and said, “Yes, yes, he’s growing up as a daddy. Moms who worry too much may need to have the guts to leave their children in the hands of their fathers like this. Also, it is important to educate men at home from a young age so that they do not become “the first household chores. Many parents tell their daughters to do the dishes and take in the laundry, but not their sons. This education accumulates, and when they decide to raise their children at the age of 30, they say, “I can’t do housework and childcare! I can’t do housework and childcare! I think it is also important to eliminate the stereotypical gender role divisions in the home.

 I don’t think “take only maternity leave” is something to worry about too much, as we are in a transitional period right now. I think it might be someone who took it because the company told them to, or someone who didn’t take it proactively. Other factors that contribute to the overall phenomenon are that their parents are watching over them, so it is not their place, there is no need for them to do housework and childcare, their partner does not let them do it, or they simply do not know what to do. As more proactive ways of taking maternity leave are shared in the future, I believe that the term “take only maternity leave” will disappear.

– Finally, do you have a message for those who are raising children or will be raising children?
As long as the child is healthy, parenting is 100 points!

green field
 Looking back at myself, I think that when I am doing it without being prepared to escape somewhere, childcare is not fun. But the moment you decide, “I have to do it,” it becomes fun. It’s like there is no more hesitation. It is natural that it takes up a lot of time, and it is also natural that children don’t listen to you. But I want you to know that when you get to the point where you have no choice but to do it, child-rearing is fun. Children bring you happiness every day. Also, I feel like parenting is already 100 points if the child is healthy, both mentally and physically. many people are suffering because they are aiming for more than 100 points. They spill their drink, or they don’t eat their vegetables. Whether or not they eat vegetables is an added bonus. First of all, 100 points for being healthy. If you have this sense, it will be easier to raise your child.

Enjoy childcare on the “line”.

 I think the greatest feature of the child-rearing business is that you can enjoy child-rearing on a “line” between “dots” and “lines. When you are working, you can only be involved in the “dots” of work, childcare, and family matters. With childcare, you can be involved on the “line. Being with your child all the time, being with your family, and being able to watch them grow up is very different from being a “dot. You have to enjoy childcare. I think that child-rearing is a good time to take a break from work, rethink and reconfigure your life, and it is a truly wonderful opportunity to think seriously about your family.


Days of personal growth and speed of the cycle that you can’t experience at work

 Of course, there is also the fact that it strengthens family ties, increases the value of dad in the house, and gives him a place to stay, but more than that, I have never enjoyed the daily growth so much. For example, when I learn about nutrition, plan menus, and cook and feed the kids, their reactions are immediate. I am also acutely aware of my own inadequacies, but I also have solutions, which makes me want to try again. This cycle allows me to feel personal growth every day at a speed that is hard to experience at work, so it is very addictive and fun.

Child-rearing” is a period of time when parenting is in its infancy.

 I believe that the goal of child rearing is to develop the child’s ability to go out into the world and live on his/her own. Parents work in order to provide an economic foundation for their children, such as living expenses and educational expenses, until their children are able to stand on their own feet. Of course, it is rewarding for them, but they also need to continue to work in order to establish the foundation of their lives and financial base, and to provide their children with many options. In that sense, the child-rearing period is only a transitional period. The crucial period is the 15 to 20 years after child-rearing is over. For parents, this is when balancing work and child-rearing really begins. I would like fathers to look at what comes after child-rearing.

Childcare is the “adolescence” of the family

downy mildew (disease)
 I think that period of my upbringing was my adolescence. The months of infancy are still memorable, and I keep going back there. My marriage, my career, and my relationship with my children all go through ups and downs. But each time I go through them, I remember the time when I was in child-rearing. In the midst of child-rearing, you don’t have that kind of time. I had no idea that 10 or 20 years later it would become such a talismanic experience. I think it is such a special time, and I hope you enjoy it.




◆Click here for the first issue.

◆Click here for the second issue.