I am a mother of two- and three-year olds, and it has been a few months since I came back from a four-year child-rearing leave. My husband’s work requires frequent job transfers and he now works as a single transferee in a distant area.

I work in the area where I grew up, and I’ve tried to keep our family in the same house by taking a long child-rearing leave. This means that instead of following my husband, I asked my parents to let us stay at their house because I know it is not easy to rear small children in an unknown town. This is how I could get back to work. My parents asked me if I could take care of them when they get old. But, they intend to give the family inheritance to the first son, my younger brother. My father controls family budget and my mother even has to ask him to give her money for beauty salon, which he complains about. She is not allowed to share the Government Basic Pension Plan with him. When I was young, I was treated poorly. For example, I was not allowed to go to a school I wanted to. They always laughed at me when I said my wishes.

When I asked my parents if they prepared any money for my taking care of them, they said there was some for their old age period but not enough for necessary special caring afterwards. My father says “Don’t worry. You are stupid so you worry much.” I talked to my mother who has been a little bit more logical enough to open a bank account. I transferred my living expenses to that bank account so that money for necessary caring will be withdrawn from that account.

My younger brother is in his 20s, and single. He doesn’t visit his parents. My younger sister is married and lives in a far-away area. My husbands’ parents also asked me to quit my job to take care of them. My husband, who wanted to have at least two children, says there is nothing he can do when he hears about my burdens. Next to my tough life of children rearing and four years of job blank, he gets sparkling promotion at work!

I am very disappointed with myself only having complains. Yes, I did want to have children. But my desires have not been met. I am very disappointed for having to accept the burden of raising children and taking care of parents. (Maple in her 40s, Mito City)


Dear Maple-san

What I understand is that you are suffering from the burden of solo child rearing and taking care of both your own and your husband’s parents. I don’t quite know what exactly happened to you and how your communications with related people are (when and to whom you talk), so please forgive my short reply.

Isn’t it a bit too early to think of taking care of parents? Is this really needed at present? Japanese Nursing Care System (everybody must pay quite a lot of pension duty!) has been established because lately families certainly find some difficulty to take care of old age people. First please try to think of using this system as much as possible, OK?

To me, you seem to take much more responsibility than you can. Did you ask your husband to help child rearing whenever he can? You must firmly ask him for his cooperation. It is really good for a man to take care of his children, even if it’s partial. When and if he just stays in his professional life, he has to miss watching children grow or any problem that possibly occur the way of growing up, which is an important part of human life. I think Japanese culture or social custom is not right to admit that it is all right for a man not to be concerned with his children and house work as long as he can play his expected professional role.