My husband is guest posting today.  This is a tribute to his mother, who did so many things for him when he was young that he did not truly appreciate until we had our kids.  My husband grew up in Japan, and his mother worked full-time but also had a traditional role in the home, doing all of the cooking and household chores.

Am I becoming like my mom?

Maybe now I can better appreciate what she did for me.

People sometime say you would appreciate what your parents do when you become a parent.  Besides giving me opportunities to study in college, I did not appreciate what my parents did for me for a long time.  In fact, I was annoyed with them all the time.  I decided to move as far as I could from them.

Growing up in a traditional household in Japan, I saw my mom take care of me, my sister, and my grandpa, when my dad was gone for work all day, from 8:00 in the morning to 9:00 or 10:00 in the night, seven days a week.

My mom worked from 8:30 to 5:30, but often came home often after 6:00.  She used to get up by 6:00 and made our breakfast, packed our lunch, did the dishes, and did laundry before she went to work.  After she came home, she prepared the dinner, did the dishes, put away laundry, and then did her work she brought home to do.  She always believed if we ate a lot of vegetables and fruits, we would stay very healthy, so she cooked many dishes with vegetables and fruits, which took her for a long time to prepare for each meal (she still tells me to eat vegetables and fruits, when she calls me from Japan).  She finally relaxed around 9:00 p.m..  She worked 6 days a week, so Sundays were her time to catch up with house chores.

Right after graduating from high school, I moved to Tokyo, about 7 hours away from home.  About five years later, I moved to the U.S. to study.

Now, across the Pacific Ocean and over 20 years later, after I have three kids of my own to take care of, I began to realize that I am becoming like my mom.

My Daily Schedule

I get up around 6:00 a.m.  I prepare breakfast, pack the kids’ and my lunch, and clean up the kitchen as much as I can before I leave for work around 8:30.  Melissa and I agree to feed kids very healthy, so I prepare fruits for breakfast and lunch.  I usually come home around 6:00 p.m.  We eat dinner as a family, and afterward, I help the kids get ready for bed.  After they go to bed, I clean kitchen, do laundry, and do my work that I bring home.  I can finally relax around 10:00.  In the weekend, I try to catch up with household chores as well as my work, while I try to spend some time with kids.

We live in a society where ideally both men and women have equal responsibility at work or home.  Melissa and I share household responsibilities, and morning routines and cleaning and doing laundry in the night are my responsibilities.

While I am at work, Melissa takes care of kids, goes grocery shopping, prepares the dinner, makes homemade bread, does dishes (we have to do dishes all the time and sometime we run dishwasher twice a week because we cook a lot) and does other household chores, and she does her blogging, virtual assistant and freelance work early in the morning, during kid’s nap, and at night after kids go to bed.

Gender Roles in Japan

On the other hand, when I grew up in Japan, it was a time of social cultural transition from traditional to more modern lifestyle.  Women began to work outside of home, yet they had a traditional female role at home, so my mom did the household chores that Melissa and I split.

Although Japanese culture changed and fewer people follow traditional gender roles now, that was a part of Japanese culture that I did not like growing up, so I am glad to help out around the home even though I am very tired every day.  I enjoy watching kids growing up healthy, learning to read, learning something new, and having fun.

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