Hitting the Day Care Lottery Jackpot


My wife and I found out, by regular postal mail on January 17th, that our daughter was accepted into a local city-approved nursery school. She’ll start attending with a group of other 2-year-olds in April (the school year always begins in April in Japan).Of course we’re relieved to know that we can both continue to work full-time, and that our daughter will be taken good care of during the week days (day care in our area is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

But it has also driven home to me how fortunate I have been this past year to have taken Parental Leave from my school. I have been able to spend a great deal of time with my daughter at a very formative stage of her personal development, before schooling and societal mores shape her personality in ways I can’t even fathom.

So much has happened since I started writing this blog about my experiences on paternal leave. I meant to write at least one post per week, but that plan quickly fell apart as the necessities of daily life began to pile up. I will say this about my experiences so far: Taking care of a child is a full-time job.

It seems a straight-forward, almost nonsensical statement to me now, but I don’t think a lot of my male colleagues seem to understand this truth about child-raising. This past year hasn’t been an “unpaid sabbatical” or a “vacation” (both of these phrases were said to me…by male teachers).

I’m tired. Really tired. I have all the respect in the world for those who have been doing this for day after day, week after week, year after year. Contemplating the reality of single-parent families, with a parent raising a child full-time and also working a full-time job (or several part-time jobs, or both) is simply mind-boggling. These people deserve a Nobel Prize for hard work. Seriously.

There are still plenty of topics I want to write about, maybe not all of them directly related to paternal or parental leave, but certainly related to childcare and child-raising. I’ve been taking notes, mental as well as written, and amassed a number of photos (mostly taken by cell-phone on the go). I’ll try to post them as regularly as I can for the next few weeks (my Christmas and New Year’s posts were several weeks after the fact…mostly due to needing several weeks to recover after the fact).

But I should spend most of my remaining two months of parental leave spending as much time as possible with my daughter. She’s not getting younger, and neither am I. “I perceive I have no time to lose.” (Walt Whitman)

About MThomas

Long ago, I gave up my high school dreams of becoming the next Carl Sagan and instead wound up working (in order) at McDonald's, a '60s-themed restaurant, a video rental store, a used bookstore, a computer seller, Kinko's, a Jewish newspaper company, and an HR firm. I eventually became a teacher of intercultural communication in Kyoto, where I vainly attempt to apply quantum mechanics to language teaching, practice martial arts and Zen Buddhism, and always keep one eye on the sky.
This entry was posted in day care, parenting, Paternity leave, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s