旦那の独り言 31: カナダでパパになる!(being a dad in Canada)

Canada landscape

Pre-baby!

カナダでパパになる!男の育児 in Canada. ヒトシの体験を元に、カナダの男の育児について軽く話していきます。

One aspect of Japanese culture that shocked me at the time and continues to make me feel sad is the idea of “family service”. In other words, men who have families should stay home on Sunday and spend time with their family. Calling it “service” brings to mind volunteering or even a burden.

I get it and I saw it. The men I heard it from were salarymen. They were at work long hours and often had company commitments on at least one weekend day. They “gave” one day each week to their family that rarely saw them.

This approach was not what Hitoshi wanted. He has often said that the opportunity to spend as much time with our child as he does easily cancels sacrifices and frustrations we have experienced living in Canada. Several of his close friends in Japan are dads to young kids. They have bent to the point of breaking to try and balance work with their families. The exhaustion is palpable but their kids need them as much as they need their kids.

What is it like to be a dad where you live? If you had a dad at home, what are your memories from when you were young? Comments in English and Japanese are welcome!

Listen to Hitoshi’s podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes or the player in this post.

Follow Hitoshi on Twitter @JCM_Annex

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9 thoughts on “旦那の独り言 31: カナダでパパになる!(being a dad in Canada)

  1. I’ve heard that dads have a hard time in Japan, balancing family time and work. They work such long hours! In Scandinavia, where I grew up, people usually don’t work a lot and the dad is entitled to paternal leave. In Dubai I think it’s much tougher, as you generally work longer hours. Some people only have one day off a week.

    • Yes! They do work such long hours and I think it has impacted family structure and values for so long that it’s hard to change and has directly contribued to some of the issues faced today. I feel exasperated sometimes for my female friends re: all the harping from governments about having more babies to “solve” problems with the shrinking workforce. I feel like those blabbing the message have forgotten that it takes two to tango.

      What is the average workday in Dubai? Does it cross socioeconomic bands?

  2. Yes, it definitely took some time for my husband to get to the point of being able to act on his priorities. While I was building my business (I’m a holistic health coach), he was most definitely the primary breadwinner and felt a lot of pressure to stay in a job that was sucking the soul out of his body. As he began to discover what would really make him happy in this life, we were able to slowly start making changes over time to get to a place where we could make that a reality. We are a very busy family (both of us are training for triathlon, I own a business, he works and is trying to create a business, etc), but we’ve been fortunate to find the flexibility needed to make change. As my business grew and became more financially stable, it afforded us an opportunity to make a bigger change. That’s where we are today, and while it can be scary some days, its an amazing place to be 🙂

    • Thanks for your wonderful comment! I’m sorry for taking so long to reply. How did your hubby figure out what would “make him happy in his life” as you say? This is something I have struggled with and have tried a few approaches and I’m always curious to find out how others made headway, knowing it’s very personal.

      • A lot of it was trial and error, but on some level he always knew what he wanted to do…it was about getting over the fear of moving forward on his dream. I think most of us know what we’d like to do on a daily basis if all the constraints were pealed away. It’s about finding a way to actually take action on that amidst the constraints of life that’s the trick ❤

        • And how are you almost two months later! Thanks again for your comments about finding something that fits. I agree that fear is a big obstacle. It’s so much easier sometimes to stay put and keep puttering along than to take a leap of faith (so cliche but I still think it’s true!) I finished reading The Art of Work by Jeff Goins a while back. It’s about finding your calling and the how to part is captured through all the stories. It’s been nice timing since hubs and I are moving towards our newest set of dreams. 🙂

          • I’m doing really well Hilary – thanks for following up! 🙂 We, too, are in a new and exciting phase of life and its incredible that we’re both open to taking those steps. We each have our own paths that we’re following and the one we are walking down hand in hand as a couple. Pretty cool! 🙂

  3. I’m really happy to see more men prioritizing the role of dad in the way that you and Hitoshi advocate. The ‘traditional’ dad who works long hours, comes home after the kids are asleep, and only spends time with the family on weekends is a huge bummer. In my home, my husband prioritizes his life and then fits work around it. He has certain activities that he does with our son virtually every day that are special to just the two of them – its beautiful. I hope that more dads start to pick up this baton and truly embrace what it means to be a F A M I L Y ❤

    • Thanks for your comment! That’s great that your hubby is able to figure out something that works with your son. Did it take time to make things work? I think it’s so important for kids to have access to both parents if that is the reality. But I realize that not everyone has that luxury. It’s so tough in the Japanese context to do something out of the norm. Men are often the breadwinner and company expectations are beyond what I feel are acceptable. Yet, going against the grain can get you in trouble so it takes courage to do it. Of course, not all companies subscribe to the traditional model but I feel that most do and until more companies are strong enough to challenge the status quo, the struggles will continue.

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