Series: Tackling Work-Life Balance (23)
My “Fun Childrearing Life” that Began with the Birth of My Child
Faculty of Commerce Professor
In Dec. 2012, the birth of my child significantly changed my life and how I use my time. I had lived a lifestyle focused on work and education and research activities, and had served at faculties and headquarters in positions that include Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Faculty of Commerce, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Academic Affairs Division, and Advisor to the Office of the President. However, my life changed when my child was born. With the consideration of my colleagues, I was able to relieve myself of my position and dedicate a lot of time to childcare and household affairs.
The new experience of “childrearing” was nothing but fun for me, and for the first year after birth I was able to give my child a bath 360 days out of the year. It was the start of a lifestyle I could not even entertain the thought of until then. Giving him baths was so fun that I would immediately be on my way home the moment a class or meeting ended. During that time, I made a conscious decision to prioritize household affairs over socializing, and I did whatever I could around the house, whether it was cleaning or washing dishes. As a couple, we spent joyous days raising our child.
What I Realized for the First Time When I Became a Parent
Becoming a parent broadened my perspective, and so I started to become aware of things that I had not noticed until then. When advising students, my perspective as a parent (guardian) came into play, and I think the way I interact with students changed (although students still say that my classes are hard to pass). Raising a child has made work more enjoyable (childrearing energizes my research and classes), creating a positive feedback loop. I have also grown closer to seminar graduates, and our relationships have evolved to the point where we feel like daddy friends together with family members.
Through childrearing, I have also learned to communicate with staff. As someone with less time restrictions than staff, I have started to think about staff work-life balance and workstyles. It goes without saying that staff are essential to the University’s operation. I especially feel that staff should be able to change their workstyles when raising children. Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to work from home, I do not think it has adversely affected work efficiency or productivity. Many affairs require in-person meetings, but there are also those that can be handled online, and so by introducing telework and reduced work hours on campus, and making adjustments so that childrearing does not completely interrupt one’s career, I think we can present a workstyle option that best utilizes our exceptional staff.
With regard to work-life balance, there is also an increasing number of staff who are being forced to balance work with caring for elderly parents. Enhancing support for nursing care, as well as childcare, and allowing faculty and staff to flexibly change their workstyles is what we should be striving for, and now is our chance to change things.
“Childrearing” is Actually “Parent-Rearing”
Last September I assumed my current position as Senior Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, and although I feel a different sense of weight and responsibility from when I was Associate Dean, my child’s presence encourages and rejuvenates me, providing me with mental comfort. When I look back, I barely had any time to relax right after my child was born, but it has become natural over time, and I have struck a good balance between research, education, my current position, and childrearing. I went in with the intention of raising my child, but it seems like it was my child who raised me.
■ Profile ■
Faculty of Commerce Professor. Doctor of Commerce. Became Director of the Faculty and School of Commerce in Sept. 2020. Research areas include economic policy and international economics. He is married with a son.
（by SANKAKU NEWS No.25）