I just had a baby last year, and after my maternity leave went back to work. I like working, getting to use my brain in different ways, having a meal by myself, being able to go to the bathroom without worrying about the baby who's crying because you put him down for one minute...but I felt guilty. And not because he was in daycare - he loved daycare! And anyone who tries to make working parents feel bad for having a nanny/sitter or having their kids in daycare doesn't understand that having multiple caregivers is actually beneficial for children. But I felt guilty because I was only spending a few hours each day with my son, so I found a part-time job in my field that's only three days a week.
The problem is that most people don't qualify staying home (with or without kids) as work. Count out the hours as much as you like, but the truth is for most households whether the wife is stay-at-home or not, she does the majority of the housework. Working mothers also do the majority of the child-rearing as well. So if you were a young Japanese woman, faced with either a lifetime of work, housework, childcare, and no time for yourself, versus a life of housework, childcare and some time for yourself, which would you choose? I don't blame them. This isn't a problem of women being "lazy," but a product of a culture with a very low glass ceiling and a poor work-life balance.
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