Reply To: Nursery Parents

Thanks for sharing your experience, Pilaf! I’m sorry to hear that some teachers try to avoid you, I wish they would at least try to communicate to set a good example for the other kids.

 

DD, there was a comment on Twitter as well regarding your post. I’ll share it here so that other parents in the future can access it. The comment is from @HC_Be_My_Bride ↓

For mothers:

I honestly think that my “daily life” interactions (vs long-term, deep friendship interactions, which have always been solid) improved once I had my son. It was suddenly very clear to everyone what I was doing in Japan, and what my “job” there was (mama).

I’d often be the first to start chatting with other mums, to set them at ease (since my Japanese is fine for most things). I think even if someone’s Japanese isn’t great, they’d be able to muster a “kawaiiiiiii~” in regards to the other parent’s kiddo and that goes a long way! Although it’s basically song and dance, saying how “it’s so cool, you can teach my child JP, and I can teach yours FR and EN!” gets the vibe going, and shows that you get the type of interaction, and therefore it’ll be pretty easy to become mom-friends in their minds – obstacle overcome! And then over time you just naturally get closer.

Things I learned to NOT do/say (that turned things sour, unfortunately): talk about my husband taking a full year of paternity leave. Although the other women likely had their mothers/family while I didn’t, there was always a wistful/envious vibe about it being my husband at home. Maybe they had wanted their partner at home, and he couldn’t or wouldn’t… but, for whatever reason, it’s a somewhat sensitive topic that I found best avoided.

I also quickly realized not to speak much with the husbands which is so unfair because a parent is a parent! But, oftentimes (I’m convinced just to practice English) the father would want to chat with me. It created very bad vibes, and I always ducked out of it by basically answering the mum instead, smoothing things over. But I think that a part of their feelings of distaste for me (through no real fault of my own) remained. I sort of get it, bc once there was a mum who literally asked my husband on a playdate – just him – right in front of me. She kept stepping in between me and him, and the whole room of JP mums had my back and snubbed her completely afterwards. So… I sort of understand.

But, truly, meeting other mums and their kids is so much fun, and helped me integrate in JP in a different and very fulfilling way.

For fathers:

I think that the things I experienced/felt mostly still apply (see above).

With some of my friends who’ve become dads (although they’re JP), there’s a LOT more involvement in kids’ lives than there used to be, even if moms still typically fill the parenting role more. So if you’re at all nervous about it being weird that you’re a he, maybe it’s reassuring to know that you might not be the only guy around.

Although it’s sad, some of the mums might be intimidated… I guess if you feel like it might be the case, I’d try chatting mostly about the kids, how cute and clever they are, etc. rather than asking a lot about the women themselves. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but… in the interest of getting along well, if the group is more conservative (read: no other dads), then it’s just a possible thought. Because if they happen to be conservative, then you’re “intruding” on “women’s space” (I put those in quotes bc I personally think it’s hogwash, but you can read the room at preschool and decide).

My husband mostly made meaningful connections with other dads, if I’m thinking about it really lucidly. But when he took our son out, he always met and chatted with ppl (other moms, too!) casually and happily. So I really hope OP will have similarly positive experiences!