I’m Joshua, an American who has been living in Japan for 5 years. I met my wife shortly after moving here, and we had our first son just as COVID got started in the world.
A common thing I say is that it’s hard to differentiate the source of stress when I’ve only experienced parenthood during a pandemic. Similar to other posts I’ve read, it’s been difficult to raise a child without any family members present for support.
I’m grateful that my career in programming has been stable, and easily done remotely so I can be present for my s wife and son every day.
That all being said, we rarely spend time with other people, and don’t really know what to do when it comes to external support for our family. I’m hoping that any dialog on here may be beneficial.
I was reading a book about child-rearing by a psychologist several months ago and I wasn’t able to get through the beginning because she was emphasizing how much of a family and community effort it is to raise a child. But many of us in Japan don’t have that, with living in another country and then the pandemic on top of it. It’s absolutely parenting on hard mode, especially when it’s your first child.
My husband also works remotely (IT too) and it is amazing having the extra time with him since he doesn’t have to commute. So that’s one silver lining. It wouldn’t have been possible without the pandemic.
Like you, I’m hoping this community also provides some helpful information for parents who are doing this entirely alone and can be a source of support, however small it may be.
We don’t have a lot of external support either. Only recently have I made any friends that I would even consider asking to watch my child if there was some sort of major (MAJOR) emergency, and I met them both through my work and they have similarly aged kids. It’s pretty scary sometimes because you never know when something will come up!
That’s a very good point, I think there’s only one person somewhat nearby that I could ask to watch my daughter if there was an emergency, and even then I think it would be hard for her given that she will soon have two kids under three… My in-laws could come on the shinkansen but it would still take three hours.
I hope this doesn’t sound weird but I’m pretty sure I know your wife and son! I reached out after seeing her post on one of the Facebook parent groups after seeing that we live in the same ward, and then we found out that we live in the same area, and have met up twice in the nearby park 😀
We tried to meet up again late last year, but between plans and sickness it didn’t work out 🙁 I really want to meet up again, and it would be great to meet you too sometime!!