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Japan's moms stressed while dads content with at-home parenting amid outbreak: poll

This April 20, 2020 file photo shows a father working while playing with his daughter and son in the family's living room. (Mainichi/Yuka Shimizu)

TOKYO -- As families are spending more time together at home amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, fathers tend to feel content with parenting duties while mothers get frustrated with their children and spouses, according to survey results revealed by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. on July 7.

The online survey queried 1,100 married men and women with children aged 6 or younger between June 12 and 15. Regarding their shifting parenting situation during this social distancing period, over 70% of responses from men were positive, with 20.9% responding, "I have come to play an active role in looking after my child," and 18.5% answering, "My bond with my child has deepened." Furthermore, 45.4% of male respondents answered that they were spending more time on parenting since they started staying home more, suggesting a general attitude of proactive participation in childrearing among men.

On the other hand, among women, "I have more instances where I'm irritated with my child," was the single most popular answer, given by 22% of the pollees. About 40% of female responses overall were negative, and spoke of stress about parenting. These included the statement, "I have more instances where I'm irritated by my husband's parenting," given by 11.3% of female respondents.

Positive answers such as "My bond with my child has deepened," clocked in at around half of recorded responses from women. Furthermore, one out of four stay-at-home mothers whose husband began working at home answered, "I don't want my husband to work from home going forward." When asked the reason, 36.4%, or the highest number of respondents, answered, "Tension arises in the family due to my husband being at home, which has a negative impact on my child."

Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance commented, "It appears that there are many women who are getting more frustrated as they cannot take part in parenting at their usual pace while day care centers are closed and husbands are increasingly working from home. It is important for married couples to communicate on a routine basis to close the gap between each person's views on parenting."

(Japanese original by Koki Mikami, Business News Department)

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