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Juggling career and parenthood: Mercari parents share their experiences. #Mercaridays

Hello! This is Riley from Mercari’s Language Education Team (LET). Last week, we hosted “Towards a Family-Friendly Mercari,” a lunch & learn event where Mercari parents shared what it’s like managing full-time work and their family.

This event was a collaboration between the Multicultural Community, one of Mercari’s D&I community groups, and #z-papamama, a community of new and experienced parents at Mercari who support and advise each other.

At the event, four parents from #z-papamama – Maya, Mao, Hiroyuki and Joshua – shared their thoughts about the challenges of balancing work and home life.

Members of #z-papamama

As someone who is relatively new to working in Japan and doesn’t have a family yet, I was able to learn a lot about the difficulties working parents face. One panelist spoke out about how Japanese elementary schools often schedule mandatory parental meetings early in the afternoon. This is done on the assumption that households would have a non-working parent who is free to attend, and doesn’t consider the difficulty this creates for single parents and dual-income households.

For me, there were several interesting takeaways from the event:

  • For many parents, time is limited – so they learn to manage their time at work more effectively in order to get home on time.
  • For working parents, flex time is really valuable. It not only allows parents to adjust their schedule when necessary to do things like pick up sick kids from school, but also enables them to spend more quality time with their children, for example in the morning before they go to school.
  • Culture, not just policy, determines whether a company is family friendly or not. Many companies have policies like paternity and maternity leave, but the company culture can make new parents feel guilty for taking them.

Mao, one of the panelists, had this to say about the event,

I was happy to talk about my experiences on stage. While balancing family and work is a never-ending challenge for moms and dads, there’s a profound joy in parenting. Mercari is a company with many benefits and a family-friendly environment. I hope the company will continue to be a place where all types of people can challenge themselves and find opportunities.

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The goal in organizing this event was to help Mercari members empathize with their fellow coworkers who have different circumstances from themselves. We are lucky to be surrounded by people of all walks of life in this company, and to have members who are willing to come on stage and speak openly and honestly about their feelings.

Thanks to the panelists and everyone who joined!

See you next time for more #MercariDays!

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