Missional Mothering in Japan

Missional Mothering in Japan

Being a stay at home mom did not feel quite natural for me for the first two or three years. Ok, so it’s only been three years, and I still feel uneasy at times.

I grew up knowing…I don’t think any…stay at home moms, and until college I rarely stepped into a home with biological father, mother, and children living under one roof. Stay-at-home mothering was not something I dreamed of, nor was it something I valued.

The ministry we worked with when Zoey was born made it easy, even encouraged, moms to stay at home.  In fact, they still labeled me a full-time employee, considering time spent mothering as contributing to those full-time hours! I could still be involved in the ministry; I even brought Zoey with me to campus regularly. But when I didn’t make it to campus, I regularly felt a nagging sense of insignificance for not “doing ministry.”

Hanging in my kitchen for over two years is an article titled Missional Mothering. These words have changed my paradigm,

Someone is going to be influencing your children, inculcating values and imprinting standards on their impressionable young minds. Let it be you! Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years.

“Wow!” I thought, “I actually have this privilege, and not all moms get it, and I am feeling guilty for not doing anything significant?!”  Zoey, Jonah and Chinami don’t think my work is insignificant, yet I still need to daily remind myself that this is a good, eternally significant investment of my time.

Not every mom has the option of staying at home with her kids, but not every mom has the option of going back to work either. This is largely the case in Japan for three reasons:

  1. Employers expect complete devotion to the company and long hours. So mothers aren’t employed and working women want to avoid getting pregnant.
  2. Japanese fathers are hesitant to ask for time off, as they are equally devoted to their companies.
  3. Full-time childcare centers have many families on the waiting list, and they’re not easy to afford. And part-time daycare centers are rare in Japan.

According to this BBC article, Japan is the worst developed country for working mothers.  70% of young mothers today are stay-at-home moms. It is likely that many of them have struggled with this calling, just as I have.

In Toyosu, the location of our church plant, the largest age demographic is 35-39 and the second highest is 0-4. This means there are tens of thousands of stay-at-home moms within walking distance of our future apartment who may reluctantly feel forced into their role, and I anxiously await the opportunity to love them and encourage them on the often lonely and under-appreciated road of stay-at-home mothering. I look forward to this calling, and the significant opportunity it provides me to be a part of recreating a vision for the glory of the ministry of the home.



  1. i liked reading this, but i have to admit i like zoey’s dandelion headband quite a bit too.

  2. Christy Colgan says:

    Love this! Praying for you tonight

  3. Please be in prayer for the Cornerstone Tokyo church near Shinjuku area, we are trying to get kids’ ministry started there. Pray that God will lay it on people’s hearts to serve in that way.

  4. thanks for insight on how to better pray for you!

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