Manga artist says motherhood has fewer about quiet moments, more about sudden impacts than people imagine.

For generations, societal norms in Japan have shaken out that mothers handle the vast majority of the child-rearing duties while fathers throw themselves into their jobs to earn and provide for the family. One result of this phenomenon is that many Japanese people have far more tender childhood memories of the time they spent with Mom than with Dad.

You can see this reflected in pop culture media, as TV dramas, manga, and anime are filled with depictions of gentle, caring mothers who patiently and quietly support their children. But manga illustrator Yukari Takinami wants the world to know that real life motherhood isn’t always like the idealized version people imagine, and to that end sent out a photo comparison tweet showing what she says home life is really like for mothers of small children.

“Left: What people imagine when they hear about a mom spending time with her kids at home.
Right: Reality.”

While many people have the mental image of Mom serenely playing together with kids, the reality is far less relaxing. Young children often have far more energy than they know what to do with, and even in Japan, where good manners and politeness are deeply engrained in social interactions, in the privacy of their own homes kids can be rambunctious enough to make Mom feel like the referee at a pro wrestling match, faced with a frantically paced series of judgements to make about what is and isn’t allowed while simultaneously trying to keep herself out of harm’s way by avoiding flying bodies. As a matter of fact, sometimes Japanese moms can’t quite succeed at that last objective, as evidenced by the battle scars online commenters who agree with Takinami’s depiction of real-life motherhood.

“Exactly right. My son isn’t even two years old yet, and he still managed to bust on of my ribs.”
“My kid headbutted me, and after I heard a crunching sound, I found out my nose was broken. To this day, it’s still crooked.”
“When I was cleaning my ears, my five-year-old daughter tackled me and I tore my eardrum.”
“My kid stomped on my eyeball while I was sleeping.”

But just like athletes learn to play through pain, so too do some moms adapt. “When I’m really tired, I can keep sleeping even if both of my kids are jumping on my back,” boasted one battle-hardened mom.

Finally, some people noticed that the dad is missing from Takinami’s visual metaphor of home life with kids. “Maybe he’s supposed to be the announcer, keeping a safe distance by staying on the other side of the ropes,” theorized one commenter, but while the list of above injuries is indeed intimidating, a good dad knows that sometimes he’s got to step into the ring and do his part too.

Source: Twitter/@takinamiyukari via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Gatag/acworks