Returning to Work from Parental Leave: 4 Handy Childcare and Household Support Options in Japan

childcare & household

Working while raising children turned out to be more challenging than I imagined. Balancing work and childcare rarely goes according to schedule.

The days I plan to leave early! It never fails that I’m delayed due to unexpected issues and can’t make it in time for pick-up… Sigh.
The days I have an important presentation at a meeting! It’s always when my child falls ill… Sigh…

That’s just how it goes.

Working during the day, and being a mom at home afterward. When do I get a break?
Working full-time every day is exhausting, to say the least.
Back when I was a new working mom, I struggled to find the right balance and approach to both work and childcare, and I was completely drained.

Feeling like I might collapse, I started to think that relying on others and paying for help might lead to long-term happiness.

Today, I’ll be writing about the services that greatly helped me when I was exhausted from those early days of being a working mom, as I prepare to return to work after parental leave.
I hope it will be helpful for moms who are facing the same situation.


Housekeeping Services

For Cleaning, Go with “CaSy” or “Kids Line”

When our home starts to look disastrous, we often hire spot cleaning services. Although housekeeping services can handle various tasks like cooking, shopping, and laundry, we mostly rely on them for cleaning.
Because we were completely hooked after just one use.

In three hours, they make our living room, kitchen, toilet, bath, and bedroom sparkle from corner to corner. (We even tried two hours once, but it wasn’t enough time and they had to leave mid-job).
They usually use our own cleaning tools, but sometimes they bring their own familiar tools.
They also recommend cleaning products and give tips on organizing, which is really helpful.

I often request their services when I’m working remotely from home. It saves cleaning time, reduces stress from a messy home, and it’s satisfyingly cleaner than when I clean myself!

We use both CaSy (dispatch-type) and Kids Line (matching-type), but we mostly use CaSy because it’s easier to arrange. When CaSy isn’t available, we use Kids Line.

CaSy charges 3,490 yen per hour for spot cleaning (not regular cleaning). Since we request three hours of cleaning each time, it’s not cheap, but they do a job worth the price. (By the way, in the housekeeping industry, this seems to be relatively low pricing).
Kids Line’s prices vary depending on the skills and experience of the person you hire, but it generally falls within the same price range or slightly cheaper. Kids Line is mainly a babysitting service company, but they also offer cleaning services. If you’re already using Kids Line, definitely try requesting cleaning services as well.

For Decluttering and Organizing, Turn to “Taskaji”

Another service I recommend is Taskaji. Taskaji is also a matching-type housekeeping service company, but it has a group of professionals.
They have professional organizers, life organizers, chefs, etc., and you can request the person you want for the job.

When our house was in a complete mess and I couldn’t get it organized, I hired Taskaji for decluttering and organizing. They quickly organized everything, and their storage solutions were creative and fascinating.
My room became clean in no time, and I learned the importance of decluttering and trying not to accumulate too many things.

Online Grocery Shopping and Co-op

To save energy on grocery shopping, we use the co-op twice a week and supplement with online supermarkets when we run out of ingredients. We use six different services, we really use them a lot, haha. Each has its own strengths, so it’s convenient to use them according to your preferences.

Services and Features

  • Palsystem: High-quality food with a focus on safety.
  • Co-op: A wide variety of products at low prices, from groceries to children’s items.
  • Amazon Fresh: A rich selection of items like a combination of a pharmacy and a supermarket.
  • Life (via Amazon): A selection comparable to a supermarket, but items may be out of stock after ordering.
  • Seijo Ishii (via Amazon): Mainly food, expensive but delicious.
  • Ito Yokado: You can buy Seven-Eleven brand items. Delicious, but the taste may be too intense for children to get used to.

Frozen Food Delivery

In Japan, Nosh is a well-known frozen food delivery service, but we use Nichirei Foods Direct!

We’ve tried nosh before, but each delivery was too large for our freezer. I got tired of consuming everything in the freezer to make room for frozen deliveries, so I stopped using it.

Nichirei Foods Direct is:

  • Delicious
  • Healthy (you can choose themes like low sugar, low salt, low fat)
  • Compact (especially the “Woodish” series)

and has only good things… There are countless options, so you never get tired of it. They also have limited-time products according to the season!
I particularly like the Woodish series and buy them in bulk.

Babysitters and Sick Child Care

When plans suddenly change, when I want to go out alone, or when my child falls ill while I’m at work, I use babysitters. We use three companies: Kids Line, Poppins Sitter, and Care Finder, and all the sitters from these companies are highly professional and make my child happy.

Services and Features

  • Kids Line:
    • Matching type where users search for their desired sitter.
    • Face-to-face or online meetings with sitters are mandatory before booking. Not necessary for rebooking the same sitter.
    • No admission or annual fees. There is no monthly fee, and you only pay for the hours you use. Prices vary depending on the sitter’s skills and experience.
    • Many sitters are available. Many sitters also offer sick child care.
  • Poppins Sitter:
    • Matching type where users search for their desired sitter. However, there is an auto-matching function if you provide conditions.
    • No admission or annual fees. There is no monthly fee, and you only pay for the hours you use. Prices vary depending on the sitter’s skills and experience.
    • All sitters are highly skilled and well-educated, but there are fewer sitters who offer sick child care.
  • Care Finder:
    • Matching type where users search for their desired sitter, especially for sitting in a foreign language.
    • You need to pay a monthly fee to be able to search for sitter details. Prices vary depending on the sitter’s skills and experience.

When requesting sick child care, we use Kids Line and Poppins Sitter.


For those returning to work after parental leave, here are the convenient childcare and household support services that I recommend:

Housekeeping Services:

  • CaSy
  • Kids Line
  • Taskaji

Online Grocery Shopping and Co-op:

  • Parusystem
  • Co-op
  • Amazon Fresh
  • Life (via Amazon)
  • Seijo Ishii (via Amazon)
  • Ito Yokado

Frozen Food Delivery:

  • Nichirei Foods Direct

Babysitting and Sick Child Care:

  • CaSy (for sick child care)
  • Kids Line (for sick child care)
  • Care Finder

If you’re a mom preparing to return to work or feeling a bit tired after returning, I encourage you to try these services and experience their benefits.

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