Mama-Sans of the Childcare Variety

Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?


As parents, finding quality childcare is one of those dreaded tasks that need attending to.  Whether a parent works outside the home, works from home, or is one of those oxy-moronic “stay-at-home” parents who occasionally needs to leave the house without her (or his) kids, finding the right person to care for our wee ones is of the utmost importance.

Many of us have found success with a facility or school that has been highlighted in our Schools Index.  But this isn’t always the right choice for every parent, every child, every family.  Some of us are looking for in-home care, and of the experienced Japanese “mama-san” variety.

Sure, lots of us hire these wonderful women to come into our homes to help with the cleaning, but did you know there are also some who are willing to look after our kids, too?  One reader, Emeka, is wondering how to find one of the latter:

I’ve been reading Okinawa Hai posts for hours and haven’t found anything related to finding/obtaining a mama-san to look after kids. To add more difficulty to the mix, I live on Kadena and would need to find a mama-san with on-base access. Do you have any resources to assist this search? only has American babysitters from what I’ve seen. Thanks for your help!

Who can help her out?  Have you ever hired a mama-san for the specific purpose of childcare?  How did you find her?  What are the rates that such a service can fetch?  Do you have any words of wisdom for a fellow parent?


  1. We are a dual military couple having our first child in Aug 2015. We are looking for a Mama-san M-F beginning in September 2015. We are willing to enter into a contract to include paying for holidays that you are not needed. If you are interested, or know anyone who is, please respond to this message to set up a meeting.


  2. Editor’s Note: Due to technical difficulties this comment was not saved on our server. We are re-publishing it now to continue the conversation on this post.

    From Meghan on 9/25/13:
    “I would love an update on this as well–who has had any luck with a Mama-san search recently?”

    • Editor’s Note: Due to technical difficulties this comment was not saved on our server. We are re-publishing it now to continue the conversation on this post.

      From Meghan on 9/22/13 (in reply to Melissa):
      “let me know if you have found anything. I too am looking”

  3. New to the island and looking for a babysitter. I saw great reviews for Baby Smile Okinawa. However, all of the reviews were dated. The most recent posting was from 2011. Does anyone have recent experience with Baby Smile? Thank you.

  4. I’m looking for a sitter, once or twice a week, morning. I’m on Camp Lester. How do i find a mama-san for my kids?
    Please help!

  5. I’m on Kadena and looking for a mamasan to watch my 3 month old and 3 year old sons as well. If anyone knows a lovely lady who is willing to look after my two boys and share a little of the local culture with them, please reply. Thank you!

  6. I am looking for the same on Kinser- 2kids, and returning to work with a full CDC. What are my options?? Driving out to Foster, or Chatan when We live and work here doesnt seem like a good idea. pls help

  7. Hi I currently live on Kinser and I am looking for a Mama-Son that can help with a 3 yr old and 7 yr old while I take college courses. The schedule is different every 8 weeks depending on class hours. It might be around 4 to 5 hours a day. Is this care that they can provide?


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