We caught up with Jennifer Rogers, an American woman raising her growing family in Shanghai, to learn more about what makes mothering in China so special. She shared her insights, delights (and some fears!) with us for our series on mamas raising their children far away from their normal lives for our series, #MotherlyAbroad.
Tell us about your life and family. . . .
I’m a mother to two little ones—Kael four-years -old and Pippa two-years-old.
Before becoming a mother I worked in a small boutique in Philadelphia helping women find the perfect outfit for their needs.
I had dreams of one day opening my own store , to me there is nothing more satisfying than helping a woman feel her best for a special occasion or even just in her day to day life, however motherhood took over.
I am—for now—happily a stay-at-home-mom.
I am currently expecting my 3rd child, a little girl, and busy nesting trying to make our home here in Shanghai perfect for her arrival.
We ended up in Shanghai in quite the fast and furious manner.
In June of 2014 my husband’s company came to him asking if he would be interested in an overseas assignment thinking that he wouldn’t really get it he threw his name in the hat.
By October 2014 we were on a plane with our children moving to Shanghai, China.
For sure the most daring and adventurous ( not to mention scariest ) decision of our lives.
On giving birth in Shanghai. . .
My first two children were born in the United States so this baby will be my first delivery overseas here in Shanghai.
At first I was a little nervous about it mainly because I couldn’t really picture it and had so many questions.
What would the hospitals be like?
Would the doctors speak English? Etc.
After meeting many many women who have given birth here I am much more comfortable.
I am delivering at and awesome private international hospital (Red Leaf) and have a great doctor caring for me.
The most wonderful thing about mothering in Shanghai. . .
I love that my children are exposed to so many different cultures.
My son goes to a private international school here that is attended by children from all over the world.
I think it is exciting that he gets to learn about their culture and different traditions. I also love the traveling we get to do with them.
They are have seen some incredible places at such a young age.
As an American, what I find most fascinating is. . .
I still cant get over the traffic and modes of transportation here in Shanghai.
On a random Monday afternoon you may see a family of three on a scooter with the mother on the back holding her newborn baby.
The baby will be sleeping the father is driving and the mother is calm as a cucumber. Meanwhile in the U.S. we have our children strapped in like sardines in carseat ( as they should be.)
At 10 am on weekends, you can find me and my family. . .
We are normally downtown Shanghai trying out a new coffee shop or on our way to try a new restaurant for brunch. Shanghai is HUGE and even after being here a year there is so much we haven’t seen or tried.
This Chinese cultural tradition about motherhood is something I have tried to practice. . .
Unlike in the U.S. when it is not uncommon for women to have two, three, or four children, here in Shanghai most families only have one child and boy oh boy do they dote on them.
It is not uncommon to see three people at once attempting to help a child out of their coat.
Their child is truly their world and I love this.
Although I can’t do it all the time I make sure to make a fuss over my kids they are only little once and I’m sure it makes them feel special.
Growing my family abroad. . .
I knew coming to Shanghai that I was going to grow my family here.
One thing that I have tried to do is not let this move put my life on hold.
I like the idea of my children growing up close so that meant that I didn’t want to wait the three years till we were back in the States to have another baby.
Once I realized I could get quality safe maternity care here me and my husband were excited at the thought of one of our children being born in Shanghai.
I hope my children learn that. . .
Having mixed children I hope that being here they come to see that being different is beautiful.
I hope they see that there are so many amazing cultures, religions, races and traditions outside the United States.
You should also know that. . .
This was the scariest decision of my entire life me and my husband come from two large families ( 5 children on each side ) leaving our nest and creature comforts (Target) was incredibly hard.
However by taking the leap me and my family have grown closer and I now have a larger understanding and appreciation of the world and all its beautiful people.