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Columbia graduate who chose motherhood over career, China over US

2016-July-20       Source: Chinadaily.com.cn

Many overseas returnees come back with knowledge, ambition and a vision. Besides all these, a 24-year-old alumna of Columbia University arrived in Shanghai with another precious thing in life, her three-month-old son.

Hu Rujia at a port in San Diego, US in April, 2014. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Here are the excerpts:

Q: After graduating from one of the best universities in the world you decided to be a housewife instead of pursuing a professional career. Could you tell us a bit about what made you choose this path?

A: I credit the western culture for this. First, I don't think it's easy to be a housewife. From traditional Chinese perspective, stay-at-home moms are taken for granted to be appendage to their husbands and only professional women are worth being respected. But I think it's about household labor division and mother plays a crucial role in a family. I appreciate that I have the time to be with my son when he needs me the most.

Second, most Chinese young couples hand the baby-sitting job to their parents. It's really a Chinese-style of parenting, not common in the West. But I believe in the vital influence of family education on children. As an aside, I think many Chinese families meet children's needs in an upside-down manner. Parents allow their children to leave the nest for career development at an age when the kids need them most but tighten control when the children are mature enough to make their own decisions. It's unhealthy.

Q: Why did you choose China over US where you were already pursuing a future?

A: I didn't have any specific preference as far as career development was concerned. I did thought of working in the US for some years just to polish my resume, but I can't neglect my family or the need to be with my family in China.

Pregnancy interrupted my plan during the graduation season so I didn't try to find a job upon graduation. After giving birth, I also realized that parenting and work can't be managed well at the same time without the support of family. I particularly worried that we will not be able to provide our son a happy environment. Even though the salary upon graduation in the US is enough to lead a decent life, we would have still struggled to make deep roots in the American society as the threshold in some prestigious private schools is still very high for a family that is not well-connected like ours.

So, my husband insisted we move back to China for future growth.

Editor: Monica Liu

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