For all the husbands reading this, who've brought their willing wives over from a far off country, who have traipsed over the water bringing children and a healthy dose of skepticism about living in Beijing - have you ever thought how much your other half has to endure just to sleep easy at night in the mega-metropolis of the Chinese capital?
Air pollution, food safety issues, a comfortable school, a safe place to cross the street or even just meeting new people to stave off the crazies a little bit - all of these face the average portable family as they embark on a two-year foray into to the great adventure that is China.
There are few people that can tell this tale and give it the respect it deserves, but Susan Conley has done just that. Not only did she endure all the chaos that makes this city what it is, but also found the time to beat breast cancer and knock out a memoir about the experience. Critically acclaimed by major newspapers like the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph, her memoir, called The Foremost Good Fortune is now available in bookshops around Beijing.
"I had to think hard to when I decided to become the trailing spouse," she says. "I wanted to move to China with kids and write a book. I don't think there's anything like it. Peter Hessler [author of Rivertown] is brilliant, but he doesn't have children, and I wanted to try and look at that a little."
It's her children, Thorne and Aidan who made her Beijing experience, and the book. Everything from the first day at school, to singing American anthems once they arrived in China as a way of dealing with the change, even the obligatory trip to Jenny Lou's, which is reduced to a sweet shop, or at least the only one in Beijing that sells Starburst.
"I wrote the book to be about motherhood. My kids star in the book; it's China through their eyes," Conley adds, "It's a celebration of the wonderful humanity of children they were at the perfect age to ask all the existential questions."
One of the key things she remembers looking back on her time was the challenge of feeding a family in a healthy way. While jiaozi were the food of choice for growing boys, a dairy-addicted American family had to dodge the bullets of melamine tainted milk and more.
In making her children the center of the book, it has been a cruel fate that upon release, the book shares a shelf with another woman who has looked into the issues of parenting in a foreign land; Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.
"I think Amy Chua had some really, really good PR advice to create this wedge between herself and American mothers," Conley smiles knowingly; she's just had the same conversation with a Chinese mother and child magazine.
"Some [mothers] I knew became furious, it touched a nerve because I think mothers have seen both sides.We've been told about schooling [here] and we know about the pressure cooker," she says. "For children my hours are all about trying to take a step back. I am a huge believer in imaginative play and learning through fun. But I also understand the dilemma here as there is so little access to higher education. I get it. I think it is a huge conundrum and they think they're doing their kids a good service."