One might think that after raising six children, working as a lawyer, and volunteering in countless capacities, it would be time for a mother to kick up her heels and chill. Not Susan Whelan.
By Georgetta L. Morque
One might think that after raising six children, working as a lawyer, and volunteering in countless capacities, it would be time for a mother to kick up her heels and chill. Not Susan Whelan. Last year, as soon as her youngest daughter, Caroline, was in her senior year at Rye High School, Whelan gathered all that she had jotted down over the past two decades and turned them into a memoir, “The Scholar and The Housewife,” published last month.
In between her nonstop schedule, Whelan has written for her own enjoyment on a daily basis, often in the early hours before her husband, Bill, or her children were up. The end result is a book of 140 short chapters that highlight both the personal challenges of working while having and raising a family, as well as the political and social events of the time.
Whelan, who practiced law on Wall Street and currently serves the Holy See as a legal expert and Delegate to the United Nations, writes about Wall Street during the global expansion and technology boom, bank failures, the junk bond market, merger craze, housing and dotcom bubbles, along with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the crash of the space shuttle Challenger, and the First Gulf War. She draws inspiration from leaders, including the late banker John McGillicuddy, President George H.W. Bush, James Baker, and Mother Teresa, while exploring how to pass on their qualities to her children.
She examines the difficulties of learning to be a good mother and using everyday life lessons from international, national and local issues, events and personalities to raise children with good moral values who will be productive citizens. Whelan recounts fun, personal stories of children and friends, and the importance of family and religion. Most significantly, she questions whether culturally, socially and politically our country has recognized that, as times have changed and more women work, the job of teaching and caring for children well has become marginalized. Are we seeing the results of this neglect educationally, socially, and economically? she asks.
With much food for thought about work/life balance, raising children, and our challenging world today, Whelan poses understanding and innovative solutions for a way forward. “The Scholar and The Housewife” is available at Arcade Booksellers and Scissors on the Sound.