RYE, N.Y. – It took Rye’s Susan Whelan more than two decades to write her book. The weird thing is, she didn’t know she was writing one.
Whelan, the mother of six children, released “The Scholar and The Housewife” in June. The book is a memoir written from the perspective of a mom, lawyer and businesswoman coping with cultural changes, societal pressures and business evolution over the past 20 years.
Whelan said she started jotting down thoughts for her children long ago. When her youngest daughter, Caroline, entered her senior year last summer at Rye High School, she gathered her thoughts into one memoir.
The book talks about the challenges of working mothers while also delving into changes in program trading, the volume of trades on the stock exchanges throughout the world, junk bonds, derivative transactions and international securities transactions and deregulation of the banking industry.
“While the technology changes, the actual message of the book is that everything seems to change, but nothing really does,’’ Whelan said. “The parenting issues I faced are the same ones faced now by my children.”
Whelan said she writes frequently every day, during quiet time early in the morning or late in the day. She started to put her thoughts together and showed her husband, Bill, who said she could consider publishing her memoirs. “It morphed into a book,’’ she said.
The lengthy time frame of Whelan’s memoir is remarkable. Her recollections date back to the Iraq war of then-President George H.W. Bush and through a dizzying transformation in technology, business, data processing and information sharing.
“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come,’’ Whelan said. “The interesting thing too is it’s a view from a mother’s point of view. But I’m amazed at how many men write to me that they’ve read it.”
Whelan practiced law on Wall Street and currently serves the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See as a legal expert/delegate to the United Nations, covering trade law and the law of the sea. She believes the challenges working women face today are even more than when she launched her career.
“The thing that has changed is that so many more women are working,’’ she said. “How is that affecting our children? The structures are not in place, the polices are not in place. Who’s home with the children? Who is showing them life lessons that are so important? There is a point where everything can’t be virtual. There has to be human contact.”
The book was published at the end of June and available on Kindle in July. When she reflects on it, she thinks the issues she encountered as a young mother were similar to the challenges her parents faced, and future generations will face.
“Many of the things are timeless,’’ she said. “The hardest thing as a young parent is to think that the other families don’t have to deal with the same issues. That’s just not the case. Everybody is trying to deal. Hopefully this gives that feeling to my children. I want them to know, ‘You were the same way.’’’