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Rocah Announces Bid for Westchester County District Attorney

Rocah Announces Bid for Westchester County District Attorney

Scarsdale’s Mimi Rocah , who has developed a big following from her appearances as...

Letter from Mayor Marc Samwick: The Community is Invited to a Meeting About Proposed Development at Freightway

Letter from Mayor Marc Samwick: The Community is Invited to a Meeting About Proposed Development at Freightway

To the Editor: The Village Board of Trustees is pleased to invite residents, mer...

Sarah Wolfson Marries Joseph Butler III in Nashville

Sarah Wolfson Marries Joseph Butler III in Nashville

On November 23, 2019, Sarah Elizabeth Wolfson, a native of Scarsdale, married Jo...

Two from SHS Honored for their Work with Local Immigrants

Two from SHS Honored for their Work with Local Immigrants

Two with roots in Scarsdale were honored for their work helping immigrants get e...

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The Kids are All Right

hartsdaleWe recently had a reunion dinner of the "train ladies" from the 7:58 am Metro North train from Scarsdale to Grand Central. When I first moved to Scarsdale I became a part of this informal group of moms who commuted together and formed our own mobile coffee klatch and support group.

Five days a week, we arrived at the platform breathless from the race to make lunches, tell the babysitter who was going where, and put ourselves together in professional attire. On more days than not, one of us would have our skirt hem jammed into the waistband, (rear exposed), had a run in a stocking or realized that we'd left the house wearing shoes from two different pairs! All this before the workday had even begun.

When the train pulled in to the station, we elbowed the men for the seats and jammed in together for a solid 35-minute download on whatever was going on at home. One train lady used the time to apply her make-up, another to munch on an energy bar. My specialty was balancing an uncovered cup of coffee -- that more days than not-- would end up overturned on the floor, sending a stream of hot liquid trickling beneath the seats into someone's briefcase. Conversation focused on the kids, failed tests, scary teachers, bullies and sports team tryouts. As the years passed the discussion about the playground yielded to woes about middle school house placements, advanced math, the SAT's, tutors and finally to college applications.

Through it all, we wondered silently and out loud if our kids were suffering from our absence. It was a commonly held belief that the kids of working moms got the worst teachers as we were not there to buddy up to the principal or "get in good" with our children's current teachers. The same thought applied to the highly competitive youth soccer teams where our kids were often told they didn't make the grade. Were they "on the bubble" and not on the team due to the fact that we were not there to befriend their coaches?

The situation posed daily challenges. When our kids forgot their homework or their i-dont-know-how-she-does-it-dvd-cover-94lunch – there was often no one at home to bring it to school. So on top of bearing the guilt of not being there to help, grades suffered and stomachs growled. But since we had mortgages, tax payments, camp fees and even our own student loans to pay off there simply was no choice but to buy our monthly passes and keep the trains running.

And then there were the stay-at-home moms who could have helped out but realized their efforts would never be reciprocated. At times they didn't invite our kids into the carpools because when it was our turn to drive, it was the babysitter behind the wheel. On half days, when moms would make plans to take their kids to lunch, our kids were not invited. No one could blame them –the disparities came with the territory.

But getting back to the main question: would there be long-lasting effects for the children of working moms? Would they turn out to be less confident, less successful, or even worse, unhappy?

As I was enjoying dinner with my former train buddies the other night I started to reflect on that question – and inquired about all of their children. As it turns out, for the most part they were doing well, in fact very well. Most had graduated college, or graduate school and were gainfully employed at jobs they actually enjoy. After work they play on teams, play in bands and party hardy. If they lost out in anyway because we worked when they were young, it is difficult to see the impact now.

Though memory has cast a rosy glow on the time my three kids were home, it now seems that perhaps the children accrued some benefit from being children of working moms. They learned self-sufficiency and people skills, as they had to adapt to a series of babysitters who took the place of their moms. When they had a problem with a teacher, they couldn't call on us to step in so had to find a way to resolve it themselves. Maybe they also saw that work had its rewards and modeled their own professional aspirations on their parents' success. Whatever the reasons, as parents, our decision to work does not appear to have adversely affected our children's lives.

I asked a few of the "train moms" for their thoughts on this issue and here is what they said:

"It was quite the challenge jugging motherhood with a demanding career. And certainly, I had moments when I ruminated on whether my absence from the girls was harmful to them in any way. I simply didn't know. There were no studies, no longitudinal data surrounding this issue. We were on uncharted ground. Here's what I know now. I have two, healthy, loving children, each prospering in their respective careers. They have made it clear that my path influenced theirs, for which they are grateful. So am I." (P.N.)

"My working gave my son and daughter the freedom to develop their individuality without worrying about my reactions to their missteps. Had I been a stay at home mom I would have been overly invested in my children's every action. This would not have been good for my kids or me. So my job gave us the distance we needed to develop and maintain our authentic selves." (M.F.)

"Finding work/life balance is essential. My sons understood that my career was part of who I am and respected me for it. They knew what I was working on and showed interest in it. Over time, they had as many opinions about my projects as I had about their homework. What worked for my family was spending a lot of time together – both quality time and just time." (A.S.)

"There are many paths to happiness. We chose the one that was right for our family. My work has always been an important part of who I am. When you feel good about what you do and what you have accomplished your kids feel it and flourish. Oh, and having a great husband and babysitter doesn't hurt either." (S.D.)

Of course this is not a scientific study and the sample size is not statistically significant. But anecdotally, it does appear that the children of the working parents are thriving along with their friends whose mothers were home. All of us might tend to congratulate ourselves and we did. After all those frenzied train trips, moments of apprehension and panic, we can now safely say the kids are all right.

JoanneJoanne Wallenstein is the Publisher of Scarsdale10583.com and a former train lady who worked in the city when her kids were at home – and now works at home while her kids work in the city.

Good Work

SETTING

Rocah Announces Bid for Westchester County District Attorney

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Scarsdale’s Mimi Rocah , who has developed a big following from her appearances as a legal analyst on MSNBC, announced that she is running for Westchest...

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Around Town

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Letter from Mayor Marc Samwick: The Community is Invited to a Meeting About Proposed Development at Freightway

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You're Invited: Scarsdale’s Annual Holiday and Tree Lighting Ceremony-Friday, December 6 from 5 -7pm

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Sarah Wolfson Marries Joseph Butler III in Nashville

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On November 23, 2019, Sarah Elizabeth Wolfson, a native of Scarsdale, married Joseph Daniel Butler III, originally of Elon, NC. The wedding took place...

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Eighth Grade Jazz Band Performs at Scarsdale Woman's Club

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Former SHS Teacher Maggie Favretti Continues Groudbreaking Work in Design Thinking and Community Resilience

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Scarsdale Featured in NY Times Real Estate Section

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Arts and Entertainment

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Programs for Scarsdale Kids