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Home People NY Times Features Rye Couple in "Wall Street Mothers, Stay-Home Fathers"

NY Times Features Rye Couple in “Wall Street Mothers, Stay-Home Fathers”

NYT Rye Dad Mom

A front page feature on The New York Times this Sunday on stay-at-home Dads and high-power working Wall Street Moms featured a Rye couple, Marielle Jan de Beur and Jim Langley. While Langley is Mr. Mom, Jan de Beur is a high powered research exec at Wells Fargo in town.

"Rye, N.Y., is not an obvious place to mount a stand against established social roles. The town, on the moneyed coast of Long Island Sound, has long been populated by bankers, including John J. Mack, the former chief executive of Morgan Stanley. The clubs at the end of Stuyvesant Avenue have dress codes and sports like lawn bowling, and despite high property taxes, the town has no school buses, a special torture for working parents.

But even Rye has a set of bankers with stay-at-home husbands, among them Ms. Jan de Beur, an executive in Wells Fargo’s research department, and her architect-turned-artist husband, Jim Langley.

When they married 13 years ago, some of Ms. Jan de Beur’s male colleagues scoffed, suggesting that she would become useless in the workplace. Marriage turned out to be one of her better career moves. By the time she became pregnant, her husband was working extremely long hours for an architecture firm that was pressuring him to relocate, and he made less than half of what she did. The solution seemed obvious.

Ten years later, the life they have put together feels comfortable and well ordered: two bright, talkative children, 10 and 7 years old; a white-clapboard house that feels more cozy than imposing; and time in a sunny third-floor studio for Mr. Langley, who keeps books of work by Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer on his shelves. He has moments of wonder with his children, like playing kickball during a summer rainfall and making anatomical sculptures from tree branches.

In interviews, Ms. Jan de Beur, driven and precise, praised her husband’s nurturing skills. Mr. Langley sounded proud if a bit taken aback by his wife’s success. “I’m aware of how lucky I am,” he said.

Still, his wife, along with other women in the same situation, suspects that the arrangement is harder on the men. Some of Mr. Langley’s peers say the chatter at backyard gatherings about bonuses can make them wince: If a half-million-dollar salary is considered unimpressive in some Wall Street circles, where does that leave them?

When people ask what he does, Mr. Langley could say artist — he gives the buildings and landscapes he paints expressive personalities of their own — but he has just begun trying to sell his work. Other fathers in similar situations say they often tell white lies: They are retired, they are consultants, they work at home.

Mr. Langley generally goes with “stay-at-home dad.”

“That’s what I call myself,” he said over lunch at a restaurant in Rye, the other tables filled with groups of women. “I wouldn’t say I like it.”

What response does he get?

“There’s usually a long pause,” he said…"

Read the entire piece.


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