ME DÁ LICENÇA - © KARIN HUECK

Mauricio Svartman,
37, screenwriter
How he took his leave: he was a freelancer when his son was born. He went back to work when the baby was 4 months old. Since month 9, he has been working from home again.

Photo courtesy of Mauricio Svartman

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I had many expectations of how I could be the perfect father and husband before my son was born, but the lack of sleep made everything difficult. I am not proud of my performance with household chores at that time. I cooked a lot less than I should, didn't sweep or wipe the floor, those things.


 

My father never changed a diaper or washed dishes. After I got back working from home in October and became a homemaker, there is always the hope that I will return to the office. This expectation never happened to my wife when she stayed at home. If she decided to stay home for ever, my parents would find it normal. Even today my mother says I'm a "mather," (a father+mother) because I do so much for our child –and I do as much as the mother.


 

These days, a cousin told me that her husband, a surgeon, took more shifts in the hospital than he needed when they had their first child, because he rested more in the hospital than at home. She told me thinking it was funny, and I condemned his attitude, but I confess that I also felt grateful every time I went to the supermarket or picked up the laundry.


 

I've always been a little bit depressive and this is something that can't be cured with a child. But being a father gave me a sense of meaning. Before him, I was not afraid to die. Now I am. I want to see him grow. And I may be on a heavy, sad day, but when I pick him up at school, my mood changes instantly. I love that little thing more than anything I've ever loved.

"When our son was born, I felt I was doing everything necessary. But, months later, my wife told me she’d hoped I had done more. I think I can trust her opinion in this case".

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