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What I Learned Being a Stay at Home Dad

1
As my father used to tell me, how you feel about life depends on your initial expectations.

You see, I am an academic. I began my career when I got in physics undergrad school by the age of 16. I then did pretty much what all academics do, went to grad school and got my Ph.D.

I was extremely career focused and became a Ph.D. in atomic physics by the age of 28. Before I turned 30 I already had a tenured track position at a great institution.

It was when my wife got pregnant that we were faced with some pretty tough choices. The thing is, my wife

theFMLYman.com
2
and I come from different countries. I am Brazilian and she is Swedish. Even though she was living with me in Brazil at the time, she and I agreed that it would be better for the baby to be born in Sweden and at least spend the first couple of years of her life in Scandinavia.

This decision could only mean one thing. My career, that which I built over the years with so much blood and sweat, was to be put on hold.

Now I find myself on a long career break to take care of my little girl as a stay at home dad while my wife is the sole bread winner in

theFMLYman.com
3
our family.

The first few months were tough. Having picked up my career path so early, I have piled up a lot of expectations and an image of what my life would look like. Needless to say, being a stay at home dad was not in the scenario.

This led to a very harsh part of my life in terms of depression and anxiety.

The abrupt change from a respected academic professional to a home dad left me with some strange feeling of emptiness. This had a considerable impact in the way I was connecting with my child.

In order to get out of that sinking

theFMLYman.com
4
place I had to revisit my very self image. I had to readjust expectations and redefine my own self worth.

This journey led to so many new epiphanies and realizations.

Most importantly, by being a stay at home dad I learned to dissociate the idea of ”who I am” from ”what I do for a living”! You see, I am not a physicist. This was merely my job.

I then spent a considerable time to identify what I really treasured as a true core value in my life. That is when realized that what led me to physics was both my love for the discipline and my own

theFMLYman.com
5
particular need and desire to make a positive impact in the world around me.

The amazing conclusion that hit me was that I can actually enjoy both things while taking care of my precious daughter as a stay at home dad. And it actually feels great!

I know there are many brilliant hard working men going through the same thing now and one message I have for them is that very phrase that saved me from that dark corner I resided in for a long period after my baby was born.

”You are not your job”

You are actually a lot more than that. If you are

theFMLYman.com
6
going through something similar then take a very thorough introspective look at everything you hold dearest. Find your core values and cherish them. Regardless of what your life-work situation is.

You are way more than what you do for a living.

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- 30th May 19

As my father used to tell me, how you feel about life depends on your initial expectations.

You see, I am an academic. I began my career when I got in physics undergrad school by the age of 16. I then did pretty much what all academics do, went to grad school and got my Ph.D.

I was extremely career focused and became a Ph.D. in atomic physics by the age of 28. Before I turned 30 I already had a tenured track position at a great institution.

It was when my wife got pregnant that we were faced with some pretty tough choices. The thing is, my wife and I come from different countries. I am Brazilian and she is Swedish. Even though she was living with me in Brazil at the time, she and I agreed that it would be better for the baby to be born in Sweden and at least spend the first couple of years of her life in Scandinavia.

This decision could only mean one thing. My career, that which I built over the years with so much blood and sweat, was to be put on hold.

Now I find myself on a long career break to take care of my little girl as a stay at home dad while my wife is the sole bread winner in our family.

The first few months were tough. Having picked up my career path so early, I have piled up a lot of expectations and an image of what my life would look like. Needless to say, being a stay at home dad was not in the scenario.

This led to a very harsh part of my life in terms of depression and anxiety.

The abrupt change from a respected academic professional to a home dad left me with some strange feeling of emptiness. This had a considerable impact in the way I was connecting with my child.

In order to get out of that sinking place I had to revisit my very self image. I had to readjust expectations and redefine my own self worth.

This journey led to so many new epiphanies and realizations.

Most importantly, by being a stay at home dad I learned to dissociate the idea of “who I am” from “what I do for a living”! You see, I am not a physicist. This was merely my job.

I then spent a considerable time to identify what I really treasured as a true core value in my life. That is when realized that what led me to physics was both my love for the discipline and my own particular need and desire to make a positive impact in the world around me.

The amazing conclusion that hit me was that I can actually enjoy both things while taking care of my precious daughter as a stay at home dad. And it actually feels great!

I know there are many brilliant hard working men going through the same thing now and one message I have for them is that very phrase that saved me from that dark corner I resided in for a long period after my baby was born.

You are not your job

You are actually a lot more than that. If you are going through something similar then take a very thorough introspective look at everything you hold dearest. Find your core values and cherish them. Regardless of what your life-work situation is.

You are way more than what you do for a living.

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