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They had no example to follow, but when they became fathers, they started caring for their children full time. We talked with fathers who had abandoned their careers for an unblazed trail, asking about their private lives and the effect their choice has had on their work.

Péter is on paternity leave with his 15-month-old son. Szabolcs was at home with his first child, starting when she was six months old, until she turned three. What motivated this decision, and how conscious was this change of roles? Péter is a teacher. His wife works at a mid-sized private company. Money and career goals were the main factors. "We sensed that if my wife did not return to work they would get rid of her. I thought a 'rest' would be nice - although I didn't get what I bargained for." Szabolcs and his wife are both doctors. They work hard, but to a flexible timetable, and his wife's career aims were a factor for them as well. "My wife hadn't been working for eight months. She was getting bored. My paternity pay was much higher, as well. My wife continued to care for our daughter, taking the lead after work and at weekends."

Both men were worried about missing out on a proper parent-child relationship. Péter remembers his child's first year thus: "I missed the moment when Ákos first started crawling, when he first stood up. Now I'm at home with Ákos all day, so I don't miss out." Szabolcs's wife stayed at home with the first child. "My son was growing up and I hardly ever saw him. My relationship with my daughter is much closer. Her mother comes first, but I come immediately afterwards."

Both men had the same views about role models. They knew of nobody else in their families or circles of acquaintances. They modelled their childcare on their wives', but mostly they learned on the job. Péter was worried that "I'd be here alone with our son, and I'd have to take care of him. Could I do it like my wife? I had never been in that kind of situation before. I'm a man, and I thought I hadn't been born to do this, it wasn't in my genes. But now I know what I have to do, and it's not so hard after all. You actually need a lot of patience." Szabolcs was not influenced by others' examples, nor was he interested in the outside world's attitude. His own fears disappeared quickly. "I was a bit worried at first, but then I began to enjoy it. My wife didn't mind, and nor did she encourage me. We didn't discuss it  as if this were completely alien: it seemed natural."

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