top of page

Modern Husbands Ambassadors: Dan and Kim Kadlec

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

We are proud to highlight Dan and Kim Kadlec as Modern Husbands Ambassadors who embody the values and spirit of the Modern Husband community by partnering with their spouses to manage money and the home as a team.


Not every Modern Husband wants to be highlighted as an Ambassador, but many seek community, which is why we created the Modern Husbands Community Facebook Group.


Watch how Dan and Kim Kadlec worked together to stay happily married while supporting each other's careers and managing their money and home.







​The Division of Labor (3:28)

​Career Support (1:58)

​Happy Marriage Tips (1:21)

Listen or watch Dan Kadlec on the Modern Husbands podcast discuss in greater detail how Dan and Kim were able to support each other's careers and raise three children while being happily married.


Email brian@modernhusbands.com if you want to learn how to nominate a married couple or yourselves to be Modern Husbands Ambassadors.

 

Thank you for reading. We rely almost entirely on selling our Money Marriage U Courses and supporters to fund Modern Husbands.

 

Dan Kadlec's essay originally appeared on Medium, and articulates the practicality of being a Modern Husband or Lead Dad.

The aha moment for me came as I was shuttling my 12-year-old daughter, Lexie, and five of her girlfriends to an after-school birthday party. What the heck was I doing, anyway? I had calls to make, deadlines to meet. Yet here I was playing Jeeves to a bunch of middle schoolers in the heart of a workday.


When we picked up Julia, Lexie scrambled into the back to sit near her. No way was she going to be the dork riding shotgun next to dad. Next, we stopped for Alex, then Virginia and Melissa. Each additional passenger elevated the level of what would become a deafening chatter. As the parent in charge, I wondered if I should insist that the girls settle down. Texting from behind the wheel would be less distracting. But the girls were having so much fun, and we were almost at the party. I decided to let it go.


Shortly, it became clear that even my daughter seemed to have forgot I was the one driving. I had become an invisible chauffer inescapably eavesdropping on 12-year-olds’ gossip. Who had a crush on whom? Which boys had been in a fight on the playground? Now I knew. When Move Bitch came on the car radio, the girls sang every explicit lyric along with Ludacris. They know I can hear them, right? In my silence I found myself absorbing juicy intel and getting an impromptu primer on hip-hop; the clamor now seemed more of a blessing than a distraction.


Few of my colleagues had any clue who lived in a pineapple down under the sea. I will never forget.


I had many reasons for switching up my professional life and moving to a home office — decades before Covid. Mainly though, it came down to my wife’s career demands being less accommodating than mine and our shared judgment that the fast-approaching teen years would require supervision on the home front beyond nannies and babysitters. We needed a gatekeeper with a real stake. So, I took the at-home plunge.


As entertaining as it was hearing the girls savage Sean’s new haircut and dis Miss Roscoe’s frumpy dress, the real reward was in this otherwise unattainable raw glimpse of my daughter’s life. Lexie unplugged. I endured the din willingly, thankful for the moment. Work calls and deadlines could wait. This front-row seat to my kids’ lives is what I signed up for.


In case you haven’t processed the WWE mention, the dad-bus episode I just related occurred 20 years and many teen crises ago, when celebrity wrestlers Lesnar and The Rock — and me the at-home dad — were in our prime. I’ve been a deeply involved father from the start, sharing the yucky stuff like diapers and doctors. Only recently have I come to understand there may be something modestly noteworthy about that.


Little more than half of fathers have ever changed a diaper, according to a Today survey. Dads spend an average of eight hours a week on childcare while moms spend an average of 14 hours, Pew reports. Leaning in for childcare duties years ago makes me something of a trailblazer, I’m told.


I now serve as an adviser on a new website modernhusbands.com, which asked my wife, Kim, and me to share our experiences on this podcast. In a sign that men increasingly are stepping up around the home, Paul Sullivan, formerly a writer for The New York Times [and fellow Modern Husbands board member], created thecompanyofdads.com. This is a support site for what he calls “lead dads” handling the bulk of household duties, often while working from home. I recently joined Sullivan on his podcast to discuss the lead dad role.


The emerging fanfare around modern husbands or lead dads feels odd to me. Domestic dads were a rare breed in my parents’ time, dating to the 1950s — when “real men” taught their kids how to ride a bike and not much else. But by the time I married in the 1980s two-earner families were common. Didn’t all men pitch in? Is being a lead dad so disorienting to so many men that it calls for a support group?


Laying out after-school snack is how I learned about the decadence of Nutella and the delight of kids who, before me, had only known popcorn from a microwave. It’s how I learned there is no safehouse for cookies. They will be found. Being home is how I came to understand a four-year-old, given the chance, will drag a live hose into the house and that a small carton of Nestle chocolate milk soothes a lot of anxieties.


This isn’t trivial stuff. Creating memories is one of the primary roles of a parent. Sure, vacations check that box once or maybe twice a year. But kids are more likely to remember the day-to-day stuff and the unexpected — like a second piece of crumb cake in their lunchbox or last-minute tickets to Jingle Ball. These experiences yield stories that last a lifetime.


Our youngest daughter, Danielle, married this year and in my wedding toast I shared a treasured morning ritual. Before I started working from home, she and I were the last to leave the house each weekday. We always ate breakfast together while watching SpongeBob SquarePants — after joining the theme song at impressive volume. I then put her on the school bus and raced to catch the 9:10 train to New York City. Few of my colleagues had any clue who lived in a pineapple down under the sea. I will never forget.


I also shared the day Danielle burst into tears at the bus stop and sprinted back toward the house. Her sudden change of demeanor, followed by her flight from the scene, had no obvious cause and was about to make me miss the train. She will never forget my annoyance as I picked up the newspaper laying in the driveway and flung it at her from a distance I couldn’t hope to reach. I will never forget her explanation back at the house: “Dad, I don’t like the outfit I am wearing.” What?


My son, Kyle, wore cargo pants every day. I thought this part was going to be easy. I was way out of my depth and learned more about little girls in that moment than I could ever have understood from a second-hand telling. I had to be there.


In some ways, parents are always out of their depth. In pre-school, every single student had named Kyle a “favorite friend” in a teacher survey. But not long after that he experienced reading difficulties, which began to weigh on his gregarious nature. It took way too long for us to diagnose his dyslexia. But it would have taken even longer if both parents weren’t deep in the trenches seeking answers and sharing his struggle.


That was no fun, and it took all of both of us to see it through and find a school where he would thrive. We spent months searching and knew we had finally landed on the right one when Kyle shot us a broad smile after visiting the school he would later attend. Soon after that he began to reclaim the joy and optimism so evident in his earlier years. How could any dad — any parent — not sign up for that?


Dan is a former columnist at TIME. His three children are grown with lots of lead-dad memories. He is writing a memoir of his early career as a small-town newspaper reporter. This essay has also been published on modernhusbands.com.

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page