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#33 Primary Care Giver: A Dad Speaks Out - with Patrick Kadian
Episode 3313th November 2023 • Holding the Fort Abroad • Rhoda Bangerter
00:00:00 00:43:52

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Synopsis:

Today, my guest is Patrick Kadian, an expat for 30 years, and also Mr. Mom (in his words). We talk about how he navigates being a dad with a wife who's away a lot, how he has used his professional skills within his family life and how he has become more emotionally aware.

In This Episode:

  • Patrick’s message to dads 01:45
  • Becoming the primary carer: an evolving situation 03:08
  • Defying gender roles 09:43
  • Managing the travel 19:49
  • When she comes home from a trip…. 24:45
  • Keeping the family cohesive and using professional tools 28:45

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Gender Roles as mentioned

Transcripts

Rhoda Bangerter:

Welcome to Holding the Fort Abroad, the podcast for expats with travelling partners!

My name is Rhoda Bangerter. I'm a certified coach and the author of the book ‘Holding the Fort Abroad’.

In this podcast, I interview men and women who live abroad and have traveling partners so that we can all benefit from their wisdom and experience. I also invite relationship experts to apply their expertise to this topic.

Today, my guest is Patrick Kadian. He's been an expat for 30 years, and in his words, a lot of that has been being Mr. Mom, and we'll be talking about that with him, how he navigates being a dad with a wife who's away a lot, what his thoughts are on this life, maybe also what his thoughts are on my book. I don't know and yeah, just benefiting from his experience. So, Patrick, thanks so much for agreeing to answer my questions.

Patrick Kadian:

Rhoda thanks for inviting me. I appreciate it!

Rhoda Bangerter:

Let's see where this goes. Oh, you're welcome. Thank you so much. It is still mostly moms who have dads who travel. There are more and more dads who are the ones taking care of the home, the kids and moms who travel. So I don't know. I want to kind of immediately say, what would you say to dads in this situation before we expand on that?

Patrick Kadian:

Well, it would depend on really what the dad has been doing and if he's happy being in that situation. The biggest thing that I would say is that if you are in the position of being a dad, not really just the trailing spouse, but being the primary parent, it's a pretty critical role. When particularly if your family moves around, it's important to be able to provide an emotional home and a sense of stability for your children. And it takes work on our part to become really good at that and embracing the role, embracing one's emotionality so one is able to be kind of the warm center and the glue for the family is important.

Yeah. So, I mean, that's the main thing I would say is get in touch with your emotions. Don't be afraid of it, gentlemen. You're able to do lots of different interesting things, and that includes getting in touch with your emotions. If it helps your kids and creates a life, that's important.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Very nice. There's already all of it is in there already. All the different elements. What's it like? Has your wife had any comments that she's the one traveling or have you had any comments that she's the one traveling?

Patrick Kadian:

So Jana and I met, she's a Russian born German citizen, Jewish. And I'm an Irish Catholic American boy.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Okay. Right.

Patrick Kadian:

We met in northern Tajikistan. You know, there was a very small expat community, so if she was interested in expat men, she had very little choice. And that worked out well for me but, you know, she didn't meet me in New Jersey and then, you know, take me, whisk me away. So we were already people who were interested and engaged in living abroad and doing this kind of work. I already had the idea of what I felt was important for me to be able to build my life. She had ideas of what was important for her, and those things were able to meld together.

When it came time to decide what we were going to be able to do to go together forward in this life, we've had different kinds of discussions and then the reality hits. And it wasn't always the same case as what we had discussed. So I had stepped back at first not willingly, and then really just kind of made sense, and particularly as my kids came more cognitively online.

And the way that we were raised quite -- I was raised by parents that were perhaps a little bit older and a little bit more in touch with parenting where, you know, that was more of a center of their lives. So I had some really good foundations for that. Jana, I always like to say she was raised by wolves. My in laws certainly know my opinions about that. We all get along well.

But when it came time, you know, at first I was the one working and Yana was staying at home, she was pretty miserable. And then when we switched according to the rules that we had planned and she was working, it was certainly a challenge for me. And it was something that I thought was only going to last a certain amount of time.

Then I get back to my career, now that it's been a number of years where that just didn't quite happen for different reasons. And I've been in this role for quite some time, and I found it to be an important role. And I think it's valued within my family, both by my wife and by my kids and even by our extended family, that I think at this point we're all comfortable with that.

And so it's not the case that at this point that my wife feels really shut out or that I feel resentful or taken advantage of for staying home. But I wouldn't say that that happened from day one. That happened through evolution, through working together, figuring out what was important, and remembering that we're what we had in life, you know, we, that together we were the most important things to each other and to the family, kind of brought us through a lot of the difficulties. But not everything was completely smooth. Still nothing's everything completely smooth.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Well, no, it isn't though, is it? Especially when you live abroad. But I love it. I love that it does come from how things evolve. And each family, each couple unit has to kind of figure it out, but also for it to work for both of you. Right?

Patrick Kadian:

Ahmm.

Rhoda Bangerter:

I suspect if it hadn't worked out for one of you, you would have kind of rearranged the situation or kind of we did at one point, I wasn't happy. We kind of rearranged slightly the situation just so that it would work for both of us. And I was like, well, I have to make this work for me. I don't think we can go through life feeling like, oh, I'm going to sacrifice myself, but it's just not working for me, that would be weird.

Patrick Kadian:

For me, before I started to do my international aid and development work, I had already decided what my three principals were that I was going to live by. And the fact is that this was still able to continue with Yana if modified, you know, like, with the family. So those three things were to travel, to help people and to make money.

And when I say make money that was actually just part of what my father had said to me. He had worked hard to get his family out of poverty and my family as a result, and they were just like, don't put the family back in poverty. It's good that you want to do this kind of work, but don't take away all of your power by doing that, you know, since our careers aligned and actually I really like the kind of work that Yana had been doing, I was still able to get what I wanted within this other position, within the family. So that still worked out for me.

Did I need to rearrange how I thought that was going to be in order to make things work? Yeah, I did. But I've always been someone who's been flexible, who's taken on different challenges and not let the expectations of others outside, tell me, this is how you have to do it. This is what you need to do.

And when I realized that some of the insecurities that come with being a stay at home dad particularly sometimes in really hyper masculine environments that, you know, those kinds of things can't touch me any more than really what people thought about me going off to do disaster relief in Honduras. I do what I think is correct to live the kind of life that I think is important. And so since Yana and I are really closely aligned with some of our values, it works. It would be harder if Yana all of a sudden, you know, we've got to move back to Germany and I want to live in Dusseldorf. And that would be hard. That would be against what I'm interested in doing, but that hasn't come out.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah. Because the travel part would have to be taken away. Yeah. So interesting!

Thank you for sharing that because there's a lot in there. There's adapting, but it still works for the three things, three priorities, you have to adapt them, but it still works. And having similar values, knowing what you want and then not listening to what other people say and saying, you know what, this is the life we want to lead. We've created it. Let's just go for it.

I think frequent travel, often with the woman, but also with split location. Others just don't understand our life choices. They're like, why are you doing that? Even living abroad sometimes people don't understand. They're like close family. They're like, my mom, she said, can you come back and your husband have a little job and you lead a normal life? And I said, A, I don't know what a little job means. And two, I don't know what a normal life leads. And I said to her, actually, you started it because you left home and left her own country.

Patrick Kadian:

I like it when people say, when are you coming back to the real world? They used to say that to me back in the day.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Did they say that?

Patrick Kadian:

Well, they used to. I mean, when I started this journey, particularly 30 years ago, Americans, at that point at least, weren't as well traveled as they are today. I think they are more engaged in the world than they had before. People had an idea that I was running away. I'm like, no, I'm running towards what I want to do. What am I running away from?

There were all sorts of things that came out just for when I was a single person doing what I thought was really interesting and fed what I thought was important. Lots of people had opinions. That's the other thing that I would say to men. If you're taking on this role, particularly even in Central Asia where you're at I used to live in Bishkek myself and spent a lot of time in Central Asia. It can be a rather hyper masculine environment.

There are gender roles that we violate when we're going to be stay at home dads that are in touch with our emotions in order to be able to be emotionally mature people and show your children how to be able to get forward. And so it takes some level of awareness to be able, you know, I say it as if life it's taken some awareness in me. It took work to get there. When I realized that I knew something was wrong, I knew that I felt a lot of stress about certain things. I felt a sense of shame. All silly things, to be honest. And it comes from these gender role ideas.

And there are these four different things that when you look at gender roles and you look at male gender roles, two things in particular are being violated of the four. One is that we're supposed to be emotionally restrictive, that this is kind of a general idea. And also that there's like competition with power. Neither one of these things. You're not engaged in competition as a dad. And if you're emotionally restricted, what's going to happen is you're going to be able to only express those kinds of emotions that are allowed, you know, quotation marks is what I'm making here. And for men, unfortunately, that's anger and anger and parenting don't work well together.

Rhoda Bangerter:

What are the other two.

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah. After I was saying that, I'm like, oh, boy, I think it's been a little while since I've been studying.

Rhoda Bangerter:

I'm going to look that up. But what you're saying for the two you mentioned was when you say, okay, I'm going to not go with the stereotypical gender role and be a stay at home dad, I'm saying I'm not in competition with my wife, and I'm not trying to have a bigger job than her.

Patrick Kadian:

Oh, not even competition with the wife? No, it's competition with other men.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Okay. This is something I'm not aware of. Explain it to me.

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah, so there's this whole thing, you know, you go to a barbecue, right? So you go to a barbecue, or you go to one of your fancy parties that you have at the embassy, and you're invited because you're there with your wife, who's some kind of big shot. And you go in there, men are talking, and you'll be talking to other guys, and they'll be like, oh, what do you do? What do you do? What do you do? I'm like, oh, yeah, I'm Mr. Mom. And it's like, okay, well, let me see somebody that's more interesting to talk to.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Well, stay at home moms get that all the time. But then as a man, it’s maybe, yeah, I see where you're going. Okay.

Patrick Kadian:

Because of the competition issue, power and competition, it can tweak certain parts of you, and….

Rhoda Bangerter:

So interesting!

Patrick Kadian:

That, you know, so you have to be able to be very secure with who you are and realize it doesn't really matter. These are things that are but this comes internally, and this comes externally. So there's other people that are saying that to you, and then there's stuff that it resonates with you somewhere deep inside that you should be doing something a little bit differently. And so it's these gender role violations that can be really difficult for men.

And one of the lovely things about the relationship that I had with my wife is that she very much appreciates the position that I take. I think it might be difficult for depending on what a woman is looking for, that even if she wants to take that position, that pole position that made the main position of breadwinning within the family and then she takes it. She might all of a sudden find her husband less attractive as some of these gender roles are not fulfilled. Luckily, that's not the case with my wife. And if I'm less attractive to other women, that's good, because I'm not looking to create problems in my life.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Because men have the stereotype of sort of being providers and all that kind of thing. Very, very interesting!

Patrick Kadian:

If you're someone who's comfortable being an outsider, someone who's comfortable being an expat, someone who's comfortable doing something different. And if you make yourself aware of that and you go through different some kind of emotional practices and things like that, my belief is that that's easier for you.

If you're kind of thrown into an expat position and it's not really what you wanted to do and you haven't thought these things through, and then you have the external stress of thinking that you're going to be able to sit my ties and have everything taken care for you and then realize that actually learning how to be a foreigner is not the easiest thing in the world, even if you're a privileged foreigner. I think that's a more difficult situation for people because there's just so many stressors going on.

For me, thankfully, it worked out and I wish I could say it's because followed a certain pattern and did things in a certain way, but it just happened to be the case. Now that I look at this more closely, that I had a lot of the things already in mind that were going to be able to make me successful and it just happened to be the case. And I feel for a lot of the men that it's not that case because they can be really good at their job of being Mr. Mom, which is super critical to, you know.

One of the things, you know, we have a friend in common called Tanya Crossman and she works for TCK Training is one of the things that she doesg. And they've been doing some great research recently. And one of the things that they came out to see was that expat kids, TCKs suffer about three to four times more emotional abuse and emotional neglect than kids within a normal kind of domestic environment.

So that combination I'd really want to be able to get in touch with expat men. That combination of dealing with your emotional restrictivity, already you're having your gender role being stressed by the position that you're being put in and you're not aware of it. And then you lean more into being emotionally restrictive and your kids are there depending on you because Mom's off in Afghanistan or who knows where I stand and doing some work. And kids are already prone to those issues because expats tend live a lot of stress.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Of movement and mobility.

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah, of mobility. It seems to result in having some emotional issues for the kids. I do want to be able to see if I can get out ahead of that. So that's what I'm looking to do right now. To be able to take some of my hard won skills and also things that have happened through, in some cases, luck, and be able to help people get that luck themselves, to be able to have some kind of awareness about some of the issues that might be pain points for them and to be able make the transformation that will make them happy, that will make the kids happy, that will make the wife happy, frankly.

And then also make the bank account better, because you want to make sure that your wife does well in her expat position because it's not good for the family, for the money not to come in because the family isn't doing very well. Because you can't figure out how to do the job. Because it's too much of a challenge for you.

And I think men are really able to once they realize and they're able to say, hey, I want to do my job well, they'll do what's necessary, including challenging some of those internal and external gender roles to make sure that their family does well. So that's what I'm looking to do.

Rhoda Bangerter:

And the team will win.

Patrick Kadian:

And the team will win.

Rhoda Bangerter:

The family team will win.

Patrick Kadian:

Because that's what's important, right?

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah, it's a team thing. It's been going on for centuries with the women being but this reversal, like you say, because it's going against stereotypes and gender roles. But I think it's the same principles.

Patrick Kadian:

A lot of the same principles.

Rhoda Bangerter:

But what you're saying about emotion is that because you're expat family, you probably need to even go the extra mile about understanding emotion and emotional intelligence and all that kind of thing. And as a man, you probably need to go an extra mile.

Patrick Kadian:

Exactly. The research has come to show that if it's the expat mom, it'd be good for her to be able to lean into emotion, be aware of that, because that's what we see as being a general issue for the TCKs. But for men, yeah, you really need to kind of take that bull by the horns.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Interesting. And I hope it's encouraging for people.

Patrick Kadian:

It should be. I think as soon as guys realize that and they hear that and they're like, oh, that's why I kind of feel shitty (Excuse me). I feel poorly about this, even though, hey, I live in a great place, or maybe it's a place that's a little bit difficult or whatever, but why does this feel so much worse than I thought it was going to feel? Why does this feel harder than when I was working? Why is this so hard? And these are some of the reasons, why.

Rhoda Bangerter:

When I stopped working and ended up working at home or, like, being at home, I'm like, I've entered a parallel universe that I didn't know existed. Of the people who don't go to work nine to five, and there's a whole other way of living. Okay, so how do you guys manage the toing and froing of travel? Because I'm assuming it's kind of slightly unpredictable. It's a couple of weeks at a time. How long can it go when she's away?

Patrick Kadian:

So it really depends. Like I said, I've been the Mr. Mom sometimes taking other positions, but mainly Mr. Mom for the past 15 years. And as with a lot of expat families, we've had lots of different roles in different parts of the world. Like, we've been in nine different countries during that time.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Wow.

Patrick Kadian:

So some of the time, Yana has been with us all the time going to an office, coming back. Other times, it's involved a lot of travel, and it's different, but we've done both. But if we're talking about split locations, we're starting to go into that again. Is that really a split location?

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah, go ahead. I'm curious -- [Crosstalk] All right. You've done where she's lived in another country, and you've lived in one with the kids. Have you done that bit?

Patrick Kadian:

So we haven't been split? No, we haven't done that. I really want to avoid that. For me, that's particularly hard. No, we've done the thing where she was gone for long periods of time, where she'd be gone for, like, two weeks at a time. Something like even like we lived in Miami for a while, which was funny. I was there as a foreigner and an expat package, you know, in my country.

There was actually really easy, too, because it was a cheap plane for when my parents would be able to come down and help out, blah, blah, blah. But Yana would often go and spend Monday through Friday in Haiti and then come back on the weekends either in Haiti, there was some transition going on, her organization down there, so she would have to pitch in and do that, and then she'd travel in a more unpredictable way down to Latin America. Sometimes being gone a month usually is the most that would happen at one time.

Rhoda Bangerter:

I suppose as the children's grown older, have grown older, it's changed. But how do you manage sort of the sadness when she goes away? How do you manage her being away and then her staying connected? Does she stay connected? Does she call them every day, or are there peers where how do you manage all of that?

Patrick Kadian:

So I like to say that some of the time, I'm like a 50s housewife, and she's like a 50s husband because…

Rhoda Bangerter:

Because she's away and she's gone.

Patrick Kadian:

When she's away, she's gone. You know?

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah.

Patrick Kadian:

I mean, I'll talk to her. Maybe as they're getting older, sometimes they'll be having discussions. The kids will be having discussions individually, but I'm much more the maternal figure in the house. And this comes really from how we grew up. There are strengths that we take from each other, and I'm able to bring in, I think, some more intentional parenting than she's able to muster. Just instinctually.

So how do I handle it when she goes? So when they were younger, there were three major occasions when she'd be traveling a lot. Okay. There were major positions that I can think of. One before my second was born, and my first one was really young. And so she would travel all over Central Asia, and I was in Ukraine. And that was difficult. That was difficult, but that was difficult for me. My son, very small. Noticed, didn't notice. I don't know. But I was there.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Because I think, there was a primary caregiver.

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah, exactly.

Rhoda Bangerter:

I think there's a primary caregiver. And then the other parent who's going back and forth, and there is that connection every time. But the primary caregiver is the….

Patrick Kadian:

Exactly.

Rhoda Bangerter:

The anchor.

Patrick Kadian:

So I'm the primary, so it's not like, you know, yeah, it's much more difficult when I've been gone. So, like, when I've had problems with my parents when they were aging before they passed, and I'd have to jump out to the States for a bit, that was always more of a destruction. Yeah. .

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah, yeah. No, it's interesting because it goes against the traditional thing of, like, the mama has to be the primary caregiver. Well, no, case in point, you can have a very stable family when it's the dad who's the primary caregiver. So I think that's great. Okay, keep going. I love it because this is real. This is live. And families who are living this and feel like, oh, it's not workable. Well, yes, it is workable.

Patrick Kadian:

Well, a lot of things, if something's not workable, oh, this doesn't work, you have to question why? Why isn't it working for you? And then see what kind of changes you can make. And some of those changes might be internal or just the way you think about things. I have a feeling that for a lot of the men so I don't think I've said this yet, but right now, it's been a struggle for me to continue along with my career. Because once I can get things started again, if we're lucky enough to be living in a capital city and I can get my career started again, then we have to leave, typical trailing spouse issue.

And so now as my kids are getting older and they're starting to look towards the door, it's time for me to start thinking about, like, okay, also getting this nest egg together a little bit better for retirement as we age, and then also something fulfilling for me. Anyway, the point being that I'm looking to be an expat dad coach, right? So I'm studying all these different modalities to be able to reach out to expat men, to see where they're at, see what they're doing, to be able to help them fit into that role a little bit better.

So my suspicion is that for a lot of the guys, if they're having a hard time at least and I'm extending this from some of the things I've studied, but also from my own personal experience about, like, why does this feel so bad? Why is this so gross? I don't think this could work. A lot of this has to do with just an examination of really what you want, what your values are. Is it against your value system? Is it against what your shared goals are? Or is it that you're experiencing some other kind of stress, like the gender stress potentially, or that you might need some temporary help or some more help in the house?

Luckily, a lot of us as expats are able to afford some help, and it's good to bring that in. And there are different ways that men can also engage in to be able to get the social kind of help they need or to be able to help themselves physically, to be able to cope correctly, to be able to adjust the environment that they're in. So there's lots of different ways that a man and a family can make it work. And then there are things that are about just in general when someone pops in and out as a parent.

So some of the things that we've always had to learn, even when they were small and again, now we're having that kind of situation is that now we know reentry is always going to be a challenge when she comes back.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Like, suddenly things are a little bit more fluid and you're like trying to readjust to the other parent being there. And it's like….

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah. Well, because I've got my 50s husband wife coming in and she metaphorically wants her martini when she walks in the door. And life needs to change, to adjust to Yana as she walks back in. And just be aware that she's now aware of that tendency and that sometimes she needs to realize what's going on and maybe see the flow, again and jump back in because we need to make sure that we have stability in the family and that the kids don't grow resentful of her because all of a sudden, everything needs to shift as soon as she walks in the door.

And all these kinds of things we've learned through experience. Now as I've been reading your book, I'm like, oh shit, I didn't have to oh pooh, I didn't have to do all from if I had paid attention to what Rhoda was writing there, I would have already seen that Reentry is an issue, you know.

Rhoda Bangerter:

You reckon? It's pretty spot on then, what I've written. Do you reckon?

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah, some of the things people might read and go, yeah, like, of course I need to be doing this kind of thing, which usually means that you're doing good consulting.

Rhoda Bangerter:

But you don't always realize it.

Patrick Kadian:

You don't always realize it because that's what I was going to say. So in one of my former incarnations, I used to be business consultant for on USAID Projects and I used to also teach a lot of people to be good consultants and help develop the consulting industry in former Soviet Union. And one of the things that we would teach our consultants is that there are these different stages of consulting and one of them is like, yeah, we knew that all along.

And so people might see that reflected, but it's also good to see that that's out there in a concrete way and be like, yeah, this is a pretty common issue. Okay, well, I should know that that's happening. And if it resonates with you a lot of times that's going to be able -- you don't realize that how much when you see that. It's externalized that that actually helps you integrate that to your own way of thinking and being more solid with those kinds of ideas.

Which is a lot of what I found as I've been doing my research, that some of the things that I did to make sure the family stayed cohesive and that the kids were able to have a sense of identity going from one place to another with very different kinds of parents and very different kinds of environments. I've come to learn that actually, thankfully, for different reasons of luck and some intuition on my part, it's kind of gone along that way. But I can see how very easily it could go differently for people. So what I'd say for people who are struggling is that don't worry, you know, it's okay.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah.

Patrick Kadian:

It's not easy for anybody.

Rhoda Bangerter:

No.

Patrick Kadian:

And there are resources out there, thankfully, at this point, that can help people have a better idea of how they'd be able to manage, because it is a challenge. And recognizing that it's a challenge, even though you have some help in the house and you might even have a driver and all these things, it's still a challenge, you know.

And a lot of it is not to quote Donald Rumsfeld, because politically that doesn't line with me. But there are also lots of unknowns and lots of things that we don't even realize, we don't know that end up becoming a drag when we're going from one place to another and challenging ourselves, not realizing we're challenging ourselves by staying home. But it can be a challenge.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yes. And people saying, I think a lot of my work is pointing out the commonalities of challenges, the common challenges, and people then going, oh, okay, I get it. I'm not alone. It's not something wrong with me. It's just the lifestyle. And you're like, yeah. And common silver linings as well. They're always the same ones keep coming up. So it's just pointing those out can sometimes just that can be helpful already, you know?

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Okay, so you mentioned what kind of things did you do to keep the family cohesive then, specifically in the traveling part?

Patrick Kadian:

Okay, so there are certain things that I had realized were going to be identity issues. Well, first of all, there was one thing that I knew was going to be different. Before kids, my job was to go to different parts of the world to integrate as much as I could to be effective at my work. When Yana came by, I was on my fourth language in fifth country, something like that. And that was my job, and I was good at it. And I learned how to be uncomfortable with those things, and I learned how to be a foreigner and all that kind of stuff.

There was a distinct difference after having the kids and also realizing that they didn't have a set identity. They're going from one place to another. Their parents don't share the same religion, we don't share the same background. Our personal histories are quite different.

And so first thing is I realized my job is now to create a sense of stability from one place to another. And so I took one of in previous lives, I've earned my MBA and know a bit about marketing, I know a bit about branding, I know about creating stability and a brand that works from one place to another. So I worked on doing some branding with the kids.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Nice. So you created a family identity.

Patrick Kadian:

Yeah. And this entailed that we all got specific animals. We had statues that went along with that and colors that went along with that, that reflected what our names were. This came out in artwork that it's around the house. It came out with the way that we paint the walls. It came out with the colors that came within the house, that came from one place to another.

And we also created some of our own family traditions that when you reach certain ages, her thing has the bar mitzvah and bhat mitzvah. Mine has confirmation, but within our family, you get to choose your own animal by that point. So everything kind of changes. So my son, for example, he used to be this cute little llama and we have these images all over. Now, he's a stag.

Rhoda Bangerter:

That is so cool!

Patrick Kadian:

We have the art around. And I created one thing, my favorite piece of art, which is called Shift, that has our different icons within their different squares. And I have about 84 of them on the wall. They're about this big and they reflect our different colors. And they're all grouped together in the four groups, but they just shift around from one place to another. And the background colors and patterns change, but the colors remain the same within us. And we all relate together, but we might be relating differently as we go from one place to another and things might be around there.

Rhoda Bangerter:

You're an individual…

Patrick Kadian:

But as a group and as an individual, where….

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah. Love it!

Patrick Kadian:

Where we have some sense of branding. So that's in a really tangible way, and that includes, you know, we were lucky enough to be able to move with a lot of our things when we're not being chased out. But when we left Burma, it was kind of a bit more of an issue. But now we are able to get all of our things and our animals and routines tend to be the same. I try to keep the routines to be the same. I try to keep a lot of the same family recipes. Any dining room going to would always have the same red wall and the same three mirrors.

So there's ideas of physical ideas, some concepts that we're together, even if things shift around and the things around us shift around, we're together and we're a unit and we're going to be the same. We don't have to be exactly the same. But we're going to still be together from one place to another. So that's the kind of thing that created an idea of stability, and I think that's worked well with the kids. And sometimes I wasn't sure if the ideas came through, but then I'd see my kids talk, reflect about what their animal means to them all of a sudden, or, oh, that's my color because of this, or whatever.

Rhoda Bangerter:

So you worked on identity, continuity, togetherness.

Patrick Kadian:

Rituals that were…

Rhoda Bangerter:

Rituals.

Patrick Kadian:

There for us. Other things that we do, COVID interrupted this and then lifestyle interrupted it. But we used to go from place to place to place. Having it was always important for me to be able to figure out ways for the kids to rapidly be able to be part of their community that they're coming into and to make the house an open house for their friends to want to come over. So it was either every Friday or every other Friday, have these big movie nights.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Oh, nice. Everybody's invited. All friends are invited to the movie.

Patrick Kadian:

All the friends are invited. And then we also get to be part of the community, which, as an expat man, is very important to be able to meet a lot of other people.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Love that.

Patrick Kadian:

And when it's your house and you've put it together, you also feel a little bit less of a sense of, oh, here's the other guy who's ahead of this UNDP thing or whatever coming over -- [Crosstalk]

Rhoda Bangerter:

Like this is my kingdom.

Patrick Kadian:

You're on my ground, Yeah, exactly. Welcome to my kingdom, and look how good of a dad I am. – [Crosstalk]

Rhoda Bangerter:

No, that's great. I love it. I love it. We're coming to the end of our time. Do you want to add anything before we leave? But I think it's really great. I love the idea of branding. Really, really love it. Do you want to add anything? Are you taking clients right now?

Patrick Kadian:

Well, let's see.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Where are you at?

Patrick Kadian:

So I am taking clients, but I'm taking clients for free up until June of next year, and they're not clients specifically that are focused on parenting right now. I've just finished, so I'm studying these different modalities that I'm going to bring to my coaching practice later. So I'm doing some advanced behavioral and cognitive hypnosis at this moment, and soon I will be starting a Hypno-CBT course. So cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis work quite well together.

I want to study separately ACT, which is acceptance and commitment therapy that has to do a lot with being able to sit with vulnerability of emotions and things of that nature, things that I think will end up being part of a tool belt that will be helpful for expat dads and our families later on.

I'm also taking the first ICF, IFC, yeah IFC is the other one. ICF the Federation for Parenting. So I'm taking a parenting course. It's a lot of fun to take because it's with people from African folks that are living in Africa. We have some Canadians. I was going to say Americans, but they're always insulted by that. Excuse me -- [Crosstalk] North Americans.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Nice.

Patrick Kadian:

From all over the world, which is really nice, and lots of different disciplines. And I'm also been getting some certifications together in that organization that we talked about before, TCK training, learning how to do some debriefs.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Wowww!

Patrick Kadian:

So not taking clients for that right now. But I do take clients one to two times every day doing Hypnosis and CBT, honing my craft. Soon we'll be taking parenting clients on as well, and I have a few people in the pipeline for that.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Your family's in global transition, volunteer for individuals.

Patrick Kadian:

Exactly. Yeah.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Yeah. Dad, and men, rather, I should say. Cool.

Patrick Kadian:

That's what I'm working on. And there should be a book launching around that same time in my own podcast, and we'll have to talk about that at that point. I'm recording my own individual podcasts now that help me structure what the book sounds like.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Oh, nice!

Patrick Kadian:

And it'll just be Expat Dad or The Expat Dad Coach, one of the two, don't know which. So everything is brewing, and it's nice. You'll have to come on my podcast, The Expat dad, when it's….

Rhoda Bangerter:

That'll be fun!

Patrick Kadian:

At some point in the cooking I want to be able to have at launch in June, at least 30. Already can. But right now I'm doing a bit solo work, and then as I develop it and I have certain ideas, I'll invite people in to be like, okay, this is an idea that I think we should talk about. So eventually we will talk about what it's like to do some split parenting or, you know, holding the fort abroad.

Rhoda Bangerter:

I would love that. Well, thank you very much, Patrick. This was a great episode. I'm very grateful.

Patrick Kadian:

Oh, good. I'm glad.

Rhoda Bangerter:

Thank you.

Patrick Kadian:

Thank you, Rhoda.

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