Our 735th Dad in the Limelight is Mike McGraw of Fishbetter and The Social Channel. I want to thank Matt for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing him with all of you.
- Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
I’m a digital media CEO and angel investor in New York with a long history of starting businesses involving social media marketing, digital sports rights, mobile apps, broadband services, content creation agencies and interactive tv. Right now I’ve got two companies going,
The Social Channel
I’m originally from Texas but moved around a lot in my career to places like LA, Nashville, Sydney, Dublin, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Since having kids I’ve pretty much held up New York for the last 10 years.
2) Tell me about your family:
I married an Australian while living in Sydney and we have two girls (8 and10). They are two wildly different individuals, each with their own unique operating system and owner’s manual.
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
So far I think it’s been striking a balance between my duel role as Chief Fun Officer and Assistant Deputy Discipline Manager (My wife is clearly the Chief Discipline Officer). This variance of responsibility creates kind of a conflict of interest somewhere in the reptilian quadrant of my brain. In there my favorite childhood memories like camping trips, sports, parties and chasing girls, are eclipsed by the more valuable experiences related to leading a fulfilling life free of prison time. Both are important areas of experience but one is decidedly more memorable.
Also, as an added handicap, I come from a family of 4 boys so an environment with a wife and two girls can feel somewhat alien at times.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Talk to your kids at eye level once in a while. It will give you a unique perspective on how they take in information. Establish communicational routines. I read somewhere where toasting before a meal was a fun way to get kids to contribute some good news about their day. We starting doing it and it works very well. Toasting water is fine. If you’re one those people who think it’s bad luck to make a toast with water, please note that superstition was obviously created by an alcoholic…. much in the same way bears invented the superstition that human’s should “play dead” when confronted by a bear.
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
This is a work in progress. I think we all take cues from our own parents and how they parented, whether we think they did a good job or not. It’s kind of a subliminal form of coding, not on the level of say the Manchurian Candidate but it’s in there somewhere. I recently took the girls home to Texas to see my dad and on the drive back to his house from the airport one of the kids unbuckled her seatbelt so she could reach over and grab something from the other one. This was a second violation so told her she’d just lost some sort of privilege that I can’t recall. She answered back, “Fine”. My dad kind of smiled to himself. I turned to him I said, “What?”. He said that one firm palm to the back side would buy me a year of obedience. I let him know that the current thinking in child psychology circles frowns on conditioning kids like dogs.
Wait, I just realized that little parable didn’t really answer the above question. Oh well, maybe I have some resolved issues with my dad. (Note to self: Schedule therapy session with Dr. Applebaum…stat!)
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
You mean aside from the useless virtues of capital punishment from my dad? Ok, from my other baby buds I’ve learned that devoting as much time to the kids as I do for things like reading about Trump’s transition team or watching a re-run of Foot Loose, can yield big dividends in the heart-warmth category. Also planning things with my dad friends and our kids is an awesome way to spend the weekend.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
It’s corny, it’s a cliché, it’s an old wive’s tale, but it’s true…. it all happens depressingly fast and you’d better not let time drift away from you without proactively chalking up the memories with your kids. You’re going to regret all those business trips you REALLY didn’t have to do or those football games you sat though while your kids sat in the other room hoping the Texans didn’t force an overtime on the Titans. We have enough legitimate things that eat away at the limited time with have with them w/o forfeiting the free time.
Ok, that’s all the deep wisdom I can impart for today and please note the opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official position of any fully responsible parent.
Neither does my blog: www.alphadad.com
If you have any questions for Mike McGraw, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!
Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!
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