Sidewalk Talk with Kate McGee from PlusMedia

Name: Kate McGee

Occupation: COO at PlusMedia

Children: Jamie (5), Alex (3), Casey (2)

What’s your favorite kid-friendly brunch spot in your neighborhood?

Gabriella’s on Columbus between 93rd and 94th.  A great Mexican place – lots of guac/chips for the kids and mid-day margaritas for parents.  Even offers an occasional celebrity sighting in the west 90s!

Favorite playgrounds in your area?

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The playgrounds in Central Park have dominated my weekends for the past 5+ years!  The newly renovated Wild, Wild West Playground at 93rd and CPW is our favorite – it has something for each of my kids from sandboxes (yes, questionably sanitary) to swings and slides to a water set-up that has two sprinklers and a river that runs through it. 

What are your children’s favorite activities?

Our city kids live on their scooters!  My older two race the streets of the Upper West side (giving me mild heart attacks as they find the back break as they near intersections!) and even my 2-year old is now scooting along, albeit at a slightly slower speed…

What’s your favorite way to unwind?            

Family dance parties. We set all three sonos in the apartment to either the Trolls or the Sing soundtracks and dance like crazy people.  The kids, my husband, even our two labradoodles get dragged into the action. It’s quite a sight, though we usually draw the shades so our neighbors don’t think we’re insane.  This all comes from my husband who grew up learning to “dance like nobody’s watching” unlike me (see “Favorite quote” answer below…).

Favorite quote...

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One of the mom’s in my son’s preschool told me that her daughter came home from school and said “Jamie McGee told that life isn’t fair.  Is that true?”  It was one of my prouder moments as a mom – my kid actually listens to me!  “Life isn’t fair” was one of those things my mother always told my brothers and me growing up.  And with three kids born within 3.5 years, I have found it next-to-impossible for me to keep everything even and everyone happy all the time. Unfortunately life isn’t always fair, and I firmly believe it’s better to grow up not expecting the world to always give you roses, to not constantly be disappointed and whiny and instead, deal with adversity calmly and gracefully.

What does a day in the life of you and your children look like?

Lunacy! My husband and I usually get up early to jog in Central Park or do Soulcycle – it’s literally a daily negotiation as to who gets to do James J’s 6am Soulcycle at 92nd Street.  We both work full time, so every morning is a mad rush from 6:30-8am of getting kids and selves ready and out the door.  We have been so lucky to have a full-time nanny to help, but it still is messy with three kids 5 and under!  Breakfast, walk dogs, get dressed, backpacks on, and out the door – we walk the older two to school each morning and it’s my favorite family time of the day.  We reconvene as a family around 6:30pm most nights and get an hour of hangout time in before bedtime, story time and snuggle time, during which my husband usually tells wacky stories about growing up on a VT farm – lots of giggles.

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Favorite rainy day activity…

Baking! The kids love to collect and combine the ingredients, operate the KitchenAid mixer (carefully!), turn on the oven light to watch the progress of our goodies, and of course eat (both the bowl and finished product) of whatever we’ve made! I also love sneaking a goodie into their lunch boxes the next day (much to their Montessori teachers’ chagrin…).

Funniest thing your children have said to you…

“Mommy is very good at many things, but she is not very good at turning the TV on.” – Jamie, when he was 3.

What is your favorite part about being a parent?

Too many to name!  Watching and helping my kids develop and grow, seeing small little baby personalities develop into full-fledged functioning humans. I also love moments when my husband and I observe each other’s personalities and habits in our kids – and we attribute behaviors to each other (both good and bad!). It feels like we’re seeing reflections of ourselves right in front of us, which is weird, cool, illuminating and heartwarming all at the same time.

What do you do when your children go to bed?

Eat dinner (finally!).

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How did you come up with your children’s names?

A lot of planning/strategy with #1 (Jamie) – I’m pretty sure I knew before I was pregnant what we’d name him; a little less planning with #2 (Alex) – picked some names we liked, then chose one; and no planning with #3 (Casey) – we named her basically while I was in labor. They all turned out with gender-neutral names which is coincidental, but I think may serve them well as they develop into whoever they want to/are meant to be. A former colleague and friend Alex (a woman) said that her mom named her a gender-neutral name so she’d be better positioned in the workforce when her name is in print (like on a resume, or nowadays, in email), which, as a working mom, I dig, and while that wasn’t my intent, I’m pumped my two girls (Alex and Casey) may get some upside there!

One thing you'd tell your pre-parent self…

Never say no to a trip!  Travel far, travel often. 

How do you keep your cool as a parent?

Lots of exercise, wine, deep breaths. 

Still looking for summer activities? Check out the best summer camp providers in NYC here.