"When we first got married, we had a long talk about both of us doing this for a living — how are we going to navigate this? And we decided that we were going to put our family and our kids first," the country singer and actor told Garrett Hedlund in a conversation for Leo. "We were going to teach them that working hard and being professional and being on point and showing up, and doing what you needed to do to support the people around you, and being present with everybody you need to be present with, while being present with them at the same time, is doable. Teaching them to have a great work ethic but being human at the same time, and teaching them how to be a parent at the same time."
Their parenting style, McGraw admitted, had a lot to do with the life he and Hill were already living as successful artists who were often traveling and performing. "We tried our best to never be away from them. They were on the road with us, they flew with us. If we had to go to Europe, they went to Europe with us. Whenever we were working, they were with us most of the time."
Still, he emphasized the effort that the pair put into having their children experience the "best of both worlds" by showing up for regular parenting duties, as well.
"When they started school and when we were home, we didn’t talk about business. Their friends called us Mr. and Mrs. McGraw. They all knew us as Gracie’s dad, or Audrey’s dad, or Maggie’s dad," he explained. "We were at PTA meetings. We were at football games. We were at basketball games. I coached softball. I coached basketball. We were part of their life, their community growing up. We made a real effort for them to not just to be part of our lives, but for us to be part of their lives."
The ability to be so flexible with work was also a result of their level of success. "We were in a good position that we could dictate when we would work," McGraw admitted. "But you have to make that decision as well, and we made that decision early on."
The father to Gracie, 22, Maggie, 21 and Audrey, 19, was offering the advice to Hedlund — a good friend and new father to baby boy Rhodes with actress Emma Roberts. What McGraw couldn't consult his Country Strong co-star on, however, was parenting a boy, as McGraw is admittedly "outnumbered" by women.
"My daughters and my wife and having a house full of women — and being the kind of guy’s-guy that I am, up to doing the things I like to do — sometimes I think myself more macho than I am for sure. But they have made me such a better man. They made me see things in a different way. They taught me so much more about life, about how to be a man," he shared. "I wouldn’t change it for the world. I don’t know if I would be the same person without it. For better or for worse. ...It’s a blessing. It really is. It has affected my art in a lot of ways as well. The music that I make, the movies that I make, the choices that I make. It’s made all those things more defined, more emotional."
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