A few weeks ago, we had the great pleasure of meeting Lisa Mathews and Mikel Gehl from Milkshake during a post-KidStock concert photo op (check our KidStock Remix). The Baltimore-area grammy-nominated singer/songwriters took a few minutes to chat with us via email about how a musical play date got carried away – – and how they keep the stage and their families rocking.

Lisa, a New York native, is wife to Miles (a copywriter) and mom to Jesse (9 years). Mikel is a Baltimore native and husband to Donna (an occupational therapist) and dad to Eric (8 years).

How did Milkshake come to be?

Lisa and I toured and recorded with Love Riot for 10 years. When we both became parents Milkshake became a very natural extension of our family lives. Kind of a musical play date with that got carried away.

How do you balance being a mom/dad with being a professional?

It’s never a perfect balance and we make many mistakes and sacrifices. Our only secret is to try and learn and never stop trying to be our best, both within the family and the band. Sometimes we’ll take the kids on the road with us, and it’s cool seeing them be a part of it all and enjoying themselves. Milkshake is 90% directly inspired by our kids, so the integration of home and work sometimes seems thankfully and beautifully seamless.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? The last thing you do before you go to bed?

Honestly it usually is strumming a guitar. I’ve been blessed (or cursed) with a constant stream of musical ideas. It’s usually Lisa’s job to find the really good ones and develop them into Milkshake songs.

: Pet the kitty, scratch the dog and kiss my daughter, which usually gravitates into a tickle fight before breakfast. Last thing before I go to bed: Check on Jess, say my prayers, add to my To Do list, read, snuggle with my man.

If you had an entire day to do anything with your kid(s), what would you do?

Mikel: I love the Baltimore to Cape Henlopen daytrip. A full beach day, dinner in Rehobeth, hit the boardwalk then let the kids sleep as we drive home and arrive at 3 AM! (Lisa likes this, too :))

Lisa: Breakfast on the deck, hike the trail with puppy, long bike ride w/picnic, dance party and fashion show or a good board game, ending with a good movie and popcorn. If it’s a Saturday, add hitting some yard sales to the AM.

Favorite ‘kid-friendly’ restaurant in Maryland? What makes it so ‘kid-friendly’?

Mikel: Eric is a trooper so we can go to just about any place and have fun.

Lisa: We like Bertucci‘s for the play-dough and decent affordable food; P.F.Changs for the wikki stix and healthy affordable food (yay for brown rice!); Gertrude’s at the BMA for the garden (bring paint bushes and water paint by the fountain). But like Eric, Jesse will eat just about anywhere. (NOTE: We’ll be reviewing Gertrude’s next week! It’s one of our favs too!)

What do you consider to be Maryland’s best-kept “kid-friendly” secret?

Patapsco State Park is a kid’s adventureland. Beautiful hiking, bike riding, waterfalls and even a swinging bridge.

Favorite ice cream flavor and best place to get it?

Eric likes chocolate. Jesse likes chocolate chip mint and one of our many favorite ice cream places is Poulet at Greenspring Station. Decent scoops for a decent price.
What’s the best thing about your job?

The friendships that have enriched out lives. Kids, families and musicians we may never have had the chance to know without Milkshake. Also, the unique ability to help others through our music and maybe help create memorable moments in people lives, including our own.

How do you and your spouse balance parenting responsibilities?

Mikel: I just spend as much time as I can in family situations. I’m not big on rules but we always trust and expect each other to do the right thing.

Lisa: Ditto, and try to be consistent and present a united front.

What’s the funniest thing your child has ever said to you?

My son says, ” Calm down, it’s only a ball game.” It’s funny that he has a better perspective than Dad.

Lisa: “No…that’s not really you.” or “Do you really need that, mom?” when we’re out shopping. She’s become that little person on my shoulder, trying to guide me in my decisions — at least the fashion ones. 🙂

Best local-area date night?

Mikel: We love matinee movies when Eric is in school.

Visiting with friends or eating at an adult-ish restaurant like Woodberry Kitchen. Or ordering sushi in and watching a good movie.

Best thing about being a mom/dad?

The world is so much larger than I ever dreamed. How did I miss the little things for 30 some years? I feel connected in a way I never thought possible.

Lisa: ditto. And I know it’s probably not healthy to focus so much on one person, but most everything I do is with daughter in mind. Jesse was my reason for Milkshake and the force behind my continued drive. It’s easy to work hard when you want the best for someone.

If a movie was made about your life, what would be the lead song on the soundtrack?

Neil Young, “Rockin’ In The Free World”

Lisa: Milkshake, “Travel Far”

Thanks Lisa and Mikel! We LOVE Milkshake and can’t wait to catch your next local show! If you have young kids, definitely run (not walk) to
iTunes and download Bottle of Sunshine. Guaranteed to get your kiddo bouncing – – even in a car seat.

Image from www.milkshakemusic.com