Top Three Lessons You Learn as a Mom

 Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas   

Francis Martin, Age 5, Oil on canvas


Over the course of my career as a portrait painter of children, I've interviewed the moms I work with about the greatest lessons they've learned as parents. Some are new moms, some are on their third child, but all have the same desires and hopes for their kids. They all strive to be great moms every day. 


1. Being a mom isn't a competitive sport. 

Anyone up for a little "mom-petition?" We all know the mom who seems perfect at everything and manages to look great doing it. But there's no perfect way to be a mom, and every child has different needs. One mom says to embrace help when it's offered so you can slow down and enjoy every moment with your kids.


2. Give your kids the best of you. 

It's important to take some "me" time. Whether it's a tennis lesson, an hour with a good book, or date night with your husband, happy moms make for happy kids and husbands. You owe it to yourself and your kids to be at the top of your game.


3. Stop and enjoy as many moments as you can with them. 

One mom told me how sometimes her kids' thoughts and words can be so powerful, and in that moment she is truly grateful for the precious gifts God gave her. If you're constantly busy or distracted, you'll miss those moments. Everyone says it but they grow up too fast. Savor it. 


What's the greatest lesson you've learned as a mom? How has it affect your relationship with your child?



Three Ways Reading Aloud to Your Kids Helps Them Do Better in School

 Henry Bush, Age 5, Oil on canvas

Henry Bush, Age 5, Oil on canvas

A recent Huffington Post article said that reading aloud to your kids, more than anything else, is the greatest predictor of high academic achievement and test scores. Not flash cards, workbooks, fancy preschools, or technology, but Mom and Dad taking the time to sit and read with their kids every day.


According to Rasmussen, the benefits of reading to children start in the womb. Babies can hear the mother's voice and absorb language before they're even born!

Here are three other ways reading aloud to your kids is beneficial to them:

1. Reading aloud increases their vocabulary. 

The more you read to your kids, the more their vocabularies will grow. Kids absorb and learn so much from a young age. Spending time reading with them helps improve their language and memory skills, which sets them up to do better in school. Studies show that kids who are read to regularly consistently perform better in school. 

2. Reading aloud teaches empathy. 

According to Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a pediatric professor at NYU, children who are read to "learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult and this enables them to better control their behavior when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness.”

Reading teaches introduces them to new characters and people who aren't like themselves. When they encounter new situations in school, they are better able to cope with their peers and understand different sides of a situation.

3. Reading aloud is a great way to bond with your child.

Cuddling up together with a good book is a fantastic way to spend time with your child. You'll explore new worlds together. Some of my favorite memories growing are when my Dad would read to us after dinner. Books like Watership Down, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Legend of Little Tree – they're some of my favorite books to this day, and we read them together as a family.

Parents, never underestimate the benefits of taking the time to do something as simple as reading to your kids! It sets them up to better in school and life. 

I'd love to know, what are your favorite books to read to your children?