Mom Muse | Melissa Plaskoff
Mom of three young children, Melissa Plaskoff’s inspiration to take volunteerism to the next level emerged during one of those helpless moments many people feel when a natural disaster strikes and the subsequent news stories trigger the desire to help in a tangible way, but not knowing how. In the days following the tragic earthquake in Haiti and wanting to shelter her two young sons, Hudson and Parker, from the heart-wrenching pictures, Melissa attempted to keep a normal routine for the boys. So when Hudson asked one afternoon if they could host a lemonade stand, Melissa felt a sense of joy and relief and said, “Yes, and the money raised will go to the families and children in Haiti.”
Melissa, her husband Bart and two sons. Photo Credit: Andrea Polito Photography.
That initial lemonade stand raised over $150 and garnered a local television story. Melissa shared the story with several other moms, and the lemonade stand idea was launched through social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. Within days, Melissa was being notified of plans for children’s lemonade stands, read-a-thons, bake sales, etc. all over the country to raise money for disaster relief, and as a result Lemons to Aid was born. To date, over $50,000 has been raised for charities and the cause has received national attention and support from a number of celebrities.
Photo Credit: Laura Bierner.
Melissa and Reese Witherspoon.
Melissa and Bart with Jean Chatzky from NBC’s Today Show. Photo Credit: Holly Kuper.
As a result, Lemons to Aid is now on a mission to use the simple, but memorable, experiences of hosting lemonade stands or other creative projects for kids to instill the mindset of service and charitable giving in children at a young age — because everyone at any age has the power to make a difference.
Melissa’s inspiration for Lemons to Aid doesn’t lie exclusively in the request of her son, Hudson. For years, Melissa watched her mom, Jackie Waldman, travel around the country speaking and inspiring others to find their Courage to Give. Jackie’s book series, The Courage to Give, profiles people who overcame a personal tragedy by volunteering and focusing attention on others. Is it any wonder that this generational influence is making an impact in global way?
Melissa and her husband, Bart Plaskoff, live in Dallas, Texas with their children Hudson (8), Parker (6) and Annabelle (10 months).
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
Classic, comfortable, machine-washable, fun.
MSL: What do you like best about being a mom? What’s the biggest challenge?
I love being able to be the first face our kids see in the morning and the last face they see before they close their eyes at night. I am happiest when we are all together as a family playing and watching everyone interact. The best part of being a mom is watching my children grow from our daily conversations about being kind to others. It warms my heart when they treat others how they would like to be treated.
My biggest challenge? I do my best to be patient and stay positive throughout the day. We all have our moments when we lose it, but I try my best to stay calm and in control when I am with my kids.
MSL: What has been your biggest moment as a mom so far? For Lemons to Aid?
Finding the right schools for my children. I think we are so lucky to have so many great schools in Dallas. When a child is in the right school, everything else falls into place. Also, I’d have to say teaching my kids to be compassionate and setting the foundation for giving back and helping other people.
The most important outcome of Lemons to Aid for me has to be watching children around the world making a difference. We have received national press, but the biggest moment for me is when children want to do something for someone else. That was my goal when we started Lemons to Aid — if one child decides to help one person, I have succeeded!
The Plaskoff family out to dinner.
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without, that makes you feel both chic and comfortable?
My Lululemon pants and a casual Lululemon top. Let’s be honest – I am running around all the time and will probably end up with Annabelle’s food or throw-up on me at one point during the day! Lululemon washes well and the food stains come out.
MSL: Do you have any tips on how you streamline one’s morning routine?
I am lucky because both of my boys attend private schools, which require uniforms. With that being said, I lay their clothes out every night and that eliminates any questions in the morning. Also – backpacks, homework, snacks, etc. are always packed the night before school. The mornings at our house are very low-key. We have the same routine every day and my kids know what is expected of them. I do ask that they come to breakfast with a smile on their face and I must do the same for them. They know if they get dressed, eat breakfast, and brush their teeth and hair, they are more than welcome to watch TV or play on an electronic device if there is time before we have to leave for school… it’s a great incentive!!
MSL: Developing a unique style comes at an early age for some children. Do you let your children choose what they’re going to wear? How do you talk about getting dressed with them?
During the week they wear uniforms for school, but on the weekend I let them wear what they want within certain parameters. My 8-year-old would wear a suit everyday if I let him! He loves getting dressed up. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to wear a suit to the park. I am sure our little Annabelle will have plenty to say about her style. I am going to be very open and let her figure out what she likes best.
Melissa and her extended family. Photo Credit: Andrea Polito Photography.
MSL: Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to hear.
This is kind of silly, but growing up my mom ALWAYS had a heating pad in her bed… so now I have a heating pad in my bed and I cannot fall asleep without it. I have to travel with a heating pad or I can’t sleep!! My kids love it too… they will probably end up doing the same thing! That should be an interesting thing to explain to their significant others one day!
MSL: What’s your best style advice for other moms out there?
Be YOU and be COMFORTABLE!! There are so many places to buy comfortable and trendy clothes. They don’t have to be expensive to look good. You can always match up a more expensive item with less expensive items. No one will know the difference!!
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