Returning from the Mom 2.0 Summit in Houston yesterday, I feel smarter. Uplifted. Spiritually fulfilled. But I think if there’s one word that describes my takeaway from the weekend it would be inspired.
A conference that inspires. Wow. I mean, if you’re going to leave your kids for three days that’s a pretty darn good reason to do it.
Well, that and a Mad Men party.
The keynote from the wonderful Gretchen Rubin, who I was so excited to get to meet after having been interviewed for her Happiness Project blog a few months ago, was a gift from above. She’s the poster child for pursuing dreams, and her description of realizing that I’d rather be a failed writer than a successful lawyer will stay with me for a good long time. She’s also made me vow to make my bed every morning but that may be a tougher battle than finishing my book.
The Bad Is the New Good panel starring Kristen Chase, Cecily Kellogg and Catherine Connors touched on the false portrayal of mothers in the media, and Kristen expressed the hope that our daughters–and sons–will grow up seeing ads in which dad is in the kitchen or wielding a vacuum too. Are you listening advertising pros? Oh, wait…that’s me. Here, my own friends inspired me to try harder to depict the truth, to challenge more of my coworkers and clients, to do right by the community of women out there, even in the face of 60 years of “I just got my whites whiter and now my life is PERFECT!”
My friend Julie Marsh set out to jog two miles with the Shredheads on Saturday morning–even after a night of killer Tex-Mex and margaritas–and kept going for another six. While I almost put an APB out on her, I thought that’s it. I’m getting the Wii hooked up again and getting in shape. Also because when Susan Wagner grabbed my butt at the Cheeseburgher party, my first thought was shoot, I’m not wearing Spanx.
An impromptu political roundtable discussion with honorary mom Heather Barmore and Gina Caroll who I was so excited to meet in person, was a great motivator for me to continue to inject my voice into the political process–and not just during election years. It reaffirmed my support for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and reminded me that we do have a voice that’s valuable. Especially together. Hear that, Momocrats?
Some people are simply positive people. They just seem to escape the drama, rise above conflict and exude kindness and graciousness, to everyone, always, even when it’s unwarranted or unexpected. I’m thinking of people like Karen Walrond, Tracey Clark, Gabrielle Blair (doesn’t her name even sound ethereal?), Gwen Bell, Isabel Kalman, and conference organizer Laura Mayes. When I grow up, I want to be then. But I’ll start trying now instead.
This was a conference about bringing online relationships into our offline lives, the coming together as a community, the validation of what it is we do here which I wrote about recently. It was brilliantly embodied in the Mom 2.0: Defining a Movement photography exhibit that had more than a few of us claiming “allergies” as we meandered the gallery, marveling at the talent that is among us. I was exceptionally honored to find one of my quotes from that post, “We are here for each other,” brought to life in an amazing photograph by Leah Peterson. And at no better time.
In recent days, a semi-anonymous commenter on that post has taken me to task for claiming that blogging and online communities bring us together. Her point: It contributes to our isolation. And meeting long-distance friends in person is not practical. It’s not ecological. (I swear, she said that.)
I can’t argue with her because I can’t win. I only know that you all have given me community where I didn’t have one, and it’s not make-believe, and if I have to buy some carbon credits to be a part of it, I’ll gladly do so. There’s a reason Tanis packed her bags in light of debilitating back pain, and hopped two flights from Calgary to be here this weekend.
If you’re a mom, if you’re a marketer, if you’re a daughter or father or friend: Please take a moment to watch this wonderful video from Katherine Center which incorporates a lot of the photography from the show, and perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a mother today, in this moment in time in 2010.
If that’s not inspiration I don’t know what is.