Despite what the Wall Street Journal might think (or rather, portray for the sake of a traffic spike), mommy blogger conferences like Mom 2.0 are not about sleeping in and draining the minibar. In fact, I slept very little and I'm not even sure whether our room had a minibar. Why? Because instead of sleeping and/or draining the minibar, I spent my time soaking in the incredibly talented and brilliant people who attended this conference. I left with a notebook full of professional (yes, Wall Street Journal, professional) ideas, and five life lessons I wanted to share with all of you; they're relevant for everyone.
Note: these five lessons are all things I have always believed in but they warrant description; the examples and inspiration were so moving. (Also, I of course believe in #1 and #2 for both daughters and sons!)
1. The importance of confident and supportive female role models. Dove was the title sponsor of Mom 2.0 and their keynote made it very difficult for me to keep my eye makeup intact. They showed footage of women talking about their least (many) and most (few) favorite body parts and proceeded to share that, according to their research, 6 out of 10 girls stop doing something they love because they feel bad about their looks. As a woman who is similarly self-critical of my jiggly bits and who is a mom of two daughters, these simple videos and numbers broke my heart. But they also renewed my commitment to embrace my jiggly bits and model positive body image for Laurel and Violet. I never want them to give up.
Also, Dove wants to help the 6 out of 10 by shining a light on the 4 out of 10 who don't give up; to show girls everywhere that you can do and be anything, no matter what. I love this so much. The campaign is called Girls Unstoppable; go nominate an unstoppable and beloved girl you know.
2. The importance of confident and supportive male role models. The smart and impressive Lisa Ling was part of the Dove conference keynote, and when she started talking about girls' self-esteem and the correlation between sex trafficking and lack of positive male models, my eyes welled with tears. I thought both about my own life (how having a strict and not very affectionate father colored my relationships with men) and how incredibly lucky Laurel and Violet are to have Jon as their dad.
3. The importance of showing up. I was so impressed with actress Amanda Peet, who had to miss speaking at the Shot@Life keynote to attend a funeral. However, Peet is so passionate about Shot@Life that she apparently took a red eye flight to Mom 2.0 after the funeral so she could talk about the cause with attendees on Saturday. I was in awe of this effort and also by how incredibly passionate, smart, and educated Peet is about vaccines and eradicating polio. She's got a new fan girl here.
4. The importance of generosity. I strive to be generous in life, and wow, did I experience this reciprocally with so many people through the weekend. Due to various cones of silence, I can't detail those private conversations, but I can share one lighter example. I was thrilled to meet Nia Vardalos, who is ebullient, down to earth, and simply wonderful. After she gave me a signed copy of her new book Instant Mom, I gave her a copy of Minimalist Parenting and she immediately said, "Oh, awesome! Let's hold up each other's books for a picture!" Which was such a simple but generous gesture. Thank you, Nia. I think you are awesome and I wasn't kidding when I said you should look me up when you're next in Boston!
5. The importance of community. I talk about the importance of community all the time (it was the crux of my remarks at the Minimalist Parenting Boston launch party). But man, was this simple concept ever reinforced at Mom 2.0. Not only was the outpouring of support for Asha and me around the book incredible, but it was a huge reminder of how grateful I am to do work I love and be part of a talented and generous community. And how important it is to convene with colleagues to help you stretch your mind, garner inspiration, and learn to be better.
Thank you Mom 2.0 Summit, for yet another beautiful and smart experience. And thank you again to Cozi for supporting Asha and me on this book tour stop!
Image credits: all images by Christine Koh except for the last image, courtesy of Chrysula Wingegar