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.

Just like the women of Mad Men only with better birth control options.
Bottom photo by Mainline Mom

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.

 Art by Katherine Center, photo by Gabby Blair, neck by…uh…

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.

 Don’t look for me – I’m not in there. Photo by Emily McKhann

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?

 “Think mothers aren’t political? Think again” – Pundit Mom.
Photo by Sarah Braesch

The incomparable Heather B! Photo by Mainline Mom.

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.

 Embodying awesomeness: Christine Koh. Photo by Gabrielle Blair

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.

 One iota of the brilliance in that gallery. Photo by Laura Mayes.

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.

Taking it offline with Julie Marsh. Photo by Tanis Miller.

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.


67 thoughts on “Inspired.”

  1. It was such a beautiful conference. I feel uplifted as well. Which, it occurs to me, I always feel whenever our paths cross. 🙂 xoxox Christine

  2. Absolutely agree with everything you've said. This conference was one where everyone was welcomed with so much positive energy that no matter how well developed your blogging style, you couldn't help but feel inspired, and challenged to grow. I was even taking notes myself from Mir's chat on my own panel! What an amazing opportunity to connect with so many wonderful women.

  3. I am inspired just reading it. Thank you for taking the time to bring what you saw and felt and experienced to life. Simply inspiring!

  4. Beautiful! Thanks for this post — for sharing so much of what happened at Mom 2.0. Also appreciate your thoughts on what an online community means. It's enriched my life SO MUCH, and I've only been blogging for six months. It's amazing, really.

  5. I read the tweets and posts from last year's Mom 2.0 determined to go, but realizing that it would be next to impossible given that blogging is very much a hobby. Well, the stars aligned for me to go.

    I left Mom 2.0 mid-afternoon on Saturday to catch the last flight home. I have a post brewing on EVERYTHING Mom 2.0.

  6. It was so great meeting you too Medium, and Musings and…and…and…

    if I didn't mention you by name it's for lack of time not lack of inspiration. There wasn't a contact or engagement this week that didn't make a lightbulb go off in my head in some wonderful way.

  7. Wonderful wrap up Liz. I followed the Tweets and the whole weekend seemed fabulous! Next year NOLA in April? I'm so there. 🙂

  8. It was a such a treat to go to Blissdom and Mom2.0 this month. Both were uplifting and inspiring and made the virtual delightfully real.

    That said, I wonder if my husband is your semi-anonymous commenter. Not really, but he expresses similar sentiments.

    I did find myself wondering at some point during Mom2.0 about the relationship between our virtual engagement and our real-life, well let's say brick and mortar communities because I think “virtual” friendships can be very real.

    If I didn't have rewarding online friendships, might I try a little harder to be a part of the PTA crowd or mesh with local soccer moms? Are online friendships are refuge or a crutch? Yes? No? It depends?

  9. I have a very good friend who I first met at BlogHer 06, then we met at the next BlogHer. We keep in touch via email, our blogs and a variety of care packages sent for a variety of reasons (happy, sad, illness.) We sign our cards “from your imaginary friend” all the while knowing that some folks are truly missing out by narrowly defining friendship.


  10. This is such a great post about Mom 2.0. It IS hard to define exactly what's going on here. And an online community is certainly a new kind of thing. But how powerful is it to walk around the Four Seasons and see smart, passionate women everywhere? Or to walk around the photo show and see those ordinary moments valued and honored up on the wall.

    I love what you wrote:
    “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.”

    And it's why I love Laura's Defining A Movement theme. I'm not certain anybody knows exactly what it is–but it sure is something.

    Thanks for posting my video!!!

  11. Oddly enough, I was inspired – but not in a way that I wanted to run home and start blogging and writing and creating, but in a way that drew me closer to my family and my kids and my own life.

    And how much I treasure honest to goodness friendship and laughter that bruises my stomach.

  12. I didn't read the semi-anonymous comment, but in all my interactions in this online world, I have found it to be so much less isolating than motherhood, moving to the suburbs, and become a work-outside-the home mommy. If a person finds social media is making him/her LESS social, methinks he/she is doing it wrong. And I don't say that snarkily; I say that with the thought that maybe one step back from the Interwebz and figure out what he/she is doing there (as I have done by giving up Twitter).

    I really gotta try to get to one of these mom-blog-summit/blogher thingies.

  13. I really hope I can join all of you wonderful ladies next year in NOLA. Reading many of your blogs is one of my daily inspirations, especially about being a mother. Great recap!

  14. On a day when I'm questioning why I'm home waiting for my little one to wake up, instead of working in the “real world,” this video made me cry. Waiting for him to wake is worth it. And I am not wasting my time waiting.

    Thank you for sharing, and for inspiring me.

  15. The face time, idea time and simply hanging time was all super-fab. We'll have to coordinate our matching DVF dresses for soon! Great seeing you. JSB

  16. I always feel better when you're around, and I can say that for so many people who were there and who I'll see in August and at so many other points along the way. I love that this community is a part of my life.

    I am finding it harder to be where I am this morning than I thought I would in the aftermath of all of this and so the challenge there is to capture what I got and do good things with it, right? I think so. xo.

  17. Thank you so much for the photo credit and your lovely tweet about my photos! And thank you for taking a photo of my friend Stephanie and I at the Cheeseburgher party too. I, too, was so inspired by the conference and the community that I used the same word in a post last night, which I swear was posted before I read this.

  18. I have no doubt that what happens online matters. I love this post and am glad we got to chat, even briefly at the conference… which was exactly as you described: inspirational.

  19. I would have agreed with your semi-anonymous commenter a couple months ago. However, after attending 2 conferences within 2 weeks, I have felt the real connection and friendships with my fellow bloggers. We have been texting each other, talking via Facebook, and have started collaborating on new projects. The friendships are real and with social media – it makes it easy!

  20. How wonderful. I loved following the haps on Twitter. Love seeing all of these friendships thrive, all these relationships support each other in business and in life.

    Even from a far, *watching* all the inspiration was inspiring.

  21. That is wonderful. I am so touched by the community of mom bloggers I've discovered, and would love to attend that conference next year. Thanks for the update.

  22. Beautifully well put!! It was a wonderful weekend and so inspiring. It was an honor to meet so many of you wonderful, smart, shining women IRL. I can't wait to do it again!

  23. It was such time well spent. I distilled my experience down to eight lessons that I will focus on in 2010. What an opportunity for growth!

  24. I am almost laughing at what that commenter said to you. The only reason I'm not is because it sort of makes me sad. My best friend (who I met through Twitter no less) lives four states away. I have amazing friends all over the US. Each one, I've met because of blogging, because of this community. Each make me realize how lucky I am to be a part of this crazy online world. How is that ever a bad thing?

    I wish I could have been at that conference this weekend. I loved hearing about it on Twitter.

  25. I have been going to a lot of tech conventions, but I really have been wanting to go to a mom-oriented convention. Problem with that – cost. I know there are a lot of great speakers and some I already have heard from in the tech community. Some of these people have taken my advice since I have been blogging since 2003.

    Going to an event like this is an inspiration. It really is amazing the people that you will meet. I know that I will be amazed by meeting moms because there are moms in the tech world too.

    Thank you for sharing the video too.

    By the way, I work as a virtual assistant of The Healthy Moms ( ), the site is fairly new and I thought I would drop by some mom related sites to spread the word.

  26. I'm crying because I haven't felt like a very good mom this week. This month. I needed a new perspective. Thank you.

  27. have nothing to say but AMEN and YES
    and that woman, has no clue.

    We are brought together through the passion of our hearts and our words and our very beings. We forego all of the minutia of first meetings and small talk because our hearts, minds and very beings are already connected.

    We already know each other and we are far more connected than many and much happier than most.

    You are a joy and laughing with you was a highlight of the conference.

    {side note: honest to goodness.. my word ver is bunpoph.. bun poph}

  28. Blogging brought me out of the isolation of being a new mom in a strange city with no family. So that isolation argument holds no water with this gal.

    This post inspired me to start saving so I can go next year.

  29. It was an amazing summit and as my first blogging conference, I was amazed at all it brought to me. Also it was great to meet you.

  30. A little off topic, but am I alone in not understanding the critical acclaim of Mad Men? Did I give up too fast? My wife and I watched the first 9 episodes (first 2 discs on Blu Ray) and we just couldn't get into it. It wasn't BAD, but it didn't hook me in at all.

    I just wonder if critics get too hooked in by the “period piece” aspect of it. Or again, maybe I just gave up too soon.

  31. I hesitate, but I have to say. yes. it is inspirational. yes. blogging/friendships/relationships are real. and I'm glad that there are these conferences and “meeting places” in real life and the virtual one. Still, to me, you all are like rock stars, you mommy bloggers. I know that you deal with the same day to day stuff that I do, but I just do not even come close to your wit and glamour and star quality. you shine. I read and agree and relate, but I also compare and feel shame and am so tired that I usually don't even comment. between work and the commute and the toddler and the baby and the dishes, I'm done. I am happy that you all exist in this world, but sometimes I don't feel like you could be real, or you are living in a different world than I am. I am envious and inspired at the same time. Just had to say…

  32. Last year it was a fabulous conference and this year made even better by the presence of yourself and so many other inspiring mamas (and honorary mamas).

  33. Rella12, I understand completely. I've even had friends who blog email me privately to express the same hesitations. I can only assure you that we're not rock stars. Just regular moms, with a free blogspot account, same as you. Maybe we've just been doing it longer, and some of our friendships seem more solidified.

    Your presence would be welcome. I hope you can make it out one day and find “your people,” who ever they may be. It's a damn good feeling.

  34. I feel lucky to live in a world where it's possible to connect with smart, strong women, men, peoplefolk and their varied opinions with the touch of a button. Isolating? Not to me. Empowering? Yes, yes, and another baskets of yesses for good measure.

  35. I'm sorry to have missed this conference. You're not the only one who has expressed how wonderful it was.

    And that video is amazing in every way. Thank you for sharing it here. WOW.

  36. How lucky am I to have found you and Cat and Kristen and Julie?

    Besides the inspiration and joy you ladies have brought into my life, you introduced me to the Jersey Shore.

    My life is so damn full of awesome other people weep with envy.

    I miss you already but am so grateful to have had this time with you. Love you Liz.

  37. Lovely photos and a wonderful video. I can't wait until the women pictured can apply their love and talent to the topic of being a grandmother.

  38. What a great essay on finding your tribe and committing to being a better person. I'm inspired!

    Wish I could've been there, but this post is the next best thing.

  39. I'm back to echo your comment at 3:17 yesterday. I may have been thrilled to pieces to see old friends again in person, but I spent a great deal of time meeting new people. Now I have even more people I look forward to seeing next year.

  40. So so so so SO sorry to have missed this one… knew it would be great before it happened, knew it was the conference to attend, darn darn darn darn darn darn.

  41. LOVED meeting you.
    You're a doll and I seriously left feeling so happy and connected and inspired.

    Just LOVE! 🙂

  42. Love this recap. Inspired is the perfect word. Katherine's video is amazing every time I watch it, I can't get enough. And this conference helped bring both of my loves together, being a mother and a blogger, can't get any better than that!

  43. i feel envious because there arent any mom conventions like that here in manila. i only rely on parenting websites like and momblogs like yours.

    i'm in the process of streamlining my blog and you are one of my inspirations to do this. maybe the day will come that conventions like this would come to my country and help uplift and empower filipino moms.

  44. What an empowering photo essay. Yes, what we're all doing matters. Thanks for that little boost today. I needed it.

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