I didn’t have a sip of alcohol the entire conference, but that doesn’t mean I’m not suffering from a beast of a Mom 2.0 Summit hangover. So I decided to bite the hair of the dog and write about my experience while it’s still fresh in my mind. Oh, there are only 338 until Mom2.019 in Austin, but who’s counting?
As another Mom 2.0 comes to a close, it reminds me of what the true definition of community is. The conference is so much bigger than simply sessions and brand networking. It’s the hugs in the hallway, the smiles during selfies, the feeling of true friendship, the inspiration, and creativity that motivates you to take your blog to new levels. It’s the laughter between your peers, texting close friends because you couldn’t find seats together during sessions, and unsuccessfully holding back tears because the keynotes get you. I mean, they really get you.
I’m a Repeat Mom 2.0 Summit Noob
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I’ve been to Mom 2.0 enough times to forget the actual count, but each year I pull up and feel as though it’s my first time. I’m a newbie all over again. Then that feeling completely dissipates within minutes. Unlike conferences, Mom 2.0 Summit welcomes you, it embraces you, and soon you realize, the only person judging you, your blog or even your outfit is you. YOU! And only you. And to think this whole time you were scared of your own shadow and you had nothing to worry about at all. This time was a bit surreal because the last time I spent a staycation at The Langham Huntington Pasadena, Kiddo and I were reviewing a 2014 Kia Sorento, who happens to be a regular sponsor.
Sure you are going to see “cliques,” but I use that term very loosely because they are not exclusive. They just happen to be friends who have known each other for ages, live thousands of miles away, and this is the one time a year they get to catch up in person. If you were to walk up, introduce yourself, or even just start with a simple, “Hello,” to the person seated next to you at the session, I promise, you’ve just made a friend. And if they are at 2.0, chances are they will become a very good friend.
Each year, as I pick up my registration badge, it feels as though I’m home. Like the badge is the key to my house. Not only are you going to learn more than you’ve ever imagined, but through “hallway conversations,” you’ll find yourself teaching others as well. Mom 2.0 validates all the hard work you’ve done, and by the end of the first or second session, you start to see the big picture really clearly. And that big picture comes along with a new found respect for yourself that you never knew existed. The nicest part about being a Mom 2.0 Summit alumni is, being able to truly plan and plot out your sessions and needs to truly morph your business trip into pleasure.
Not one year has gone by where I have left not learning something about myself, my blog, my path, or my potential. Not one year has passed where I have regretted going, and not one year hasn’t made me want to be a better person and inspire others. Not one year has gone by where I haven’t met new friends, that I have remained close with and not one year has gone by that I haven’t bought 5 or 6 new friends to experience what a blog conference should be like. And not one year I have not come home with a deeper appreciation for those I already love with all my heart. A new respect for them, and a new respect for their blogs.
This year I approached Mom 2.0 Summit differently. I give myself props for that and consider it impressive for a planner like myself to throw caution to the wind. I am desperately searching for direction. I took this opportunity to seek clarity, clear vision, changes. and I left all the pressures behind me at home. I came with my pen and notebook and wrote with all the honesty and transparency that I could muster. Not worrying about my outfit, juggling sessions, networking with brands, taking a million photos, or feeling an overwhelming abundance of guilt about spending equal time with everyone I cared about, I came to Mom 2.0 for the future of The JetSet Family.
I came with one goal in mind, to reset, regroup, and restart. I needed to refuel my tank because I love blogging so much. But once it becomes a salary, full-time job, and paid living, at some point, you lose your voice. The line is easily blurred, you don’t even realize it, and suddenly you start pleasing other people and brands. At least that’s what happened to me.
There is one person that can drive (no pun intended) these sentiments of staying true to yourself, your brand, and your voice home better than anyone else I know, and that is John Dominguez of Kia. If you didn’t have the opportunity to catch his speech at the Iris Awards please do yourself a favor, press play, and listen to his carefully curated words that embodies what every blogger is feeling, and most of all hoping for. It’s raw, emotional, and is the reminder I so desperately needed to jog my memory as to why I fell in love with blogging in the first place.
As John mentions something similar, I remembered how this all started at a young age with me writing down my favorite lyrics in my journal many years ago. I had so much to say that I couldn’t keep up and type or write my thoughts, my story, my truth, and my voice, quickly enough.
The words in John’s speech were exactly what I was looking for at Mom 2.0. He summed up everything I needed to hear. These last nine months I had me knocked down flat on my face, so I came to Mom 2.0 hoping I could learn to crawl again, and maybe eventually even walk. After this week, I know I’ll be sprinting by the end of this year. And that was more than I could ever hope for.
Throughout the days, of course I laughed, of course I cried, of course I missed sessions that I was dying to attend, of course I fangirled out on some bloggers and vloggers as though they were Mick and Keith, or better yet, Hillary and Michelle. But I also embraced every second I had when I was with those I care about, the people I don’t get to see very often, but talk to them multiple times a day online. I also did something I have never done before, I left with a strategic game plan. One beyond SEO, podcasts, and newsletters as I had originally intended to soak up. What that game plan is, well, you are going to have to wait and see because truthfully, it was never even a blip on my radar until now. And now? Well, times they are a changin’.
I laughed with Kristen Bell, and I connected with Natalie Morales over the fact we’re both New Jersey transplants living in California raising tweens and she gifted me one of her new cookbooks and wrote Coco a nice note. I won a Best Buy gift card, but my journey at Mom2.018 was something so much bigger than the brands. While all of these things are special, nothing can beat the emotion, the environment, and the atmosphere that Laura Mayes and Carrie Pacini created over the years with Mom 2.0 and I’m grateful. There is no other conference that levels up like this every single year.
I just bought my ticket for next year (there are only a few more hours to score your early bird pricing,) and I’ve never been more excited. If I’m going to invest money in a conference, this is the one I always get my ROI on no matter what. This particular Mom 2.0 helped me on a personal level when I didn’t even realize I needed it in order to take my blog to the next stage. And for the record, we’re not all moms. And we’re not all women, and we’re not all bloggers either. You have dads, marketers, brands, men, and women without children. It’s completely inclusive, not exclusive.
People, really though. How
proud impressed are you that I didn’t flee from my chair during this interview and reenact the duet of Toto’s Africa?
Don’t Mess with Texas
So what’s the verdict? Are you coming with me next year? I’ve been dying to visit Austin and when they flashed it up on the screen, I think me and Kim-Marie Evans screamed and jumped so loudly it registered on the Richter scale. So no more messing around. Let’s make sense of all of this together. Let’s lift each other up and help each other achieve our goals.
Take my hand and let’s explore the Live Music Capital of the World® + play tourist until the great city of Austin kicks us out by our cowboy boots. Together we’ll soak up the sights, the scenes, the culture, the street art, the fancy hotels, and Stubb’s, because you know that’s just a given. We’ll play St. Cecilia on repeat, and make it our soundtrack.
I’m going to learn everything else about what this great city has to offer. I am going to embrace true Austin and become its best friend. Are you ready to be mine? Are you cool with that? Because I see you, Austin. I. See. You.