Last week, I had the unique pleasure of attending the MOM 2.0 Summit in Austin, Texas. Dubbed “An Open Conversation Between Moms + Marketers + Media” it was commonly referred to as a “mom blog conference”. I accompanied my wife, Leslie Means, who is the owner of Her View From Home. Coming into this experience, I knew I was going to be the odd man out . . . in more ways than one. So what does one of the only dads at a mom blog conference do? He takes notes and makes observations for his own social experiment, obviously. Here’s what I learned:
1. Fashionable first impressions.
Ladies greet each other with a hug or welcoming handshake, followed immediately by a glance from head to toe. I tried to imagine guys shaking hands and then saying “Dude, your outfit is adorable.” Not gonna happen. I’m reminded of a line from Shawshank Redemption when Red says “I mean, really, how often do you look at a man’s shoes?” But ladies? Ladies pay attention to their attire. I’m not typically one to notice fashion, but at a mom blog conference, you can’t help but realize the romper is a full-blown fashion trend. If you’re not familiar with rompers, I’d describe them as fancy onesies or maybe a flashy jumpsuit. They come in a variety of bright colors and patterns. Some have sleeves, some don’t. Some have a V-neck, while others feature a bow on the back. But the main commonality is that they’re all made out of one piece of material. The mom bloggers at this conference were all so fashionable. I was intrigued by the styles that each mom represented. In all, they clothed themselves in confidence.
2. Take a picture, it’ll last longer.
It’s pretty well-known that moms in general take a lot of pictures. But mom bloggers? They are NEXT LEVEL. It makes sense. These moms are professionals at finding the right images to accompany their words. So when it comes to capturing the moment, these ladies don’t mess around. I saw super selfies, glamorous group photos, solo shots by the pool with the city lights in the background, and of course, fancy food photos. This conference was undoubtedly well documented.
3. Mother knows breast.
This is a tough one for me. Sometimes I get twitchy in uncomfortable conversations. So when I found myself surrounded by women talking about boobs—A LOT—I nearly hyperventilated. Now, don’t go thinking this was like a steamy scene from a raunchy movie. Nope. This was mostly talk about breastfeeding and reconstructive surgery. I learned that it’s not OK to mom-shame those who don’t breastfeed. Noted. Also, flaunting them in public is unbecoming of a proper mom blogger—unless you’re a rock star breast cancer survivor who had reconstructive surgery. If that’s the case, show ‘em off with pride! I felt honored to be accepted as “one of the gals” as they didn’t hold anything back just because a man was present.
4. Women supporting women like never before.
Perhaps one of the most compelling observations was how much these moms support one another. This was a collection of bloggers and business owners from all walks of life and every corner of the nation. You had social influencers, internet video sensations, award-winning philanthropists, best-selling authors, billionaire business owners, and so much more. But at the core, these women were so incredibly supportive of each other. They were networking better than any group of people I’ve ever seen—and I’ve worked in industries like sports and higher education for more than 15 years. These ladies are competitive, but not cutthroat. They want to help each other succeed. They want to lift others up. They want everyone to experience positivity and joy in their work. It was refreshing to behold.
5. Inspired to tears.
Apparently, there is crying in blogging. And it’s contagious! It wasn’t uncommon for a casual conversation to turn inspirational—and tearful—without warning. It’s a very emotional experience. Like living out the perfect viral meme in real life. But it makes sense. These women share everything online. They feel things bigger than most. I come from a world where guys suppress everything. We don’t share openly unless you’re talking with a close confidant, or trusted buddy. And even then, those are rare occasions. These moms are a bit of an open book. These were deep conversations. There were moments I felt like I was in the middle of a motivational speech, then a counseling session, then a support group, and suddenly a pep rally. I found it all very intriguing and inspirational.
When it was all over, I walked away even more proud of my wife. Leslie has poured her heart and soul into this business. She’s met some amazing people along the way who are now in her virtual corner of the internet. Getting to meet these women face-to-face was really enjoyable. At home, Leslie is the working mother who juggles laundry and to-do lists. But at the mom blog conference, she’s a fierce leader who is well-respected and beloved by others within her network. I got to see her in a whole new light, and it made me fall in love with her on a new level.
Mom blogs provide a community for people who need to connect. It’s a place where people discover their voice. A place where you can learn, share, cry, grow, inspire and be inspired. The MOM 2.0 Summit was a microcosm of this larger concept wrapped into three days together. This is a strong group that is taking over the World Wide Web and making the real world a better place for all. Congratulations to all you mother bloggers out there who are doing your thing. This dad will be logging on and cheering for you all the way. But maybe keep the boob talk to a minimum.