Mom 2.0 Summit

Next week I am flying out to Dana Point, California for a gathering of mothers, marketers, and media in open conversation. It is a professional conference for bloggers, entrepreneurs, and marketers who create online content in topics ranging anywhere from parenting and food to travel and design. The conference is called the Mom 2.0 Summit, and this year's theme is redefining motherhood.

I launched my blog last January and over the course of this past year I have received notes of encouragement from people I know well and not at all. I've made friends with other bloggers and writers, and am continuously engaging and learning from a growing online network of mothers. Next week I will be able to meet in person some of the women I have only been able to admire and interact with from behind the screen of my phone. Truthfully, I am nervous for the conversations, but more so I am excited to enrich the goals I have for my online space and learn from my fellow mothers about how they redefine motherhood every day.

Becoming a mother at twenty-one years old, unmarried, and in possession of a freshly printed college degree, I've been redefining motherhood from the moment I first discovered I was pregnant. I forged my own path to motherhood, defying the social norm and general expectations of a recent college graduate. I make no apologies for the choices I make and how I mother, just as I harbor no judgments towards those who mother differently. I only hope to better understand how other women mother, and frankly how they make it through their days.

I spend most of my days balancing my duties as a full-time mother with my prescribed obligations to this blog and my other writing. I share my heart here in the mornings, and in the afternoons I watch and photograph my son as he throws his millionth rock into the river. I'm also busy partnering up with some other like-minding women to create something beautiful and different, but there will be more on that later...

My extra time is spent wedding planning and experimenting with food, mostly. I use my toddler as the official taste tester for my online food content, and while taking photos and mixing nut butters, I'm also flipping through wedding magazines and making phone calls to various bridal salons (FYI, I got my dress!). I move through my day one step at a time, and usually with an almost two year-old placed neatly on my hip.

I'm passionate about being a mother. I thrive off of a good recipe, and I have big writing dreams. Writing, much like my son, calms me and makes my life a brighter and more pleasant place. I am not writing to make money or get famous. I'm not writing to make friends either, even though I have. Writing is about enriching the lives of those who follow along. It is about enriching my own life.

Through this blog and my other writing ventures, I have learned and directly experienced the powerful and humbling effect of the written word. I've written about my great days, my triumphs and aspirations. I've written about my hard days and the most vulnerable places of my heart. Sharing these parts of myself has helped me reflect on my own life and the kind of mother I want to be, but it has also impacted my relationships with others.

When I receive a text or an email from a friend I haven't spoken to in years, or someone I have never spoken to at all, it reinforces my growing understanding that words have the ability to positively impact the people in our lives. In my case this is most especially relevant for the women in my life.

Dove is the title sponsor of the Mom 2.0 Summit, and they have pushed us to seize the power of our words and recognize the most cherished relationships of our lives.

For me, #BeautyIs acceptance, understanding, and encouragement. It is the fellow mother you text at two in the morning and know she will be awake to respond. It is the friend who lives far away, but still sacrifices to make time for you. It is the anonymous note of appreciation and heartfelt thanks. It is the older woman at church who says, "don't worry, it get's easier" in response to your wild and noisy son. #BeautyIs a 2-month old who will only sleep on your chest. It's the smell of that little baby's hair and the soft feel of their little feet. It's motherhood.

How do you #speakbeautiful?