Last week I traveled to Dana Point, California for my first ever Mom 2.0 Summit, and my first ever blogging conference for that matter. I wrote a little preview about the conference and redefining motherhood, which you can find here. I went into Mom 2.016 timid and unsure of myself as a blogger, but I have come home rejuvenated and inspired.
Women (and men) spoke about their businesses, their experiences in social media, their struggles with SEO, and the highs and lows of parenting. I joined in on the funny and emotional stories about our children, and introduced my son to a select few. I attended a Facebook live video event featuring Aka Mom, which was both hilarious and raw, with a fellow blogger and friend, Dandelion Moms. I heard from a few social media legends (@mommasgonecity and @againstallgrain to name a few) about finding balance between home and big dreams.
Dove was the title sponsor of Mom 2.0 and while at the conference they promoted their campaign to eliminate negativity on social media through the hashtag #speakbeautiful. While blowing out our hair and doing our make-up (conference perks), they encouraged us bloggers to talk about what #BeautyIs on our social platforms. Dove knows that social media is one of the strongest ways to share words.
I started this blog with a commitment to authenticity, and over this past year of writing, I have been able to stick to that commitment. This blog is not only an outlet for me to share my stories. It's a resource for womanhood and motherhood and healthy living. So in response to Dove's requests and for the sake of being real, I want to talk about what young, inexperienced motherhood looks like.
I'm not just a 24 year-old mother... I mean I am, but I also became a mother before I planned. I wasn't settled into married working life before I had a child, and this has made my transition ,if not more difficult, than certainly out of the ordinary (at least where I live). I'm engaged (yay!) and have the support of a dedicated fiancé and family, but only a few of my close friends have kids and even less are married or engaged.
When we are in our early twenties we live in a world obsessed with looks. We recount in precise detail what dresses celebrities wore at the Met Gala, and our dating game is based off of a profile picture as we swipe up or down on Tinder, Hinged, or whatever the latest dating app may be.
There are popular trends going around social media platforms using #relationshipgoals or (in my world) #momgoals along with other of that similar ilk. I've followed that trend and I certainly do have mom goals - looking like a goddess in a bathing suit while simultaneously soothing a baby to sleep is just one of my more superficial fantasies. But actually, being a mom has nothing to do with appearance outside the world of social media.
I'm sure that I look like a mom now... I wear sneakers with my jeans for goodness sake - but motherhood isn't about that. Motherhood is about being complete. Before I had my son I didn't know what I was missing, and now that he's with me its like I have become a truly whole person. He's as much a part of me now as he was when he was in the womb.
Mothers aren't concerned about what other people think or busy retouching their lipstick in the ladies room mirror of some bar. Instead we are worried about our son because he has a little limp in him immature step, or because he hasn't really started talking and other kids his age have. We are only half aware of the fact that we have peanut butter in our hair (from yesterday) or that our bra is showing literally all the time.
Motherhood is messy. It's heartrending and tiring and scary, but it's also empowering. It gives women the great gift of self-understanding, confidence, and love. My understanding of my motherhood and myself is one less concerned with how my hair looks (I'm learning to love it the way that it is), and more with raising a little boy into a true gentleman.
I'm vulnerable here and I'm sure I've been judge and talked about and probably even made fun of for my efforts. I don't bother with make-up most days and I frequently have sticky toddler fingers groping down my shirt. That's just who I am in this stage of my life, and it's perfect. In the past the possibility of feeling exposed (and fully honest) might have frightened me away from writing. Now that I am a mother, I simply don't care about all of the negativity. I love myself, I love my family and friends, and I love my fellow mothers and bloggers. That's all anyone needs.