Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Things to Do in Austin: MomCom.

While I generally reserve Tuesdays for posts about things to do in Austin with your kids, this Tuesday I decided to switch things up a bit and post about something to do in Austin for yourself as a mother - something to aid in refreshing yourself after all those trips around town for the kid stuff: MomCom.

This past Saturday, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go and spend the day networking with and being inspired by some amazing Austin women at a biannual conference known as MomCom. MomCom Austin was started by Trish Morrison, who as a new mother, found herself needing to find a community of support for working, blogging, and business-minded moms.

From the website:

At MomCom Austin, you’ll listen to speakers who are real people, working and living life on their own terms. You will walk away inspired by hearing real stories. You will meet new friends and you’ll hear that where you are right now in life is where you are supposed to be, whether you are ready to take that next step or don’t even know what the next step is! MomCom Austin is an inclusive event meant for women in all stages of their careers and/or motherhood. It  is a break from your every day. It’s an event that is meant to help you take a step back, take some time for yourself and  go home feeling refreshed so you can look at life with a fresh perspective and apply what you’ve learned in your day to day.

 This was my first time attending MomCom, but I was so excited to go for several reasons. First, this is the third time MomCom has been held, and I've known past participants that have raved about it. Second, it's in town. After having gone to Dallas for Bloggy Boot Camp, which I had mixed feelings about, I figured it was a no-brainer to head out towards Lake Travis in my own gorgeous city for a day away! And third, I signed up to volunteer, and got to help the amazingly talented Megan of Mean Baby for the day - how cool is that?

As for the conference itself, consider me impressed. Trish lined up some amazing speakers, including keynote speaker and pediatrician/media superstar/author Ari Brown, Carrie Contey and Bernadette Nolle of Slow Family Living, Laura Shook-Guzman of Soma Vida, Barb Steinberg, LMSW and Teen Life Coach, and Elaine Garza, the PR genius behind Giant Noise.

I'll admit - I initially thought that some of the talks would not be relevant to me personally. For example, Barb Steinberg's speech was on Teens and Sexuality. As someone who is the mother of a three-year-old nowhere near that stage of life, I figured this would be a good time for me to run to the bathroom, stretch my legs and take a mental break. WRONG. Through her lively and engaging presentation, I learned a ton of information that will help me down the road when it comes to talking to A about sex, and in the meantime, will be intensely helpful in guiding my interactions with the girls I nanny for who are slowly but surely heading towards an age where they have questions. And though I plan to be the one who has "the talk" with Ava at the different stages in her life, if I ever felt like adding another adult female into the equation would be helpful, Barb Steinberg would certainly be my go-to gal!

Each talk the speakers gave had both a personal and professional component, and I found it highly interesting that despite their professions being vastly different from my own (counselors, a pediatrician, a PR executive, etc.), their stories all resonated with me when it came to the struggles that they faced as working mothers and women who wore so many different hats.

There were a lot of things I heard over the course of the day that spoke to me personally, but none so much as this quote from Laura Shook-Guzman of Soma Vida, who used this metaphor for mothers taking time out for themselves and to rejuvenate:

"If you only put $2 into your gas tank, you're going to be pulled over again a little down the road, wondering why you can't get farther. If you take the time to fill up, though, you'll get much farther."

What a revolutionary way to put what should be the simplest of concepts, yet always gets pushed to the back of the priority line for me. If you're running on empty, you won't get very far. Seems pretty obvious, and yet, only recently have I begun to do nice things for myself when Ava is in school without feeling guilty about not devoting that time to work or housework or some form of productive or income-earning behavior. I definitely loved Laura's speech.

Ari Brown, local pediatrician and media professional extraordinairre, gave a great speech about how she got to where she is, with a bit of a pro-vaccination message to boot. While I know there are those that do not vaccinate their children, I will never be amongst them, and believe firmly and adamently in the power of vaccinations to erradicate crippling and terrifying diseases, so she's alright by me. I also really appreciated that she recognized her nanny as being a huge part of the reason why she is able to keep her life running smoothly. I always like to see that type of gratitude and recognition for the nannies out there - they're pretty awesome, if I could say so myself!

The next MomCom will be held June 29 in Austin, likely at the Oasis (the past two have taken place there), and with the summer in full swing, the view will be gorgeous - worth the cost of the ticket alone! And, for those early birds out there, tickets are only $55 for a limited time, so jump on it! You won't regret it!!!

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