Emily and I just returned from the ARM "MotherLode" Conference (Association for Research on Mothering) in Toronto. It was extraordinary.
Then, look at the delightful Andrea's awesome Flickr slideshow. Be sure to enjoy the photo of us with our dear, beautiful friend DaniGirl, one of our first blog buddies -way back in 2004!- and a truly magical person!
This was one of those moments in time, an experience that will have Emily and me talking for weeks and months to come, and we are so motivated by the many ideas and stories we heard from these talented and brilliant women.
Some of the other bright moments:
Ann Crittenden is a fantastic and mind-blowingly effective speaker, and I am going out today to buy her latest book, If You've Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything. She also likes falafel, which we had great fun buying in a hole-in-the-wall downtown Toronto falafel shop. Not only that, Emily and Ann had the unique experience of being partners in an "acting" exercise (that none of us in this particular session knew was coming!)designed to prepare mothers to speak out to lawmakers and press on advocacy issues. The exercises included staring into your partner's eyes in a meaningful way; breathing deeply; and grunting. That was one experience for the books, that's for sure! Everyone had a good chuckle over it too. My partner was a newspaper reporter who looked like she wanted to die. "I am just here to cover the story!" she kept saying.
Beth Osnes from Mothers Acting Up was the person conducting the "acting" seminar, and this is one person to keep your eyes on, not just because she launches surprise acting classes on unsuspecting conference-goers. She and her group are leading a charge to raise awareness of issues affecting children, and to get attention she has organized parades with mothers on stilts wearing suffragette costumes; filled school buses with moms and children for trips to state capitols; and writes press releases for just about everything she does, which gets her group LOTs of coverage. She is a remarkable woman, and we encourage you to visit her site, find out what you can do, and buy their very cool calendar. I got one, and it is wonderful. Beth is a very powerful public speaker, by the way, if you are ever looking for speakers.
Debra Levy and Joanne Brundage of Mothers and More conducted a valuable session on mothers and advocacy. It was so informative, and it was especially exciting to meet up with Debra. She has helped with the Pennsylvania campaign in such amazing and significant ways. She is a very special, smart person and it was a delight to meet her. I also encourage all of you to read up on the history of Mothers and More and the inspiring leadership of Joanne.
Another great honor was meeting Judith Stadtman Tucker of Mothers Movement Online. Judy has been an incredible resource for us in the Pennsylvania campaign, and she has also become someone I value as an adviser. She is one of the wisest women out there, a guru, and I am eager for our next brainstorming session.
I am so excited that we also got to meet Amy Tiemann, of Mojo Mom. Wow, she is another incredible woman. Amy said that she has a retreat center and mother activists need to meet there soon. I completely agree. Hey, Amy - when? Sign us up!
The lovely and oh so smart Jen from MUBAR was on a very compelling panel on mom bloggers. It was the best panel on the subject I have ever seen. If we could have, I think the group would have stayed all night - the discussion was that good. The panel included:
Sweet, right-on-the-mark Dani, from Postcards from the Mothership
The very smart, insightful Ann Douglas
And Marla from Hello Josephine who had some of the best quotes in her remarks that I have ever heard.
In the audience and contributing to a tremendously powerful and productive Q & A session was:
Catherine, from Her Bad Mother
Nadine from Blogging Baby and Martinis for Milk and
Andrea (a fellow DotMom!)
Whew. What a conference! Andrea O'Reilly and Renee Knapp from ARM did a fantastic job. I hope we get the chance to meet again soon, and I also hope we keep all this exicitng conversation going through the high speed, motherhood neighborhood we share.