My favorite weekend of the year is the one after Mother’s Day, because that’s when MamaCon happens. What is MamaCon, you ask? It’s only the most awesome event ever. Imagine a Star Trek convention, but replace the Trekkies with moms, and instead of sessions with William Shatner, you get sessions on getting your kids to eat their vegetables, organizing your home, and keeping your sex life vibrant. Oh, and did I mention you get spa treatments too? Mark your calendars for May 17, 2014.
Let me be clear: I am not getting a kickback from the organizers, Kim and Amy, who by the way are FABULOUS people, to talk up their event. I buy my tickets, just like anybody else. I just love their event so much that I want to do everything I can to keep it going, so I tell everyone I know about it. And people I don’t know. If MamaCon stopped happening, I might show up at one of their houses, drunk and sobbing, begging them to make it happen again, desperate for a fix of that sweet sweet mama me time.
I discovered MamaCon because I am kind of a Nikki Knepper groupie (you probably already figured that out from my gushing about her book, which you should buy–no, she isn’t giving me a kickback either) and in 2012, I heard she was going to be at this event called MamaCon. I didn’t care what MamaCon was, I just knew if Nikki was going to be there, I had to go so I could meet her. And I did, and she was just as awesome in person as I imagined, AND I got to discover how awesome an event MamaCon is, so, win-win. The following year, Nikki came back to town for MamaCon 2013, and by this time I had convinced half my friends to come too. A few of us made a weekend out of it, staying at the conference hotel and drinking a lot of wine and talking about our vaginas and poopy diapers and kindergarten tantrums, and just generally having a fantastic time.
Nikki was the Friday night speaker for the event, and after she spoke, she took questions from the audience. There was a newer mom in the audience who started talking about how hard it is to meet other moms like her. She said she feels like the moms she comes across are either not at all interested in their kids–they just want to go out and party and ignore their kids all the time, and she feels uncomfortable around them–or they’re all uber perfect moms whose kids always look happy and they have all these perfect little crafts they do together and they put photos of them on Facebook and she feels inadequate around them, because sometimes her kids drive her batty and she feels like her kids are a mess compared to her friends. She said, “How come their lives seem so perfect in their Facebook pictures?”
And my friend Katie, who was in the audience with us, shouted “BECAUSE THEY’RE LYING!!!” And Nikki came down from the stage and hugged Katie and said “Thank you! Finally someone says it.”
See, here’s the thing. Most people don’t put a photo of the horrible tantrum on Pinterest. They don’t take a video of their 18 month old crying for an hour at 2AM, and even if they did, they wouldn’t put it on Facebook. Instead, they share the positive times. The smiling kid who just lost his first tooth. The adorable toddler with pigtails and a party dress. The teenager hugging his mom. But these are not the majority of the moments we spend with our kids. That’s the highlight reel. The day in, day out slog of parenting that makes those special moments so precious and so shareable? That part doesn’t usually get to the Internet.
Which is why an event like MamaCon is so important. Because, it gives us a chance to get together with other moms in person, without the shield of Facebook to protect us from showing what is really happening with us. It’s not just the speakers, which are awesome, but the sisterhood, and the feeling that you are not alone, and that it’s OK not to be perfect and happy all the time. It’s OK to be struggling and weird and unique, just like all the other moms. It’s some powerful stuff.
I hope to see you, with all your flaws that make you special, at MamaCon 2014 on May 17!