This is part of a sponsored post series for Domain.ME
It’s been a flashback kind of weekend where an unexpected journey to my tween years caused me to reflect on life and made me realize exactly how far I’ve come.
Let me back up.
For the last few days I’ve been in Scottsdale, Arizona attending my 5th Mom 2.0. Summit conference. As a veteran, past conferences have been spent worrying about fitting in, wondering about the direction of my work, concerned that I wasn’t doing enough to represent the companies that were sponsoring my attendance, which friends from blogging circles I’d spend time with, and finding the balance between creating conversations with strangers for the purpose of networking or attending sessions that would add to my personal professional development. I’m pretty good at masking it and seeming like an extrovert when sometimes the introvert is just wanting to find a quiet corner for a me moment.
The level of anxiety I felt as a professional adult was reminiscent of the tween and teen angst I felt in my middle school years where coping mechanisms included watching Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink during sleepovers with my tribe of friends who identified with my problems and made me feel less alone. Together we felt the hope and heartbreak of Samantha, Claire, and Andie and realized that all would be ok.
Molly Ringwald and her movie co-stars were icons of our generation. Didn’t we all have hopes for her and Jake while secretly wishing that some boy would surprise us in that same way when we turned sixteen? As you started high school did you wonder if your Saturday detention experience would be like Claire’s? And didn’t you dream that maybe one day the boy you liked would ask you to prom just like Blane asked Andie?
Fast forward to the present. In the weeks leading up to the conference, my tween/teen self was so excited to get an email from Mom 2.0 announcing Molly Ringwald as the keynote speaker for this year’s conference. Molly. Ringwald. WOW.
To be in the same room with a movie star whose work was so important to my generation was epic. My tween/teen self was freaking out.
On Thursday morning Samantha, Claire, and Andie talked to us as adult Molly, all while OMD’s If You Leave played as the soundtrack in my head. For an hour, an icon of my youth talked about topics that she’s dealing with as a mother of three like the importance of conversations with our kids, establishing a sense of self worth in our kids, and the challenges of navigating social media and screen time. It was refreshingly normal.
And as Molly talked, I realized how much each of those topics resonated with me because they represent the work that I do as a parent and the work I do for my clients and campaigns. It’s work I love and confident about because of my knowledge, expertise and ability to empower other parents.
As she talked about the importance of creating conversations, I thought of the work I do with Responsibility.org to champion education kids about the health risks associated with underage drinking as we encourage responsiblity. It reminded me that creating conversations isn’t just important when it comes to alcohol use but also the other very hard topics we have to talk to our kids about, such as their social media presence.
Molly’s parental struggles with screen time and social media don’t differ from those the rest of us face as parents. Her advice?
“I don’t agree with cutting off our kids form all social media when they’re growing up. They’re tools they need as they’re growing up. We need to teach them to use them responsibly and with compassion. It’s something that my husband and I have struggled with. They’re digital natives. They’re going to know how to navigate this world with or without us.”
With two daughters and a son, Molly spoke very candidly about trying to stay on top of the conversation with her kids who, like ours, are growing up as digital natives. Part of her teaching involves empowering them in a world where she felt bombarded by perfectionism and “incredible ageism” growing up in Hollwood.
By not listening to the haters and the trolls we’re empowering our kids to take charge of their data, a campaign that I’m currently working on with Domain.ME. I hope that I’m inspiring other parents to have conversations with their kids about the importance of owning their data and being mindful of the words, photos, and platforms that define who we are through our digital presence.
Throughout my days at Mom 2 Summit, I felt more confident, less anxious than I had in previous years. Maybe it was Molly. Maybe I rediscovered the confidence that I’ve always had that sometimes goes into hiding.
As she exited the stage and If You Leave faded in my head, I realized that the excitement that my younger self had in seeing Molly Ringwald, hearing her speak was greatly helpful to my adult self. She comforted my tween/teen self and spoke to us as a fellow parent to let me know it was all ok.
And just like one would hope, my days at Mom 2.0 concluded in a very Andie sort of way at the Iris Awards (aka Blogger Prom) where Blane was my date.
This post was inspired by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal URLs that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. Domain.ME was a sponsor of Mom 2.0 and paid my travel and lodging costs as part of my work with them. All opinions about Molly Ringwald are my own and those of my tween/teen self. Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.