"What we do matters." Those words echoed over and over at the Iris Awards in Austin Friday night, as Romper shared the stage with surprise event host Adam Rippon (yes, that Adam Rippon!) and luminaries in the world of female and gender nonconforming entrepreneurship to celebrate the achievements of content creators, digital influencers, and storytellers. In a time when the world often seem a daunting and chaotic place to bring children into and raise them to be good people, telling our stories is a way to connect hearts, open minds, and build bridges. That's why we were thrilled this year to partner with Mom 2.0 to sponsor their 2019 Summit, and to present the incredibly meaningful "People's Choice" award for favorite parenting blog, nominated and voted on by everyday readers just like you.
"We founded Romper on our belief in the power of women and nonbinary individuals with kids telling their own stories, and it has been such a privilege to meet with you, the storytellers, this week," my colleague Margaret Wheeler Johnson, director of features and brand initiatives at Bustle Digital Group, told the audience of summit attendees as we took the stage.
And the People's Choice winner was ... Mary Katherine Backstrom, creator of "Mom Babble," the hilarious and heartfelt social media personality and popular blog. Backstrom writes about her life as a mom, covering everything from her struggle to come to terms with what her legacy will be to her children, to wrestling with the unexpected shifts of adulthood, why parents have to be kind to themselves, and the importance of maternal mental health, just for starters.
"I came to Mom 2.0 because in about two weeks I’m having a mastectomy and I thought it would be good distraction," Backstrom told the audience. But she found so much more. "So many amazing women came up to me during the last few days and said 'Hey, I've experienced this and I want to talk to you.' I had people say, 'Thank you so much for talking about this,' and who have put their arm around me and loved on me."
For Backstrom, that sense of support and community is the"quintessential example" of what blogging has meant to her.
Blackstrom was one of six inspiring nominees for the People's Choice Awards and we celebrate each and every one of them:
As we shared in our call for nominees, no matter where they — or we — are in the world, being nominated for a People's Choice Award is an incredible accomplishment, because it's a acknowledgement that you are on of those fellow parents we can all turn to when we’re up in the middle of the night and realllly need a good laugh, or a good cry, or just a reminder that no matter what our dilemma, we are in no way alone.
In addition to the People's Choice category, the Iris Awards celebrated excellence in online media and female entrepreneurship in categories such as writing, photography, videography, brand campaigns, design, and other talents. The annual night is a recognition of the individual achievements and collective ingenuity in this ever expanding and impactful community.
"I'm so fortunate and blessed in this community," Jill Krause, winner of the 2019 Best Photography Iris Award, said from the stage. "We are kicking ass, we are changing the world, and what we do matters."
And the complete list of Iris Award Winners:
Mom Blog of the Year: Houseful of Nicholes – Natasha Nicholes
Dad Blog of the Year: Lunchbox Dad – Beau Coffron
Group or News Blog of the Year: TODAY Parents
Breakout of the Year: Amber Leventry
Philanthropic Work of the Year: We Sow We Grow– Natasha Nicholes
Entrepreneur of the Year: Amy Nelson – The Riveter
Livestream of the Year: The Side Eye – Michelle D. Garrett, Amiyrah Martin, Brandi Riley
Instagram of the Year: Carly Anderson – @LipGlossandCrayons
Podcast of the Year: Tiffany Reese – Something Was Wrong
Most Entertaining Content: Kristin Hensley + Jen Smedley I Mom So Hard
Most Engaging Content: Jen Hatmaker — Jen Hatmaker
Best Writing: Mia Carella
Best Photography: Jill Krause
Best Parenting VLOG: Meredith Masony – That’s Inappropriate
Romper People’s Choice Awards: Mary Katherine Backstrom