Last weekend I got to go to what I consider one of the most empowering and supportive conventions I’ve ever attended. You may recall last year when I posted about driving a total of over 1,300 miles while 31 weeks pregnant with a 22 month old in the back seat so I could get to the closest MommyCon in Memphis, TN. I begged Xza to bring one closer to home and she surprised me with options in Atlanta, GA and Orlando, FL for 2015. Apparently I was not the only one thrilled by this news as both events sold out even after doubling their event space. I marked Orlando’s date on my calendar and counted down the days while chatting with other Florida parents in the Facebook group and researching the vendors and speakers I would get to meet.
MommyCon brings together a group of people interested in supporting you as a parent, specifically as a mommy (though the definition of a mommy isn’t really bound by gender or dna, and the goal is to support your bond with your baby first and foremost). A group of speakers present a number of topics both informational and entertaining; there are instructional workshops to help you navigate the logistics of babywearing or family yoga; and there is even a special spot for toddlers to get their hands dirty and engage in creative play when the crowd gets overwhelming.
The vendors you’ll meet at MommyCon carry products you may not find on your own that can make life so much easier. And unlike picking something up at a big box retailer, or even at some websites, you’re able to ask any questions you have and get real time answers because these folks are invested in their products and know why they work. I loved watching a demonstration from Eylas.com where an EcoVessel was thrown to the floor (by a grown man, not by an angry toddler) repeatedly to show exactly how durable these amazing drink containers are.
The Cloth Diaper Resource Center (carefully curated and hosted by our own favorite person, Kim Rosas!) (Editor’s Note: I didn’t pay her to say that! LOL!) offers a chance to look, touch, and take apart many different styles and brands of cloth diapers so you can see why one diaper retails for thirty nine dollars and another is only twelve ninety five. You can feel exactly how soft and squishy some fitteds can be, and see what all the fuss is about with the newest style diaper and some limited edition prints. Best of all, you can ask the expert herself about any cloth diaper concern you may have, from laundry to maintenance to fit to troubleshooting. The resource center was one of the busiest tables I saw at MommyCon (I even hopped behind the table to help answer questions myself throughout the day when it got busy) and it was fantastic to meet so many local parents who cloth diaper or are looking into getting started.
There are sleep consultations for toddlers as well as infants and even in regards to transitioning from the family bed. The breastfeeding lounge is fully stocked to ensure women have a quiet spot to sit and have something to drink and feed their babies comfortably. You’ll also find amazing discounts, giveaways, and exclusives at the event, not to mention an incredible swag bag chock full of products curated from a variety of retailers. The gift bags are put together with an infant in mind, with lots of breastfeeding or bottle feeding items included, but you’ll find something for everyone and anything you can’t use personally can be gifted to a friend or even donated to a local resource center for new moms who could use some help (I like Alpha House in my area).
The best gift I take home from MommyCon is the community I’m able to connect with. While some of my new friends traveled to be here, many of them live just down the road and yet we may never have met without the incredibly supportive and friendly group that MommyCon brings together. I’m already looking forward to my next MommyCon. The remaining events for this year will take place in Washington DC, Columbus, Newport Beach, and Seattle. So far two dates have been announced for 2016, Chicago and Atlanta!
(Disclosure: Lara received free admission as media to attend this event, no other compensation was received.)