After much anticipation, MommyCon Austin is officially behind us. And it was awesome! I enjoyed all of the sessions I went to, and loved being surrounded by other like-minded moms. Now it’s time to finally recollect my thoughts after the whirlwind that was my first MommyCon!
I’m somewhat of a planner. I went into MommyCon with a schedule written out of all the sessions I planned to attend, and what times I had breaks to check out the vendors and grab lunch. I may try to plan and be organized, but I am also a bit of a hot-mess mom. It seems like the more I try to have control, the more things don’t go according to plan. Since I was a part of the MommyCon blogger collective, I planned on getting to the convention center early to meet up with the other members of the media team for breakfast at 8:30. But after a rough night, Ellis needed to sleep in Saturday, so I let him. That meant I was missing the media breakfast, but I still planned on catching a ride with my friends to get there by 9 for registration, or at least by 9:30 for the first session on our agenda. But we were running late, and by the time we parked, fed the baby and walked over to the convention center and got checked in, it was about 10:15. So we missed the first session we had planned to attend, but that’s OK. There were still plenty more great sessions for us that day. I peeked in to check out a couple of the vendors and grab a Kind Bar (thank goodness, since I’d skipped breakfast!), then we headed into the next session on our lineup to learn about potty training. My son is only 14 months old, and we hadn’t quite starting researching all that jazz yet on our own. I ended up learning a lot from this session and took home some great tips to try out when it’s potty-training time.
All this time, my husband was with Ellis, taking him on some Austin adventures. My friend Catherine was also at MommyCon with me, and her husband was watching their 17-month-old, so we let the dads be “mom for a day,” (as I called it). They met up at the Thinkery to let the kiddos have fun while the moms enjoyed a relaxed morning without the babies at MommyCon. My husband said they loved it! And we didn’t even have to pay, since we have a membership to the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History (we get in free to over 250 other museums around the country, how cool is that?).
While I waited for my husband to pick me up for lunch, I spent a little time checking out some more of the vendors (there were so many great vendors!). He picked me up around noon, I nursed Ellis, then we headed to lunch. The first place we went to was oddly closed, (apparently their servers didn’t show up), so we checked out our list of other restaurants we’d planned to hit up, and headed to the next one. To save time, we ordered it to-go and ate in the car as we headed to Starbucks (another stop I needed, since moms need coffee). Grabbed my coffee and headed back to the convention center. Tried to find where our friends parked since we needed to swap out car seats for the ride back after MommyCon. Turns out we went up and down the wrong parking garage before we finally found where they were parked at the other parking garage. Ellis was napping in the car seat at this point, so my husband made the trek to walk to the convention center, go up to the 4th floor and meet our friends to grab their keys, come back and do the swap. After all that madness it was 2:30 by the time Ellis and I got back to MommyCon (insert the ghost-breathing emoticon here)! All of that lunch/shuffling/driving around took two and a half hours out of my precious time at MommyCon! We had an hour allotted for our lunch break, and that means I missed yet another session I had planned to go to. So I spent a little more time checking out the vendors before heading to my next session: Sex and the Breastfeeding Mom with Naya Weber (she’s an awesome lady who runs the Lactivist in Louboutins blog and is an aspiring IBCLC, lactation consultant). This session was very different for me, since I could no longer sit and quietly take notes. I had Ellis with me now, so I listened from the back as he played in the play area, diligently eating all the spongy play things.
After that I made another stop to check out more vendors and get help from Tekhni for some one-on-one wrapping breakdowns. Before I knew it, MommyCon was coming to a close. I’d say winding down, but that wouldn’t be an accurate description. The excitement kept building right up to the very end, with everyone packed in for all the awesome giveaways. They finish out each MommyCon by giving away $10,000 worth of mom-approved products, so make sure you stay to the very end! Heck, one of my friends ended up winning the BEST jogging stroller- a BOB duallie ($710 value)! Totally jealous.
All things considered, here’s what I learned from my first MommyCon and what I might do differently next time:
Considering how long my lunch break ended up taking, next time I’d rather just do what my friends did and literally walk across the street and eat wherever is closest, not caring about how fun and family friendly it is. Ain’t nobody got time for that lol. Or most likely, I’ll pack a lunch or have my husband deliver to me. Either way, that means I don’t have to go anywhere, so I’d have more time to shop during the lunch break rather than having to miss sessions to check out vendors.
My afternoon at MommyCon with Ellis in-tow was admittedly less easy than my baby-free morning. However I LOVED that the convention was totally prepared for our littles. They had snack stations, arts and crafts areas, toys/play areas and several diaper changing stations (with diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, the works!). Seriously. The Babyganics diaper changing stations were SO AWESOME! It’s funny the things we get excited about as moms, isn’t it? I never thought I would be so stoked about butt wipes, but here I am. Nearly a month later I’m still raving about it haha.
All in all, I had so much fun at my first MommyCon. Absolutely loved it, and can’t wait to do it all again next year! We got cool swag, learned great tips, listened to some rad speakers and made fast friends.
One of the biggest takeaways was being able to nurse my baby in public, no cover, no shame without feeling like I had to worry about anyone saying something ugly about it. I don’t ever cover while breastfeeding in public anymore anyway. I tried it early on and decided it wasn’t for us. Sometimes I do the double shirt method (which keeps you very covered) and sometimes I have clip-down nursing tanks or a wrap-style dress. I generally try to avoid NIP if I can, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, and baby’s needs come first, of course. Sometimes I’ll retreat to the car to nurse, and sometimes I’ll nurse where I am. Sometimes I try to find an isolated and quiet corner, but sometimes I’ll nurse at the table while I’m waiting on my food at a restaurant. When I do the latter, I find myself with a resting bitch face that reads “Come say something to me. I dare you. I WILL CUT YOU.” Haha no joke! I live in a very conservative state, and you hear stories all the time of moms being shamed for nursing in public. Luckily I haven’t had anyone say anything to me, but they might not want to approach me with that look on my face either lol. Anyway, it was a nice relief to be in such a breastfeeding-friendly environment with no worries while I fed my baby. Based on the online chatter, that seemed to be one of the aspects that attendees loved most about MommyCon, and I agree!
While MommyCon Austin is over, MommyCon is not yet done for the year. Next stops are Costa Mesa (Aug 20 & Nov 11-12 for MiLK), Orlando (Sept 3) and San Jose (Oct 29). For more info, check out mommycon.com and use code SHARONISAMOM16 for $5 off general admission tickets.