MommyCon Review: Reasons to Go & What to Avoid

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Last weekend I attended my very first MommyCon. I’m not sure how long the event has been going on, but it was sold out in Columbus, Ohio and (in the crunchy world) there is considerable hype surrounding it. I might also add that this event is heavily geared toward the natural parenting crowd. If you don’t want to find out more about babywearing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, or essential oils, this event is not a good fit for you. My friends Jesse and Amanda and I decided to take a baby-free trip – I can assure you, we were some of the only ones who didn’t bring our children! – and just enjoy the seminars and shopping uninterrupted. We definitely enjoyed ourselves a great deal; however, there were some definite downsides to the trip. Without further ado, I give you my MommyCon Review: Reasons to Go & What to Avoid.

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  • Reasons To Go
    • The Swag: Oh free stuff! How I love thee! If you’ve decided to jump on the crunchy-train and are looking for an awesome swag-bag, go to MommyCon. Most, if not all, of the vendors who came to the event contributed to the bags. Here is an itemized list of everything that came in my bag
      • Kiinde “Twist” Direct Pump and Direct Feed Breastmilk Storage Set ($40 value – that in itself pays for your MommyCon ticket!)

        VIP Cottonbabies & General Admission Swag Bags

        VIP Cottonbabies & General Admission Swag Bags

      • Combi Toddler Sippy Cup with Handles
      • Pack of Evenflo breastpads
      • Little Remedies Gripe Water
      • Ameda Breastmilk storage bags and pump connector
      • Mum Bottle
      • Moby Baby cap
      • Milk Daze Stay-Dry Nursing Pads
      • Hyper-biotics Pro-Moms Probiotics
      • Hyper-biotics Pro-Kids Probiotics
      • Kind Bar
      • 10% off card from babylonia
      • 15% off coupon from Eyla’s
      • $5 off order from Potty Schmotty
      • 20% off coupon for anything from Combi
      • 20% off moby wrap
      • Free Subscription to Green Child Magazine
    • The VIP Sessions: There were several VIP sessions available to anyone who purchased a general admission ticket to MommyCon. If you were able to get one of these tickets they were well-worth the money! Jen Labit came and discussed how to juggle being an entrepreneur and a mother. In truth, I felt like she had said that speech so many times it just came off as a bit uninspired. Aside from the Cottonbabies VIP session there were other sessions including one for Babywearing with Beco & Ergobaby ($60 – which came with a free carrier with retails for around $140), The Leaky Boob with Ameda & Ergobaby, Expectant and New Parents with The Baby Guy NYC, Mighty Mornings with the Honest Toddler & Plum Organics.But this VIP ticket is worth it just for the swag you can get with it. I bought my VIP Cottonbabies session ticket for $40; here is what was included in my bag
      • A Catbirdbaby cross-body satchel (for mom!)
      • Louis Print Bumgenius Wet Bag ($40 value)
      • Louis print Bumgenius Elemental Cloth Diaper ($26 value)
      • Bumgenius Bottom Cleaner 2.0
      • Sample of MotherLove Diaper Rash & Thrush Cream
      • Sample of Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter
      • Sample of No Regrets Soap
      • Sample Spray Bottle of what-EVER multi-purpose cleaning solution
      • Medium Sippy Cup from Re-Play
      • Frankenstein Leggings (so so cute and just in time for Halloween!)
      • Earth Mama Angel Baby Chapstick
    • The Seminars:  If you couldn’t get a VIP ticket, there were plenty of informative seminars available throughout the day to choose from. I personally attended the several and have put them in BOLD below. I highly recommend all the seminars that I went to. I especially found Patty McCormick’s session on Essential Oils to be the most informative. She had a wonderful way of making them less confusing and taking the guesswork out of EOs. She saved me many hours of research and a great deal of trial and error when using EOs. If you have a chance to see her talk, GO! Here’s a list of the speeches you could attend throughout the day
      • Cloth Diapering 101 with Jen Labit
      • Potty Schmotty on Potty Training

        Potty Schmotty @ MommyCon Columbus

        Potty Schmotty @ MommyCon Columbus

      • Breastfeeding, Pumping, and Going Back to Work
      • Parenting & Your Family Origin
      • Babywearing 101
      • Boobs & Bottles with Leaky Boob
      • Turning Red To Green – A Switch to Reusable Menstrual Products with Dirty Diaper Laundry
      • Wrapping 101
      • Essential Oils with Patty McCormick (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS)
      • Dinner Solved! with Katie Workman
      • When a Lending Library Could Be a Learning Library
      • Car Seat Safety with The Baby Guy NYC
      • Giveaways with The Baby Guy NYC
    • The Giveaways: Aside from the general admission swag bag and the VIP session swag bag, most vendors had giveaways running throughout the day. All you had to do was visit the table and sign up individually at each one. They would take your email or phone number and then contact you in the event you won the item they had up for grabs. I’m actually very glad I didn’t have my child with me during MommyCon because there would have been NO WAY I could have carried her around as well as all the free stuff, and this doesn’t even include the items available for sale!
    • The Affirmation & Fellowship: The natural parenting movement mostly consists of small pockets of like-minded mamas in one geographic area who befriend each other, shop at similar stores, and join similar crunchy FB Groups. I can personally say it’s very exciting to see the natural parenting message drawing more and more parents. It was so great feel the affirmation that I was in the right place with the right people at MommyCon. There was a fellowship to the entire event, and a sense that everyone there was, in some way, already friends. People met, mingled, and most people were clearly very happy to be there and get to know new like-minded moms.
  • What To Avoid
    • Don’t Rely On MommyCon Website: The MommyCon website is a bit of a mess, especially if you’re looking at it on your smartphone (which most people were). All the formatting was off and the site was glitchy, in general. This was particularly a problem when trying to buy the VIP ticket. I tried to buy a babywearing ticket as well but the website froze and by the time I got it to work they were all sold. Contacting an administrator for MommyCon was also very inconvenient, as the only way to do so was by email. If you needed an immediate answer, you were out of luck.
    • Don’t Forget to Bring Deoderant/Perfume: Perfume (and for crunchy moms, deodorant) usually isn’t on the top 10 list of many moms; however, it’s common courtesy to make yourself smell pleasant when you know you’re going to be crowded into an event area among a large number of other moms and babies. Another MAJOR smell-producer at the event was the dirty diaper factor. With all these moms came a LOT of poopy babies. Surprisingly, a lot of people were using the complimentary Babyganics disposable diapers available at the changing station. Not surprisingly, the Sheraton Hotel was not great at changing the trashcan which held all the old poopy diaper refuse. Not a good thing.
    • Don’t Rely On Hotel Being Prepared For You: When we got to the hotel, we used valet parking because we didn’t know where else to park. Most everyone did this, including the other vendors. To be short, the hotel simply hadn’t made sure the valet company had enough staff to handle the influx of cars. There was a line backed up into the street of moms with cranky babies waiting for valet. Both coming and and leaving, the valet company did an awful job. To their credit, the morning we were leaving they said 2 employees called in sick at the last minute. Despite this, there was a general air of frustration which was made worse by the presence of cranky babies (no wonder).
    • Don’t Rely on Venue for Food: There was some light breakfast served in a few of the conference rooms (croissants, danishes, fruit, and coffee) both days but that was the extent of the food made available by the hotel. For lunch or anything else you needed to either go to the hotel restaurant or leave the hotel altogether.
    • Don’t Forget to Find Out About the City: Let me just say that Columbus, Ohio is a weird city. I have never before been to a city where all the restaurants are closed on a Saturday. Literally, over half of the places we tried to enter on Saturday were completely closed. The hotel said this was because they didn’t generate enough income on the weekends to make it worth the money of opening. I found the city to have an odd tension in it which was made worse by the lack of business open on the weekend. Make sure you get some intel on whatever city you will be going to so you can plan ahead.

Overall, I enjoyed myself a lot at MommyCon. I came with two like-minded friends who shared my enthusiasm for the seminars and for the spirit of the event. There were some disappointments, to be sure, but overall I was happy with the vendors and speakers invited to the event. The free stuff certainly sweetened the deal! It could have been a bit better organized; however, when you have an event with a bunch of moms and babies as the primary guests, you have to take chaos with a grain of salt. As a parting thought I would say that unless they dramatically change the vendors or the seminar content, I don’t think I will be back to MommyCon for some time. It is mainly geared toward moms who are just beginning their journey toward being crunchy. Many of the seminar topics I had either already educated myself on or lived through.

 

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Choosing the Best Cloth Diapers For Your Family

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Molly2Molly, founder of HineyTales, has been cloth diapering for 3 years. Working 4 days a week and with 2 kids under 3 years old in cloth diapers, she tries to remember that parenting is an adventure with plenty of room for mistakes, short-cuts, and imperfections. Her inspiration for starting HineyTales is to spread the #crazyforcloth message to working mamas. With only  a little help needed to get started, it’s one of the best decisions a family can make.

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