What is it? I heard about MommyCon through my local babywearing group. They were putting together a group to get discounted rates to the convention. Since it was located sort of local-ish (a 4 hour drive) but only minutes from my big brother and his wife, my mind started whirling and I knew I had to go! PLUS, I am going to be an Aunt for the first time soon so what better way to introduce my sister-in-law to a fun world of natural parenting (which she was already intrigued about.)
Anyway, what is MommyCon? Quoted directly from their website, MommyCon is a parenting convention of “forward thinking in parenting concepts.” Each city they visit has a slightly different schedule but in general they feature workshops and seminars on topics ranging from breastfeeding to babywearing to chiropractic care to essential oils. It’s very family friendly, very naturally oriented.
So what did I think of MommyCon?
- It is focused on attachment and natural parenting. When these things aren’t always the normal, it’s nice to be immersed in a community where you know everyone around you has a lot of the same values as you.
- It is VERY family friendly. Hundreds of parents were wearing their babies, nursing during talks, etc. There were potty chairs available, toys, changing stations, and a nursing lounge.
- Big names sponsored it. A good 100 Ergos were given away over the course of the day not to mention other carriers, swaddles, strollers, car seats and more.
- They came to the Midwest. It is hard to parent naturally in the Midwest. It isn’t considered “hip” like on the East and West coast (not to be confused with “hippy”) Instead, I often get stares and unwanted attention from wearing my girls. I suffered a few scowls in my nursing days. It’s near unheard of to eat clean, avoid doctors, and practice home remedies. (At least it strongly feels that way.) So the fast that this conference came here because WE voted them to reminds me that I’m not so alone in this world.
- It was pretty disorganized. Things started late and ran over. None of the rooms were marked. The schedule didn’t tell anyone where to go. We figured it out after an hour or two and it made for a more relaxing afternoon but it was quite hectic at first.
- The giveaways weren’t exactly fair. Many people took home multiple prizes when others (like myself) went home empty-handed. They based it on the honor system basically that people would speak up if they had already won. And well, people weren’t honest. One family won a pump, a rocker thing, a car seat AND an ergo. Seems a bit much.
- The focus was mostly on 101 level. What I mean by this was everything was basic. If you’ve never worn a baby before or only used one mainstream type, there was likely valuable information to be learned but otherwise there was nothing really new or advanced for us parents that wanted to go to the next level.
- There really wasn’t much for older kids. My daughters are (almost) 2 and 4. Getting advice on chiropractic care during nursing or pregnancy isn’t really helpful to me. I would have loved to see how different topics like the chiropractic care, essential oils and child proofing could be used down the road from babyhood (as in the stages I’m in now!)
- Some of the seminars were really lacking. A lot of the information was factual rather than practical. The speakers seemed tired (especially the ones that have been touring with the conference all season.)
- The schedule overlapped. Rather than having to just pick between A or B, you have to pick and then decide if you want to leave A early to go to C or D or if you want to be late to C or D, not to mention deciding between C and D themselves. Confused? Yeah, me too. Typical conferences have a few main (everyone goes) seminars and then everyone breaks off into groups for smaller personal sessions. This wasn’t the case at MommyCon. Instead everyone was crammed together the whole time and if you weren’t quick or loud enough you didn’t get any face time if you had questions.
I do feel like I have more cons than pros but I really did have a good time. I did learn a lot and the community of people I was around really left an impact. We will wait and see what the schedule ends up being for 2014 before I decide if I’ll go back. I don’t really want repeats though. They’ll have to show (via website or Facebook) that they’ve grown and that the conference will grow with my children to convince me to go again, although is does make for a nice mom’s day out if nothing else.
Did any readers also go to MommyCon? What did you think?
I’ll be back next week with more. I have some spotlights planned for my favorite speakers and I’ll talk about what I learned too.
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