How to MommyCon: My top 8 tips for navigating MommyCon successfully.
I've been to 5 MommyCon events (4 in Chicago and 1 in Columbus). This year I will be hosting the Cloth Diaper Resource Center and Loss Mama Sanctuary session at EVERY U.S. MommyCon. I've learned a lot about navigating MommyCon in various situations: with baby, no baby, super pregnant, with a pregnant friend and now as a speaker.
Here are my TOP 8 TIPS for how to successfully navigate MommyCon.
1. Get there EARLY. Get there about an hour early to get a good parking spot, get baby in that carrier and a good space in the registration line. You'll want to be close to the entrance - especially with babies. Also - a close space is wonderful if you collect your gift bag and do your shopping in the exhibit hall early - you can run back to the car and put everything in the trunk.
2. Carry if you can. Strollers are bulky and there are LOTS of little people walking and crawling around. You don't want to have to figure out where to put a stroller during sessions and the giveaway at the end (it's usually super packed at the end of the day).
3. Plan your day! The biggest mistake people make is not listing out what sessions they want to attend ahead of time. Set reminders to go off during the day if you need to. Get to the room a little early if you think you need a seat. Some sessions - like "Cloth Diapering 101" with Jenn Labit, CEO of Cottonbabies - can be PACKED and there are giveaways. Get their early and plant yourself near the front.
4. Talk to your favorite speakers and vendors. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone tweet - "I saw Jenn from Cottonbabies, but I was too scared to say HI!" Or "Ula from Tula was 2 feet away from me at MommyCon TOTAL FAN MOMENT." Say HI! Shake their hands. Don't follow them into the bathroom (like a creeper) or stalk them while they are eating lunch.. but if they are walking the exhibitor hall - say hello! Tell them you're a fan, believe in their product and just want to meet them. Ask them if you can snap a selfie with them. I promise that they are nice and would love to hear from you.
5. Make new friends. A lot of mamas travel solo. Lots of mama groups are welcoming. If you are sitting next to another mama, say HELLO and exchange IG handles. You'll make new mama friends. That's NEVER a bad thing.
6. Figure out your lunch plan. Does the venue have restaurants close by? Is there a hotel connected with an eatery? Does it make sense to pack lunch in the car and go out in between sessions? This year - MommyCon has built in time for lunch. You don't have to worry about "missing" something if you grab a bite to eat. Just plan it out so that you can relax and enjoy a meal. You'll need your strength to chase down baby all day and make it to giveaways at the end.
7. Take your partner, mother, friend, sibling, etc. I know it says "Mommy" in the title - but the event has a wealth of information for any type of child caregiver. There are dedicated sessions for dads. I've taken my mother in law because she helps me cloth diaper and is interested in babywearing. Take them - they won't feel out of place. Besides, someone has to help you carry all those wonderful things you'll win and buy.
8. HAVE FUN! It's a marathon, not a race.. or something like that. MommyCon is an experience. It's not just a chance to see all your favorite vendors and speakers. It's also a chance to learn a lot of new things and see new gadgets that you've never even knew existed. I've come across some REALLY useful items at MommyCon. I've heard some great speakers on topics I didn't even know were topics. Go with an open mind and try EVERYTHING: push around that new stroller you've been eyeing, try on a carrier or wrap, taste some baby-food, learn about cloth diapers and Baltic Amber, talk to the sleep consultant and take notes.
These are just a few of the things I've learned from going to MommyCon over the years. I'm sure I'll have a few more to add after travelling to so many different cities this year.
Hope to see you at one! Let's be IG friends. ;-)
If you've MommyCon'd before.. share your tips in the comments below.