The Con that is MommyCon: My Honestly Opinionated Review

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(General Admission, Babywearing VIP, Motherlove VIP, ToddlerTime VIP, Expecting Mom VIP Swag times 2 attendees)

[ Updated 2015 MommyCon Review Experience where I gave MommyCon a Second chance and reviewed their updated program and changes. Please read the update to see if the new MommyCon is what you want to go to].

[Updated 2016 MommyCon Review will give you the improvements that have been made and what 2 years can do to change my opinion on an experience.]

MommyCon: Event that is supposed to be geared at Like-Minded parents who are choosing a natural attachment parenting style to raise their children. Filled with information booths, some vendor booths, and a day filled with seminars. A bonus available is the VIP events which promise information towards a specific topic along with a special VIP bag.

Reason Why I went: Stuff… I wanted Stuff.

Real Reason: More than one of my best friends is pregnant.

Cost: Basic Ticket $30 + VIP Babywearing $45 + VIP Motherlove $45 + VIP Expectant Mothers $45 + VIP Toddler Playdate $25

Intellectually Worth It?: Hell No.

Socially Worth It?: Oh Hellllllll to the no.

Pleasing my BFFs’: Yes.

Swag walked home with: Over $600

Sure! I would love to drag my ass up at the butt crack of dawn and drive 3 hours to a conference held in an overpriced city where parking is going to cost us over $50 for the day with your cranky toddler. Sure! I would love to support your interest! Sure I say!

Why did I say yes?!?

I love my friends, but this is one of those moments where I wish I didn’t have so many friends who had kids, and where I wish I was more selfish. Why do I put myself through this?

I hate the city. I hate life in the city, I hate the expense, the compassionless, high strung, crazy open flamboyancy and disregard for the world that thrives in the city. But yet I traveled with girlfriends and their toddlers, into the city.

Let’s start from the beginning because in all honesty, it was my fault that we even attended this. I had to run across the ad somewhere and forward it to all of them. I was the smart cookie who said, “this might interest you”. So yes, it is my fault.

I was generally enthused to go to this conference. Mostly because the hype on their Facebook and twitter is all about the brands, and if you know me, you know I love me some conferences geared towards the promotion of brands. I’ve been brand whoring it since I was 12. You are not finding any Walmart brands on me! With my impending motherhood not so far away I am sure, I decided to join the gal pals and venture into the city for what was suppose to be the event of all events.

The promised swag. They promised educational seminars, they promised booths for brand promotion. They promised education, they promised shopping and an experience.

All I got was a ton of swag (a.k.a Shit We All Get) and a semi-fun show.

Oh yeah, they also promised an interesting celebrity keynote speaker.

So I forked over the money. I snuggled, cuddled and played with all my friends toddlers. I took countless group selfies with my girlfriends, and I tried to enjoy what had to be the most dysfunctional chaos of a conference I have ever seen. 4th grade science fairs were put together better than this conference.

So lets start from the beginning of Day 1, when half of the VIP sessions came to be. Our group arrived on time. Walked into the hotel and saw a sign that said MommyCon straight ahead. Luckily this was being held in a hotel where we were familiar, because yes, the sign was wrong.

We arrived at the destination for the first VIP session, 10 minutes before it was about to start. Xza (owner/founder of MommyCon) was not even set up and ready. Her assistance (Laney) was running around trying to throw shit on the tables for a game of bingo and attempt to display stuff. So needless to say, the event started late, which was fine, because it lacked a lot. The Keynote speaker was late, there was definitely not enough food for the small group, and I learned nothing about life as an Expectant Mom. If I were actually a first time mom expecting to learn something about the experience, I would be screwed. This should have been labeled, “Expecting Again”. It was about life as a mother of a toddler, expecting a second child, and dealing with the unpleasantness of being pregnant with a nursing, co-sleeping child. Good thing my friends were all expecting again, and I was there to play with their kids more then get anything out of the experience. Including a game of bingo, review of the swag that comes in your bags, and short speech from the Keynote speaker, 28 minutes from start to finish. It was supposed to be an hour long. Well, at least the $45 spent bought me $150 in stuff!

The second VIP session that followed the first was a VIP Babywearing Session. You were supposed to learn something about babywearing. I know about babywearing because my friends are obsessed with it. I think its awesome. I think its cute, and I love wearing my friends kids. But if I were new to this, I would be screwed. Babywearing VIP was all about getting a baby carrier. You learned about two brands, Beco and Ergo. Who were the sponsors of the event. You learned nothing about the other brands, and you paid pretty much to talk to the marketing reps, do a Q+A about who knew more about these two specific brands, and receive your carrier. Again, another hour wasted! It would have been nice if they actually discussed any of the other types of babywearing techniques. But lets be honest, sponsored by Beco and Ergo, means that its a Babywearing Ergo/Beco fest. Well, at least $45 bought me a $130 baby carrier.

Day one was 2 hours of VIP events, to be continued by the next days festivities which were supposed to be 10 hours of events.

Don’t arrive early, if you want the magic to be ruined. At 730am, 30 minutes before the event is set to open registration, the staff is not dressed, vendors are not set up, nor do they know where they are supposed to be. The organizers are screaming at each other in frustrations, crazy lesbians are yelling at other attendees, and if you can get a smile out of anyone who is not trying to sell you something, you win a prize! With an expectation of 500 attendees, I wish they would have splurged for more space. People were falling all over each other. The photography studio was in the middle of the walkway, and you couldn’t buy anything without being trampled because the walkways were too small between vendor booths and people were running into you every time you stopped by a booth to talk.

It was pure chaos. There was supposed to be a food court, that did not exist. There were supposed to vendors for a shopping experience, there were only 2-3 where you could actually buy stuff, the rest were just reps to show off stuff. There was supposed to be a time to enjoy the conference, but if you were doing seminars, that was not going to happen. I understand the need to fill time with educational seminars and workshops, but running them back to back, running behind. Not having your stage set up, not having your volunteers versed or trained, not having your vendor booths ready, not having any food court or sign for food, or time to even get food because your events all ran overtime. Oh dear lord! I wanted to shoot myself in the head!

It you’re looking for some freebies, this is a good thing to go to. If you’re looking to learn much. You’re shitting yourself. If you want to pull your hair out, this is the place to be.

If I could have done it differently, I would I have gone to the VIP sessions, grabbed my free stuff and left. I would have come in the morning, registered and gotten my free stuff and left and then returned at the end of the event at 6pm for the giveaways and see if I won anything. That is about it.

I will highlight some good that came from the event:

Cotton Babies Founder, Jenn Labit made my heart swell with her story of why she started her business, and how it grew from necessity to what it is now. Her giving back to the community she once was apart of was also heartfelt and makes me want to give my freebies I received from Mommycon to her organization to help mothers struggling. Her seminar, while not educating me about any other brand but hers, was fun, and came with freebies.

Honest Toddler Mama ran the Toddler VIP playdate and she was so much fun. She is a mama you want to surround yourself with. She is someone who tells it like it is. This made me start reading her blog, and now I need to buy the book. Her seminar we missed because we decided eating lunch was more important, but listening to her talk a little during the playdate was great.

BabyGearGuyNYC- Jaime Grayson was hilarious with his ugly angry baby doll. A gay actor without children who knows all there is to know about baby gear was sooooo San Francisco. Or NYC I guess. He was hilarious and the fact that he found uses for products meant for women and children made the morning even more fun. That was just a comedic experience more than an educational one.

Some advice I would like to share with the event organizers:

Dear Xza…. stop promoting this event as a well rounded event for those wanting to learn about attachment parenting. This is really an event about branding and how many sponsors you can sell during 10 hours. Maybe its time to fork over some money and hire people because it honestly looks like volunteers just makes the situation worse. Oh, and obviously, if you’re the organizer, you should be awake and dressed and ready before anyone else.

Dear Kayla, thanks for being Xza’s slave. Its obvious that you do the grunt work and are seriously unhappy about it. But without you, nobody would know what the hell they are supposed to do. I hope you glue that green folder to your hand next time.

Dear Laney… smile. You look like something has been living in your butt for the last year, cracking a smile and losing the attitude might make things better. I watched you grumpily walk around trying to own the show for 2 days and while I know you’re a vital part of Team MommyCon, please don’t act like some disgruntled teenager who is now stuck in a room with her worse enemies. You need to actually look like you’re welcoming people to this event, smile at registration and stop judging people based on what you see. Your attitude is unnecessary.

Dear Daniella, owner of Nuroo…. tone down the excitement about your product a little, and don’t make everyone who comes to your booth feel like an idiot. Because your self righteous education on skin to skin would have been taken better if you didn’t make everyone who thought they were doing it right feel like they were idiots. Our whole group felt that way when we walked away, especially since our intention was to buy stuff.

Dear Sustainablebabyish owner, we know you’re a eurotrash hippy by the way you’re dressed. We know you’re unhappy by the way you act. We wish you’d crack a smile once in a while. But then again, thats probably why you’re one of the biggest sponsors, that whole unhappy thing seems to come with this conference. Also… it would have been nice that as the operator of the cloth diaper information center, you did more then just promote your brand. Its overpriced, and you making it sound like its way better then other brands is super shady, educate people… don’t just slam other brands and promote yours, that was rude and unfortunate since not everyone in our party could afford your brand. Thanks for ruining it for all of us.

Dear end of conference giveaway… next time, try just giving stuff away using people’s registration numbers or tickets or something better then a staff member picking “random” names from a list of attendees. It’s obvious that you have made friend and bonds, and a giveaway is worthless to people who have been around all day if you’re just going to give stuff to people you know.

Dear KeyNote Speaker… thanks for the nap.

Dear Crazy Self-Righteous Moms and Moms to Be…. stop yelling at people and telling them what they are doing with their children is wrong. You know nothing about them, so you telling them cloth diapering is the only way, or that because they are formula feeding they are horrible human beings is not what this whole mentality of a village is about.

Overall, I would say MommyCon is kind of a con. It is not a conference that taught me anything aside from I really think I want to be a mainstream BabiesRus brand mom one day, and I think attachment parenting hippies are all self righteous bitches. This may be the only time I curse in a blog, but for this one, its warranted. It was chaos. It was a mess. I don’t even think the amount of stuff I came home with made this conference worth it. Watching women degrade each other because of their parenting choices was appalling. Watching the organizers disappear and leaving 500 women waiting around doing nothing for 5 minutes was not promising. Watching staff members yell at each other publicly was just, I don’t even know how to word that. But going to a conference that was supposed to be about the greater good, a new era of parenting, with a value placed on giving parents alternative choices that turns out to be all about selling the brands that sponsored you, was pretty disappointing.

Thanks a lot MommyCon. You have taught me this stereotype of Attachment Parenting being a part of a village is a complete con. I had a horrible time and my friends all agreed that they hated it too. So thanks a lot for the swag, cause that is really all we got out of it. My main stream non-attached trying their best parent acquaintances are way more interesting to be around then the looney bin of babywearing, breastfeeding, self righteous mommyconners we walked into.

I guess I walked into MommyCon with high expectations and to enjoy myself and instead walked out with a ton of stuff and raging headache. In all honesty, I never want to go to this event again. At least not actually attend it. Instead, I will go and pick up my swag, and instead enjoy a day at the spa.

*This is my honest review with my honest opinions which I have utilized my first amendment right to share. I have received no kickbacks, sponsorship or free product endorsements.

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3 thoughts

  1. I went to one of the first MommyCon events last year. I was hoping by now they’d have gotten their act together! I was giving them the benefit of the doubt that they were still learning and growing and figuring things out. Sounds like the event was the same chaotic mess it was over a year ago.

    I did VIP events as well and the swag was worth the ticket price. If I had paid just for the conference I would have been so disappointed. The general admission swag bag they had been bragging about was a pacifier and a bottle. That’s it. The best thing I got at the main conference was a miniature candy bar from one of the booths.

    There was NO food anywhere to be bought in the building. If you wanted to eat you had to leave and drive somewhere. The speakers were ok but I felt like everyone was just flying by the seat of their pants, like they just wanted it to be this casual thing and therefore it was not informational. (Same with VIP). They didn’t have the big name speakers they do now though. Ticket price would have been worth it to hear Honest Toddler!

    I bet it was Lainey that was manning the sign in booth. I walked in, unsure where to go or what to do because no one was there to guide you and there were no signs. There was a table that I had no idea was the sign in booth because no one was there! As I walked in and headed for a vendor booth who I bet was Lainey snapped at me that I needed to check in. Well have someone greeting your paying attendees then! Never saw her smile. There were no signs pointing you anywhere so I missed a few things, including the midwife booth they had shoved back in a corner behind a screen in the nursing lounge.

    It was just so unorganized. The whole time I felt so badly for people who had driven hours to attend. Thank goodness I was local. By the picture the swag has certainly improved so at least it’s not a total waste!

    They did give away some great stuff at the end via contests and picking names from registration. One person managed to win three of the large prizes! She had also been one of their volunteers so you make a good point about how they might have chosen winners.

    Thanks for letting me unload on the disappointment! I didn’t go with anyone so I didn’t have anyone to complain to! I do feel like they missed an opportunity to have people make connections and get to know each other. It almost seemed cliqueish and yes, some very judgemental people there.

  2. I just came back from my first Mommycon in the OC and I should have listened to you instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt. If anyone else reads this, please read the reviews of other blogs in which the bloggers are NOT sponsored by the convention for a real review. This convention is a waste of your time. The “swag bag” consisted of a $2 rubber ducky, $5 child shirt, $20 probiotic from a company that didn’t exibit, a key fob, and a snack bar. The rest were advertisements and maybe small samples…like a sample of lube (yeah..I know). The “swag bag” was a joke and the organizers made excuses like “oh the sponsors didn’t want to donate again. We can’t force them.” Yes, but you can do your job and look for other sponsors then. Your marketing/PR obviously failed here and your attendees suffered for them. They also said that the convention is more than just the swag bag, it’s about meeting new people and the sessions. I came alone and am new to the mom community. No one jumped on the chance to get to know me and those sessions, I can easily look up the information online. I’ve been to other baby expos before and this is a serious joke and SUCH a waste of time as voiced by other attendees and then vendors. There was a thread on the mommycon oc facebook group that the organizers DELETED because people were expressing their disappointment. Why would you delete people’s concerns? I am extremely disappointed and hope that this woman’s blog and my post (since I can’t really voice my opinion anywhere else..I wish there was a yelp page for it because I would totally be on it) help spread the word that Mommycon is NOT worth your time. And I also agree that the raffle is probably rigged. It’s interesting that they pre-picked numbers and they’re probably friends of the organizers.

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