If you have been to a MommyCon event, then you know the empowerment that comes from being in a room of like-minded and supportive people. It feels so good to hear that you are not alone, to learn from each other, and to make new connections. But, as MommyCon grows, it gets harder to make those one on one connections, there are so many people to see and meet. Enter Gather, MommyCon’s newest style of events. This event is more intimate, smaller numbers and spaces allow for deep conversations, and getting to really know the other attendees.
Gather was held at Bubbles Academy, an amazing play and learning space, in Chicago. I had never been to Bubbles Academy but it was absolutely the perfect space, for this event. There was plenty of fun to be had in the play spaces, and , mamas and daddies were able to comfortably converse while watching their kids play, feed their babies, learn about new products, and make new friends.
Bubbles kicked things off with a sample class, which was so much fun. Parents were able to interact with their babies through songs, fingers plays and sensory stimulating activities. I popped into the class for a few minutes, and saw nothing but smiles on the parents and babies faces.
This event was broken into two separate sessions, for different stages in parenting. The first session was geared toward parents that were expecting or have infants and crawlers. The second session of the day was geared towards those parents with walkers and toddlers. Both sessions included some interactive play and a panel made of up some amazing mamas.
The discussion for the expectant and new mama session was “Babywearing, Boo-Boo’s, and Boardrooms” and the panel featured Abby Theuring of The Badass Breastfeeder, Tiana Kubik, and Xza founder of MommyCon. Admittedly, I was enjoying connecting with old and new friends, and I didn’t stay for the entire session, but I was there for the beginning portion and many others confirmed that amazing discussion was taking place. A story that Abby shared really hit home with me, she shared and experience that after a long day with her children she remembered needing to use the bathroom and she apologized for having to do so. She related that it was an important moment for her to realize that it was Ok and necessary for her to take time for herself, in order to be a the best mom she could. I so related to that, as well as every other mom in the session. I could see the knowing nods of experienced moms and the relief in some of the new mamas eyes, know that they are not alone.
The panel for the toddlers and walkers session was “Toddlerhood, Chaos and Managing it All. The panel featured politician Alexandria Eidenberg, Tech and Entrepreneurial Wiz Ehi Aimiuwu, and again Xza of Mommycon. Again, amazing discussion was facilitated by these mamas. Because I am a toddler mama, I stayed for this session and my mama bucket was overfilled. I left feeling refreshed and empowered.
Between playing and the panel discussions, attendees were able to shop and learn about new products from the brands there. Ergo was so awesome to sponsor the event, so of course they were there, as well as LatchPal, Babyganics, Happy Family and of course we can’t forget the MommyCon shoppe! I saw many parents leaving with new carriers, adorable t-shirts, skin care, amber jewelry and of course, new friends.
Aside from being the first Gather event of 2018, this was an extra special day because MommyCon was celebrating their 5th birthday! We celebrated by enjoying some delicious cupcakes and their were plenty of snacks for the little ones too. Oh! And I can’t forget the hastag printer, which was so cool! When attendees posted photos of the event to their social media acounts using the hashtags for the event (#gatherchicago #inmyergo) and they printed right out. The photos were displayed during the event, and then were an awesome physical memory to take home. I hear the printer is going to be at all the MommyCon events this year, so come ready to snap lots of pics!
I enjoyed this event so much, and am so looking forward to MommyCon Chicago in March! I reccommend events like this to all my friends, and especially those with little ones.
If you are hesitating at all, about attending an event in 2018, I can assure you that you won’t regret attending. Follow MommyCon on Facebook and Instagram, for announcements on Gather and MommyCon events throughout the coming year!
About the author: Aryn is a Wife, Mama and Certified Lactation Counselor. She shares her musings on motherhood, journey to self love, breastfeeding tips, along with her favorite mom and beauty products on her blog With Cream and Sugar. You can keep up with her musings on motherhood and daily adventures on Instagram