In the summer of 2016 I noticed a couple of my friends discussing a convention they’d been to in Seattle geared toward moms who practice attachment parenting, green living, and holistic health. Basically everything I’m about. I’d apparently just missed out on an annual event called MommyCon, and it would be a full year before I’d get another chance to participate. Such a bummer, but I was excited for the 2017 event.
I snagged a discount Olivia shared on the blog (save $5 with promo code WESTCOAST17 on all 2017 MommyCon dates) for this year’s Northwest convention in Vancouver, B.C., so when July 22nd rolled around, Riley and I got in the car at the crack of dawn and headed up to Olivia’s neck of the woods.
Canada’s first ever MommyCon was held at the Pinnacle Hotel right in downtown Vancouver. I didn’t want to continue using my phone’s data after crossing the border from Washington state, so I took screenshots of the step-by-step directions while I waited at customs. We made it there right on time with no issues. Quite a feat of navigation for someone who regularly gets lost in her own neighborhood.
Our first stop at the convention was Vagina Village.
Yes, you read that right.
The schedule was so full of interesting seminars, I had a hard time picking the ones I most wanted to attend, but this particular conference room dedicated to discussing feminine health was rocking it all day. I could have stayed there the entire time and the trip would have been 100% worth it. They had talks on reusable period products, the evolution of menstrual product advertising, pre and postnatal abdomen and pelvic floor health, and more.
At one point during the presentation on menstrual cups, Kim Rosas from Put a Cup In It said, “You never have to worry about what supplies you have in your purse, because your vagina is your purse.” Definitely a highlight from the trip.
And I am absolutely going to quote that line as often as possible.
Each room had designated play areas stocked with toys for the younger attendees. Here’s a photo of Riley enjoying them…for about 2 minutes.
I never realize what busy, curious, FAST kids I have until we get around large groups; it’s a small miracle I didn’t lose her, lose my ever loving mind chasing after her, or have to cover the cost of any damaged sound equipment. This is exactly the reason Brooks was not invited, and Riley will definitely be staying at home with her dad from now on too. If you’ve got kids who enjoy quietly playing and socializing with other children, MommyCon does a fantastic job of providing these kid-safe spaces. If, on the other hand, you have little fugitives like I do, probably best to leave them behind for the day.
Although the convention set aside 45 minutes for a shopping break, I’m glad the booths in the exhibit area were set up for most of the day. There were so many cool things to look at, 45 minutes wasn’t nearly enough, especially if you’re in the market for a new car seat or other big ticket item and want to ask questions. The business owners and representatives were super friendly and helpful, and it didn’t feel like a competitive or high-pressure sales atmosphere at all. We’re all on the same page when it comes to caring for our kids’ attachment needs, their safety, and the environment. You could definitely feel the love.
I didn’t try on any new carriers, but MommyCon also set up a fantastic babywearing lounge where you could try on several different brands and styles to compare and find the perfect fit for your body. Didn’t bring your baby with you? No problem. They had weighted, anatomical baby dolls to practice with for a more accurate fit and feel.
I got caught up browsing all the cool exhibits and ended up arriving a few minutes late to the last session of the day. They were offering a peaceful parenting class—a topic I’m very passionate about—and I figured I’d have no problem snagging a couple seats for Olivia and myself. I was so very wrong. That room was hot, crowded, and electric with parents seeking to educate themselves on more positive parenting methods. It was beautiful. You could tell from the small room size they’d reserved that the convention believed this would be one of the less popular sessions, and I’m sure the organizers are as happy as I am that they were wrong. It was really touching to see the wave of support for this parenting philosophy that is really at the heart of so many MommyCon values.
The grand finale was the massive End of Day Giveaway. When you sign in at registration, they assign you a badge with a unique number on it. They draw from those numbers to choose winners for over $10,000 in prizes. Strollers, car seats, wraps, blankets, gift cards, and tons of other awesome products featured in the exhibit booths.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have known if my number was called—Riley was in fine form running laps around the ballroom, looking for an escape. But no hard feelings if you didn’t win, because every attendee gets an awesome gift bag filled with samples, coupons, and fun trinkets. I feel bad about forgetting to take a picture of mine, but I rifled through that thing the next morning like a kid with Halloween candy.
Luckily, Olivia snapped a quick pic!
Here’s what was in our MommyCon Vancouver swag bags:
- WaterWipes (10 count pack) and $1 coupon
- Diono Travel Changer
- Noodle & Boo samples of newborn 2-in-1 hair & body wash and super soft lotion
- Motherlove nipple cream sample
- Fresh Wave odor removing packs (2 count)
- bblüv silicon shampoo repellent Käp
- Lovechild Organics organic puree pouch
- Didymos keychain
- KIND Healthy Grains granola bar
- DivaCup $3 coupon
- Lunapads 20% off coupon code
- Our Baby Class online instructor training 20% off coupon code
6 Tips for Attending Your First MommyCon
I’ll leave you with a few tips if you decide to attend a MommyCon event—and you should!
- Whether or not you decide to bring your kids really depends on their age and temperament. Bringing toddlers or older kids is not out of the question; several people chose to do that and had a great experience. If you have high-energy kids, however, I think it would be more fun for both of you if they stayed behind for the day.
- If you’re traveling a long distance with kids, I recommend tons of snacks, books, their favorite sleeping item—be it stuffed animal, blanket, action figure, or rock—and maybe an obnoxious battery operated toy or two as a last resort.
- If you’re crossing a border and intend to turn your phone’s data off while you’re out of the country, have a plan in place for directions. Although I remembered to take those screenshots before passing through customs that morning, I forgot to get return directions before leaving the convention. Take advantage of the hotel’s free wifi to use your GPS before leaving.
- If you’re leaving the country with a minor, you need to have a signed, preferably notarized, letter from the other parent giving you permission to take your child across the border. This is in addition to the other required documentation, your passport and your child’s certified birth certificate. I’d forgotten this step, but thankfully the border official allowed me to go through anyway.
- If a particular block of time on the schedule doesn’t have any sessions you find particularly interesting, this is a great time to check out the baby wearing lounge, catch a bit of extra shopping time, or head outside to take in some of the local sights.
- And last but not least, never forget…
…your vagina is your purse.
Grab a $5 discount on your ticket to any of the 2017 MommyCon events still to come with promo code WESTCOAST17 (affiliate link)! Combine our promo code with the social share discount available at checkout for a total of $7.00 off the regular ticket price! Coming up: Orange County on August 12th, Orlando on September 2nd, and Atlanta on October 28th!
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Samantha Levang is a contributor at This West Coast Mommy, specializing in cloth diaper and baby item reviews. She lives in Washington state with her husband, toddler son, Brooks, and baby girl, Riley. Between diaper changes and loads of laundry, she enjoys landscape photography and the never-ending process of home decorating.