Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BlogHer '13: Review


I love meeting new people. I love showing off my baby. I love learning...but I learned an important thing this year as I traveled to my first BlogHer: All three at once is too much for me.

Billy and I left home in Suburbia at 6:45am Friday morning and headed to McCormick Place for BlogHer '13. Meaning, we were up, clean, dressed, and he was nursed and in the car by that time. #epic

When we arrived I bumped into a friendly looking person wearing a BlogHer badge around her neck so I asked if she would lead the way to the conference. Yes! I thought, Already starting the day with a friendly encounter! 

I picked up my pass from registration and headed to the bathroom with Billy strapped to my front and a bag full of cloth diapers strapped to my back. All that luggage and baby was pretty heavy, but I was so excited to see Ree Drummond I didn't care.

Turning out of the bathroom, I headed toward the Newbie Breakfast in hopes to sit with a few chatty gals and make best friends and spend the day together talking about how great life is.

And then this happened:

Walking right in front of me across the corridor was Ree Drummond herself and her daughter (I think it was Alex). Even though I'd just used the bathroom, I think I peed a little bit. She was the entire reason I was there. I worship her. I obsess over her. LOOK HOW CLOSE I WAS TO GIVING HER A HUG! Okay, but seriously, she was RIGHT there. *gasp*

Once that happened, the rest of the day started to blur. I went into the Newbie Breakfast hoping to gab with my imaginary new best friends about how I just saw Ree...but when I walked in, it wasn't what I was expecting.

There was a speaker giving a presentation about how to network. Hmm. I'd been to many conferences before while I was in design school and in my professional career, so I pretty much knew how to network. I was a little frustrated because I was buzzing with excitement! I wanted to TELL EVERYONE my story and meet my new best friends! But, I had to sit there and quietly listen while I felt eyes all around me staring at Billy's round little head.

From there I went to the main conference room where the founders of BlogHer would be speaking, followed by Ree. I sat with some friendly gals and one even offered to take my photo with Billy as a memory.
I listened to Ree's Keynote Session, laughing all the while and thinking "We could really be best friends!!". She's exactly the way I imagined her to be based on her TV show which really made my heart sing. It was such a thrill to see a wife and mother I admire speak!!

From there, I headed to a track about being a social media leader, hopped into a Wordpress tutorial and started to head back to a social media marketing session when I bumped into some new friends. We chatted about our babes, education and cloth diapers for I'm not sure how long, and when I headed back upstairs I realized it's time for lunch! Billy was famished at the time, so I went back downstairs to the Lactation Lounge to nurse him before heading back upstairs and into the chaos.

I stepped into the Lactation Lounge and noticed my ears were ringing. There was so much busyness and commotion throughout the conference I hadn't taken a moment to stop and breathe. I nursed Billy and relaxed, then let him play on a blanket on the floor for a little while – we both needed a breather.

In this time I gave myself a chance to reflect how the day had been. I realized I am not a conference person. I don't enjoy the sessions, especially with a baby in tow.

Don't get me wrong, the conference was wonderfully welcoming to moms with their little babes but I found in the sessions many women around me were staring at I was staring at Billy...and then I would realize "I spent money to be here today and learn, not stare at Billy!!" Not to mention all of the sessions I tried to hop in and out of were so spread out, I was completely exhausted by noon.

Billy was an absolute champion, he hardly made a peep all day long. A kind hearted woman held him for me while I ate my lunch and listened to Guy Kawasaki speak about his new book. I finished lunch, strapped Billy into the Ergo and headed to the Expo Hall for some swag while the other sessions were still on break.

Walking through the Expo Hall, I was completely drained. I didn't want bags of pharmaceuticals or samples of baby food. I wanted to go home. I was kind of heartbroken that I didn't run into Ree again for her to take a photo with Billy and I was too tired to look at anything else.

After drooling over the new Dodge Grand Caravan Blacktop for a moment, I headed toward the La•Z Boy booth and really wanted to take a nap on their beautiful couches. I took a photo with this man in the silly suit instead and you may not see it in my fake smile, but all I wanted to do was go home.
It was then 2pm....and I went home....gladly. But not so fast! I got stuck in traffic outbound from the city.

Billy typically goes 3 hours between feedings and I hoped since it was midday he would be safe until we got home in 45 minutes or so. No dice. I hadn't planned for 90 minutes of traffic... So Billy screamed most of the way home from hunger and I cried tears of exhaustion.

When we got home, we immediately jumped into our jammies (after he nursed) and he passed out.
The feeling of relief to be home, on the couch and in jammies was almost worth how exhausting the whole experience was. I continued to follow tweets from people I knew at the conference, but I no longer had the jealous pangs. I'm just not a conference person, and I'm comfortable with that! Billy and I will attend the next BlogHer from home via Twitter.


  1. Billy is so cute, no wonder people were looking at him!

    My boys are all older so I left them with their grandparents- I don't think I'd have been able to do what you did!

    1. Hehe thanks!! Other moms who had brought babies made it seem like it wasn't a big deal. I think it was the enormous bag of cloth diapers that put it over the edge for me. I'm sure all of the attendees learned something at the conference, I just learned something that wasn't taught in a session :)

  2. You are my hero. There is no way I could attend BlogHer with a baby. Yes, I imagine you got a lot of stares. With so many of us being moms, we all end up staring at the cute babies. Baby lust!

  3. Just that you did that with your wee one along for the ride is amazing to me. I get it, but don't rule out all conferences! Consider that maybe having baby with you (Gosh, Billy is super cute!) or maybe a huge conference like BlogHer isn't your style. I think you survived fairly well, all things considered! And I'm sure you breathed a huge sigh of relief when you got home! Thanks for sharing your experience. Stopping by because I saw your comment over at Shell's place. :) Nice to *meet* you!