For those of us who enjoy multi-word sentences and unsplattered shirts, parenting young children can be an isolating, even alienating, experience. So, as a balm for the loneliness that can accompany motherhood, one Pittsburgh mom and former attorney has created a venue where local mothers can meet, learn, teach and grow.
MomCon is an annual conference founded by Natalie Kovacic in 2013 that is coming to the DoubleTree by Hilton Monroeville on November 7. This year’s program includes three keynote speakers, 12 workshop sessions, 15 vendors, breakfast and lunch. But the main purpose of the conference is to forge connections between mothers.
“I created it as a day to bring together local moms to connect on that deeper level,” says Kovacic: “to learn together, to become each other’s advocates and friends, to talk about the obstacles we face as mothers and as women.”
Lauren Lambrecht is a life coach and Pittsburgh mom who will present a workshop on the changes in identity that accompany motherhood. She decided to get involved after attending last year’s conference when her daughter was just four months old. “As a new mom and entrepreneur, I was very intrigued by the resources for moms,” Lambrecht says; “and of course a whole day away from baby to just focus on me was great!”
After the birth of her son Joey, Kovacic felt torn between longing for her previous child-free life and the need to step up to the new demands and pleasures of parenthood. She joined playgroups, but felt disconnected from the other mothers. In 2012, she attended a professional conference for women, and was so gratified by the sense of camaraderie it produced that she decided to launch her own, directed specifically at mothers.
At the first MomCon, in 2013, Kovacic met mommy blogger Nicole Mildren, who shared her desire to rally mothers to share their challenges and successes, and her ambition to help women achieve both professional and domestic goals. Mildren soon joined Kovacic as co-producer and marketing director for MomCon.
This year’s keynote speakers are Janelle Hanchett, Sacramento resident and owner of the edgy parenting blog Renegade Mothering, Muffy Mendoza of Pittsburgh Brown Mamas and co-founder of the local crisis daycare Jeremiah’s Place, Lynne Williams. Among them, Hanchett, Mendoza and Williams will discuss the roles of creativity and culture in mothering, and reflect on their own experiences as mothers.
The selection of workshops on offer at MomCon 2015 is a new development, providing attendees the opportunity to pick the material they want to hear about most. The simultaneous sessions also allow for intimate settings that nourish discussion instead of the lectures offered at previous conferences. Moms can choose workshops from a range of topics including active listening, nutritional tricks, entrepreneurship, blogging, clutter control and more.
While Kovacic and Mildren are in the thick of preparing for the 2015 event, they are also anticipating exciting developments in years to come. They plan to secure non-profit status in time for the 2016 conference, so reducing the cost of registration, and making the event accessible to a wider audience of moms. And in the more distant future, they hope to attract participants from out of town and connect local moms-in-need to resources.
The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Standard registration is $95 and childcare costs an additional $40. Group discounts are available. Guests are invited to register online or contact the organizers through their website for further information.
Featured image courtesy of MomCon.