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When I was in college I won a free ski trip. I didn't think twice about it. I packed my bags and had a great time. Fast forward to 10 years later, when I won a second trip. This time it was to attend a conference. About baskets. Yes, baskets. It was sponsored by the Longaberger Basket Company. At the time I had 2 little boys both under 4 at the time. I remember thinking it was nice that I had won this free trip, but there was no way I was going to go. I had kids people! They can't live without me! My Longaberger sponsor at the time reached out to me. She was a wise military wife whose kids were in high school. She encouraged me to go. I resisted. She knocked every one of my excuses down. Admission was covered. Hotel--splitting with friends, less than $30 a night. Airfare--I had miles to cash in. Kiddos--believe it or not my husband could handle them for a few days. I packed my bags reluctantly. After arriving home again, I started planning the trip for next year. I've never looked back. At least once a year I attend some sort of conference. They have evolved from baskets. I've attended the MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) convention, SNAP! in Utah, a bloggers meet up in Austin, and I've attended Haven twice now. As a mom, it is hard to make the decision. I hope my reasons inspire you to plan a trip.
1. You get out of the house and get to pretend you are an adult.
There is something about lugging only your bag in the airport. You are not a mule for all the kids backpacks and no one is asking you to wipe their nose. You can sit down and read a book in the terminal while waiting You are wearing nice adult clothing.-with no snot smeared on a sleeve. During the conference you will have time to shower uninterrupted. You'll probably pack nice clothes and trade in the yoga pants for a few days. Somehow this seems like such a weird thing to write about. But the reality is, as a moms we can get lost in our day to day routine and forget about us. Somedays a shower is an accomplishment. Getting out of the house for a conference makes you feel human again.
My Haven Bag, easy peasy iron on embroidered fabric with flower embellishments. Flowers have a pin back hot glued on and the bag was a reusable bag I picked up at the grocery store.
2. You might learn something!
Something other than the theme song to Spongebob. FInd a conference that interests you. Longaberger taught me a lot about running my own business and keeping customer service at the forefront. MOPS taught me about being a better mother and a better leader. SNAP! got my creative side going. At Haven last year I took a building class with Ana White and this year I took a building class with Sandra "Sawdust Girl" and Brittany "Pretty Handy Girl". These are girls that I admire on a weekly basis for their expertise and beautiful creations showcased on their blogs, so meeting them was beyond awesome. Taking a class with them--icing on the cake. And hey, I'm not afraid of the miter saw anymore. Win win!
Ana White and I. I might look like a crazed stalker fan. PShhh, whatever! This was my second time meeting Ana and she is fab! Truly authentic, very nice and gracious!
3. You will make friends
For some reason, it seems to me that I make friends a lot quicker at a conference. Maybe its because we know our time is limited, that we won't be bumping into each other on a weekly basis. The women you meet at these conferences are likely to have the same interests as you, the same goals, and they are so excited to make new friends. You never ever know who you will meet, or for that matter, who you will impact. I've made some amazing friends over the years, all across the US. With social media like Facebook, twitter and instagram, its even easier than ever to keep in touch. Who doesn't want to add a few more people to their friends list?
Great Friends, Where to start? A Pinterest Addict, Texas Cottage, Real Cheap Housewives of Texas, At Home By The Bay, The Stonybrook House, All Things Beautiful, Hymns and Verses, Sarah's Big Idea, Miss Kopy Cat
4. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Even on the best trips we long for home. The sweet smell of kiddos after their baths, hubby stealing the sheets in your own comfy bed. Sometimes we even miss the day to day chaos. Having a little escape from reality can really make you appreciate it your life back home.
5. Its always nice to have something to look forward to.
Maybe you can't go. Maybe it won't be years. But plan something. anything---maybe plan a beach weekend with your friends, a fun cruise. Plan for a conference in 2015. Just make sure you have something to work toward. Having a goal, or a hope for something can make some of those rainy days brighter (Plus, it might even get you socking away money for something fun down the road).
Okay, so those are my top 5 reasons. I hope it helped if you are on the fence about attending a conference. Maybe you can't attend a conference--maybe you have a bun that's about to pop out of the oven, or you really can't escape the daily hassle or can't afford a trip. In that case I suggest:
1. a monthly book club. Books being optional
2. a wine club, which more often than not turns into a "whine" club. Which is perfectly fine. and costs less than therapy.
3. a playdate with friends. I'm always amazed at how turning kids loose into a group of other kids can sometime free up 5 minutes to talk to another mom. I personally like to keep office hours at McDonalds where I can also get coffee while my kids enjoy the playground.
4. arrange a monthly Skype, Facebook chat, or email with a friend you don't get to catch up with all the time. Sometimes talking to an old friend can really keep your sanity in check.
5. Go on a date with your husband. Sometimes escaping the kiddos with your best friend is just what the dr ordered.
So tell me--what has been the favorite trip or conference you have ever attended???
Have a great day everyone!
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Great post, Sara! You have the right idea. I never went anywhere alone while the kids were young. Now that they are grown, I'm leaving Hubby at home by himself.
Haven was so much fun! It didn't even seem like it had been a year since we saw each other. Looking forward to our next chance to get together!
Great advice Sara! I get together with girlfriends that I have had for 30 years and we go away for a weekend a few times a years. It's the best therapy. We laugh till it hurts.
Julie @ This Gal Cooks says
Great post! I do not have any kiddos but I think this is great for anyone. Sometimes we feel that we cannot take a break from our busy lives to do fun things. Your post reminds us that it's ok to do that!
I have not attended any in person conferences yet but next month I will be going to FL BlogCon and in May, I will be going to BlogHer Food!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy to meet you!
Such great tips Mrs. Hoff!! I proudly provided your link to this post to help spread the word on attending conferences!
I must have just missed your table at the Cantina, wasn't their food ahmazing?!
Hyon Cho says
Hi Sara - So happy you were able to attend the Haven Conference! Homes.com & ForRent.com enjoyed sponsoring the event and connecting with attendees such as yourself! Feel free to browse photos from the event on Facebook, tag yourself & share with family/friends! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151783562125943.1073741827.38844010942&type=3 🙂