Babies and business trips don't mix. I've now learned that lesson twice.
The first time was a trip I went on shortly after I came back from maternity leave with Mazzy. She was four months old and I took both her and my mother to a commercial shoot in Vancouver for ten days. I worked all day onsite, pumping every three hours, went out to client dinners and then came back to the hotel where my exhausted mother handed over my very awake/unhappy/hungry baby so that I could nurse her all night long. I don't think I slept a wink the entire time.
This time around, I took Harlow and Ruth (our nanny) to BlogHer in Chicago. Again, it was long days with breakfast at 8am and late night parties. Even though I shuttled back and forth to my room to pump, I didn't see Harlow all day long. When she heard my keycard click at midnight, she would bolt upright, start crying and get her mommy fix from 12-6am.
I know, you don't have to shed any tears for me. But caring for an 8 month-old is not exactly the best way to sleep off an open bar.
Thankfully, there was one positive difference between my trip with Mazzy and my trip with Harlow.
During my trip with Mazzy, I was surrounded by mostly men and kids just out of college. To them, a woman strapped to a pumping machine might as well be an alien from an outer galaxy.
In contrast, my trip with Harlow was a blogging conference FULL OF MOMS.
Did you know that MOMS LOVE BABIES???
It's true! That's why they have them! Even if they are done with baby-making, it just means they love babies even more!
Check out these mom bloggers who cannot keep their hands off my baby…
Kerry from HouseTalkN even volunteered to hold Harlow while I ate breakfast. I don't even think she was "just being nice". Unless she was Meryl Streep in disguise, I believe she actually wanted to do it. Erin and Ellen from Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms passed Harlow back and forth like she was their own child. Tracy from Lost in Suburbia smelled Harlow's head like she was a bottle of Chanel No.5.
At one point, there was a line and Harlow got passed around like the Torah. (For the non-Jews, substitute "the Torah" with "the Stanley Cup".) Everyone wanted to give her a kiss and get a photograph. It's a wonder they could tear themselves away to go to a session.
Did I learn anything at BlogHer?
Sure! I learned that if a company gives me the wrong address to an event and I'm left standing lost in the middle of Chicago by myself, without a cab in sight, I'M GOING TO BE PISSED AND LET THEM KNOW. Then I will be filled with both justification and regret. It's an interesting mix.
I also learned a boatload about Pinterest. Do you follow me there? YOU SHOULD. I am going to rock that shit from this point foward.
I learned that American Girl is reintroducing the Bitty Baby, which seems to have every combination of baby features imaginable EXCEPT— they left out EPIC HAIR.
I learned that although there is no Harlow equivalent, there is most definitely an American Girl for Mazzy.
I learned that the if I am presented with a dessert buffet, I will not select one. I will select ALL.
I learned my nails look awesome with sparkly gold polish thanks to an early morning manicure with Mom Trends.
I learned the women behind NickMom are a bunch of soul-sucking zombies. That's me with no pupils in the middle.
I learned Chicago is pretty fantastic looking.
I learned there is a $50 clean-up fee if you vomit in a cab. Thankfully, Harlow kept her vomit contained to her carseat. (Mostly.)
I learned I will stand in the rain if it means I can listen to readings from all the hilarious moms who contributed to I Just Want to Pee Alone.
I learned that Monster headphones can be a great party accessory.
I learned that I like hanging out with friends at the bar more than dancing at the parties. Although, to be honest, I already knew that one.
Me with Jenny on the Spot.
Me with Anna from My Life and Kids.
Me with Kim from Let Me Start By Saying.
In fact, the best thing about blogger was meeting all the amazing women I have come to know online. There are far too many to name here but I'd love to recount one story from when I got home.
I was looking through pictures on my computer when the pic below (taken by Kelley from Kelley's Break Room) popped up…
Mazzy saw it from across the room and asked, "Are those your friends?"
"Yes," I said because it's true, although I met them both in person for the first time last weekend.
"What are their names?"
So often Mazzy sees pictures of strange kids on my computer as I'm going through submitted photos for the blog. She always asks for their names and I either say "I don't know" or I just make something up. This time I actually had an answer.
"Where are they from?"
"Kelley is from Houston and Anna is from Cincinnati."
Yep. It is cool. And that's why taking Harlow was worth it. I wouldn't have met my online friends in person otherwise. We wouldn't have talked until wee hours of the night about topics only other bloggers can undestand. We wouldn't have shared the secrets we can't tell on our very public blogs. We wouldn't have vowed to see eachother again next year.
Except next year, I'm sticking Mike with both kids.
'Til next year, BlogHer!