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MamaCon in Redmond shows there's more to moms than just motherhood

Amy Lang, left, and Kim Estes of MamaCon. - Courtesy of Tara Gimmer Photography
Amy Lang, left, and Kim Estes of MamaCon.
— image credit: Courtesy of Tara Gimmer Photography

Moms are more than just moms, and MamaCon founders Kim Estes and Amy Lang are spreading the word.

Estes and Lang run Redmond-based MamaCon. The event developed from their desire to help moms take the time they need for themselves, Estes explained. For some moms, it has been years since they had a day for themselves.

“Some moms needed convincing that it was OK to leave their kids at home with the husbands. That’s how conditioned they were that their families could not function without them,” said Estes.

In 2011, the two created MamaCon, a one-day event with speakers, sponsors and spa treatments. They have a dozen speakers who each talk for 18 minutes on various topics. There are sponsors giving out products and there is required time for the moms to get spa treatments and go shopping.

“We wanted to give moms the education they want and need but are afraid to ask,” said Estes. “But it’s also about building in things that are fun like shopping, pampering, food and wine.

Estes and Lang are parenting educators. They speak to Seattle parents on how to keep their kids safe and how to talk to them about sex. They realized that if they needed help on these topics, then other parents must need help, too.

“We decided to become parent educators to fill the gap of information that was missing for parents,” said Estes.

Over the years, they noticed a lot of mom-bashing happening on their Facebook page. In one situation, a parent had asked for tips on preparing her 10-year-old to be left alone. Within a few comments, it turned from helpful to hurtful. Parents were accusing this mother of neglect and endangerment.

MamaCon focuses on mothers with kids between the ages of 4 to 14 years.

Beth Caldwell has attended both MamaCons and will be going the third. As a practicing lawyer and mother of a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old, she values the time she gets to spend for herself.

“When you’re a parent, there is a lot of time spent doing things for other people,” said Caldwell, “especially when you work 40 hours a week, then come home and work some more taking care of your kids.”

For Caldwell, MamaCon is about connecting decompressing from life. She is looking forward to having some time to unwind and get some energy back.

Vivian Valencia will be attending MamaCon with Verity Credit Union where she is the director of community relations. Verity Credit Union is one of MamaCon’s founding sponsors. Verity has a “Verity Mom” program, which gives entrepreneurial moms a voice in getting what they need financially.

Valencia was the emcee for the inaugural MamaCon and has attended every year. She looks forward to attending the conference this year, as a vendor. She appreciates the work that MamaCon and has seen how much moms benefit from the event.

Beth Benincasa saw MamaCon as a day to take a break from her daily routine. With her days normally focused on her children, ages 8 and 10, she treated the day as a complete day off.

“It’s the little things that make a huge difference,” said Benincasa. “Getting spa treatments isn’t something I would normally go out and do. But being able to relax and have someone paint my nails was fantastic.”

This year’s MamaCon will be held at the Embassy Suites in Bellevue on May 17. Tickets can be purchased at mamacon.net.

Erin Wong is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communications News Laboratory.

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