The Experts: Happy Mom Conference 2019
The stage was set and we were ready to take in all the knowledge and learnings! We had so many amazing mamas speak at Happy Mom Conference this year! From doctors to celebrities to CEOs, these mom bosses had some truly amazing stories and advice on everything from self-care to best business practices. I want to share with you some of the moments that really stood out to me from each expert speaker, especially if you weren’t able to be there with us at the conference!
Panel 1: Self-Care Rituals
I really, really loved this first panel of the day. It featured Candice Valdez of Radio Disney as our moderator; owner of Restorative Pelvic Physical Therapy, Inc., Marcy Crouch; Optimism Doctor™ Deepika Chopra; yoga instructor and author Liz Arch; and celebrity nutritionist Kelly LeVeque.
Marcy talked about pelvic floor dysfunction and how common it is. One in three women experience it, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal or that women should be okay with it. She pointed out that even if your doctor clears you at six weeks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re recovered down there. So working on that actively and making it a point to see a physical therapist to talk about that area, especially if you’re having discomfort or experiencing any of the things that are typical of pelvic floor dysfunction—like peezing (peeing when you sneeze) or if you’re having leakage while you’re exercising—is so important.
Dr. Deepika Chopra was so enlightening! One of her standout lines was:
Deepika shared some amazing self-care tips, like it's ok and a form of self-care to RSVP no, and sometimes finding just a few minutes for simple things like a face mask or shoulder massage at the nail shop in between what you've got going on as a busy mama can serve as effective self-care rituals.
We were honored to have nutritionist Kelly LeVeque a part of this panel, too. She makes healthy eating all very realistic and doable and her tips so easy to implement. She said not every meal has to be freshly prepared, and you don’t need to put pressure on yourself to have meal planning down and have a healthy meal on the table for the family every day. There are healthy alternatives that you shouldn't feel guilty about turning to from time to time. There’s so much for us to worry about as new moms, so she said to be easy on yourself.
Kelly also talked about her Fab Four Smoothie: a formula to help you develop a blood sugar balancing meal replacement shake in any flavor with enough protein, fat, fiber, and greens to keep you full. This smoothie formula is such an easy way to get your nutrition, especially when you’re busy.
Finally, we had Liz Arch: the yogi and fitness expert of the panel. Liz started her talk with such a simple, fantastic quote:
She said to come back to that when things get crazy, and to even just take a minute to deep breathe and let it all out. It seems so simple, but who ever really does that on a regular basis like we should? So I thought that was the simplest and best advice that could ever come from her, to just allow yourself to heal with breath and some physical work whether through yoga or some other exercise.
We got to learn little self-care rituals and practices that we can do that are not so hard on our day, but that can make all the difference in how our day goes and how we react to things and balance our life. I thought all of the panelists’ tips were so wonderful and amazing, and our mamas were definitely taking notes!
Panel 2: Mamas Making Change
This panel featured Robyn Young of Robyn Young Co. as the moderator, along with founder of Curious Jane Camp Samantha Razook, creator of Lit Soul Candles Monica Brown, fashion model and women’s advocate Mara Martin, and Sarah Hines of UPPAbaby.
This panel was so inspiring, and lots of moments stood out!
Samantha Razook makes a point of giving back in the way that she runs her business daily with a vision of female empowerment and grooming the next generation of women leaders. One of the things she said that really stood out to me was:
For most people, you’re not going to get it on your first try when you have a new idea for a business. Another thing that she said is, “When you set the bar high for other people, they meet it. It’s pretty remarkable.” They always keep that in mind at Curious Jane when they assign projects and plan activities for the girls at their camps, that if they set the bar high, the girls will learn that they can do more than they ever thought they could achieve.
Monica Brown of Lit Soul Candles was also on this panel, and she talked openly about how homelessness is a cause that is very near and dear to her heart. She lived it and had to experience those conditions herself. When Monica had a difficult time in her life, she turned to meditation for healing. She talked about how finding a means of self-care through meditation and discovering something she was so passionate about led her to create her business.
Lit Soul candles are made in soup cans, which the contents are removed from and donated to homeless or nearly homeless people. At the bottom of each can is a crystal for meditation and healing. Monica loves that she’s able to tell the story of her business each time someone tries a candle out for the first time, because they usually ask what the crystal or rock is at the bottom and then she gets to explain it to them.
In Mara’s situation, it was almost like she didn’t ask to be in this position, but it was meant for her and was going to happen no matter what. Mara became a voice for mothers, and she’s been using that platform ever since to speak on that and to be this example for moms everywhere, showing them that they can do it all. She teaches moms that they can do anything they want to, even if they’re breastfeeding. It’s as simple as that: you don’t have to give up your dreams or your aspirations in any way because you’re a mom.
Sarah Hines is the Communications Director at UPPAbaby, and she has been at the company for 11 years. It was such a treat to have Sarah there by my side throughout the whole event. She’s truly become one of my soul sisters! Representing UPPAbaby, she talked about making an impact from a very different angle. Sarah spoke about how proud she is to represent a company at her senior level that gives back to the community in such a big way. UPPAbaby has donated over $5 million worth of gear to families in need through their UPPAbaby Gives Back program.
Wellness Keynote: Ali Landry
Ali Landry was our first amazing keynote speaker who spoke from the heart, and she was really honest and open about her marriage and traumas and different things that she went through as a woman and a mom.
Ali talked about surrounding yourself with positive people that feel like sunshine. She said your mindset has to be right in order for you to live happily, and it’s your job to keep your mindset right. You surround yourself with good vibes and make sure that you’re putting yourself in situations that allow you to thrive.
She also talked about the importance of pursuing things that “set your soul on fire.” For Ali, being in nature does that for her, and I can really relate to that. If I ever have a bad day or want to get to a happy place quickly, just get me outside on a beautiful day, and give me a hike and I am a happy girl. I just love being outdoors and hearing water and birds and feeling nature, so do whatever it is that makes you feel “good” inside.
Pursuing what sets your soul on fire is one of the premises of why Land of Mom and Happy Mom Conference started. If you’re always in pursuit of those things that make you happiest deep in your core and you don’t let motherhood be a setback, you can always be in a positive space because you make it a point to hold onto who you were before becoming a mom. That woman, she deserves to shine! Ali told us to “go out and reshape your life and create your masterpiece, because you are worthy,” and she is so right!
Q&A with Ali
There was a really sweet moment with Ali during the Q&A at the end of her talk which really shines light on what Happy Mom Conference is all about. One of our attendees, @the_foodartist, stood up and literally asked Ali what she can do to get support for this new business of hers that she’s launching, and Ali was so great. She asked for her to call out her social media handle right then, and then she asked every mama in the audience to follow this woman and support her in that way. It was just one small act, but such a big thing for this attendee who was there to network and learn about growing her business, and she got something really cool out of it.
Panel 3: Brand Founders
This panel was moderated by the pair from Don’t Call Me Mommy, and included intimates brand founder Tylynn Nguyen, Katie Richardson of Puj Baby, Agatha Achindu of Yummy Spoonfuls, and Susan Yara of Mixed Makeup. These women did not hold back! They shared their struggles of how they started their businesses, and we all got to hear how it wasn’t easy even for them. When you’re an entrepreneur, you always have to be scrappy when you start and you have to hustle and work your way to the top spot. It never, never comes easy. They each also shared a specific productivity tip with us.
When Tylynn first started out, she tapped into her inner circle and reached out to any experts that she knew for help. She said it’s never a bad idea to ask for help, and everything she learned, she learned from just asking questions. For example, when she was first going to hire an intern, she asked a friend in a different business, “Where did you find your intern?” Her friend told her she had gone back to her undergraduate school to find an intern. So Tylynn went to FIDM in LA and found her intern there. When Tylynn started her website, she asked her friends what they did and what platforms they used. She also leaned on her husband, who’s a marketing expert, in a big way to help support what she was doing.
Productivity Tip: The Wunderlust app helps you put your work, family, and travel into folders and creates one big to-do list,
making it really easy to manage your schedule.
Katie Richardson was so incredibly open about her story of when she started! She literally started creating products because someone else believed in her. It all started with her just making things for her kids because she couldn’t find products that she was happy with.
Katie advised that if you take time for yourself, you will have patience to deal with everything else in your life and come back and reenergize, and I can definitely relate to that. She also said to exercise for energy and state of mind, not just for physique. Another trick Katie shared is that she stays in the driveway for just a few minutes whenever she gets home from wherever. It’s just a few minutes to connect with herself and read her scriptures, but she said to do whatever you need to do for those few minutes.
Productivity Tip 1: Take time for yourself and give yourself more time to deal with everything else.
Productivity Tip 2: Exercise, hydrate, and eat healthy.
Productivity Tip 3: Don’t ever stop dating your husband.
Agatha Achindu shared openly about a struggle that she had earlier on in her career. She talked about a big meeting she had coming up with Target, and she needed to raise $4 million for her business. She talked about how she felt the stigma of being a black woman leading a company, and she unfortunately didn’t feel confident going into that meeting being the face of the company as a beautiful, black woman. She just didn’t feel confident in our country doing that, and she needed to find a CEO. She shared that as a moment for her in business when she recognized something that she needed to do to change, and to not be hard on yourself. Trust yourself.
She also talked about sharing your story authentically, whether on social media or anywhere else, because that’s what people are going to buy. She said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” I firmly believe this as well. If there’s a mission and a cause and a purpose behind your business, then people are more likely to buy into it. Even if you have the most amazing product, but there’s no story behind it or cause or purpose attached to it.
Productivity Tip 1: Task Rabbit is a really helpful tool that connects you with skilled, reliable help in your neighborhood with odd-jobs and errands so you can be more productive.
Productivity Tip 2: No app can really help us if we don’t believe that we as mothers deserve to be whatever it is that we want to be. Self-Care isn’t just getting a manicure or pedicure, but you having uninterrupted, guilt-free time for yourself and knowing that you deserve that time.
Susan Yara talked about how she started in her early career launching digital platforms for other media companies. She then realized she could apply all of her ideas and strategies to launching her own media platform and do it better. So she founded her own media and production company, Mixed Makeup, which focuses on high quality women’s content that bridges the gap between influencer blogs and traditional media publications. Most recently, Susan launched a diaper bag line called Preset the Label, a stylish and chic bag designed specifically with mama’s needs in mind!
Productivity Tip: Use apps to delegate things and get through the day, such as Instacart and Postmates. Sometimes the best way to be productive is finding ways to delegate time, whether it’s to someone on your team or to a family member or to an app.
Closing Keynote: Katrina Scott
We were so thrilled to have Katrina Scott, co-creator of Tone it Up, with us as our second keynote for the day! It was pretty exciting to announce her involvement to the Happy Mom Tribe just a week before the event. She really brought it home with her talk to close the show!
Katrina gave a powerful talk about body positivity as a mom and the pressures and expectations we face as women. She shared her own personal journey toward self-love, from being the biggest girl in her class as a young girl and having very few friends to co-founding a revolutionary fitness app and community with over a million followers!
As a fitness professional, Katrina shared that she felt a lot of pressure to “bounce back” after having her baby girl, Bella. She then pulled out a list of all the physiological changes that women go through in pregnancy and postpartum…and it reached almost to the floor! I have to share the list because every mama should know:
Estrogen causes amazing hair during pregnancy, but also causes hair on your upper lip, cheeks, and nipples.
Hormones cause cellulite. Katrina shared openly about cellulite on her arms, and a dimple on her butt that “smiles” at her, and it made her so real and relatable!
Your nipples grow and turn dark brown.
Your boobs triple in size.
Your nails grow.
You get stretch marks (or tiger stripes).
Blood volume increases by 50%, which is more than 5 lbs, which leads to both spider veins, varicose veins, and that "pregnancy glow".
The hormone relaxin loosens ligaments and causes your pelvis to grow…which is why you’ll likely need new jeans postpartum!
Line down your tummy.
Lots of weird fluids.
Abs might split (diastasis recti)
Uterus grows to 500 times its original size
Katrina also emphasized that it’s perfectly normal to look pregnant still after giving birth, and referred to the process of growing a baby and the postpartum experience as “your best metamorphosis that you’ve ever experienced.” She explained, “You have this new superpower, new body, new curves, and it’s really awesome!”
The Vip Experience
In addition to all the amazing speaker sessions, our VIPs got to do a meet and greet with our two keynotes, Ali and Katrina! It was such a fun photo moment and time of one-on-one interaction with such amazing mom bosses as those two. Our mamas loved it!
Looking to Next Year…
Happy Mom Conference 2.0 was so amazing this year, and I cannot wait to make it even better in 2020! Watch our new Happy Mom Conference webpage for updates - we are already beginning to plan it and cannot wait to be together again with you all!
What piece of advice stood out most to you? Tell us in the comments who you want to see hit the stage in 2020!