Unexpected sources of inspiration

kids emporium

Inspiration is a strange thing. Some people and things inspire us to be better humans, better parents, better workers… and while I typically know some things that can inspire me, I love being surprised at those things that bring out that magical spark in me. That is sort of the purpose of art, isn’t it? To reflect a part of ourselves or our society back at us, make us reassess who or what we are, and inspire us to become better versions of those things. Well, this most recent inspiration that I experienced came in a totally unlikely place.

You see, since starting this blog, I’ve started to be invited to events that aren’t just for gaming or tech. Not to downplay gaming or tech events – they are fun and often incredibly beautiful. But they feel extremely PR-oriented. They are built to make the journalists and blogggers in attendance take pictures of the pretty things and share on social media, to promote the brand. And while the people who work for those brands are often awesome and wonderful, the goal of their events is rarely to help connect people or make us feel special or important. But this mommy blogger event… it was very different.

I went to a blogger breakfast hosted by Kids Emporium. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. Previous events had left much to be desired – they were usually PR talks with minimal food or drink (because apparently calling something a “tea” or “breakfast” means the ladies won’t be hungry) that felt hollow and irritating. This time, I brought Harley along with me (somewhat necessary thanks to intermittent separation anxiety), drove to the beautiful venue and prepared to be bored, hungry and irritated. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First up, I arrived to chat to some of the awesome fellow bloggers that I’ve gotten to know and love in recent months. I met some new ladies, greeted others I’ve known (digitally or in real life) for a while now, had some coffee… but I was still wary. Then we were invited into the main hall that was ridiculously beautiful. At each lady’s seat was a customized goodie bag, filled with presents that perfectly suited the moms and their little ones. Harley got a variety of organic baby products, a teething egg, a baby book, and we got some bath salts to share. We also got a Yellow Plate and I soon won something that goes in your shopping trolley to make it soft, clean and entertaining for the little one.

But it was about way more than the stuff. Lauren from Kids Emporium told her story of how she became a mompreneur. As she described her vision for Kids Emporium, I realized why it was such a fit for so many moms – just because we have a baby doesn’t mean we want things to be frumpy. The store is determined to stock fabulous stuff, from gorgeous nappy bags and baby clothes to unique maternity wear and functional nursery furniture. It’s meant to be a one stop shop for all things baby, but with much higher end and more beautiful products than you might find at your usual baby store.

Melanie from the Imbali Foundation explained her passion for inclusive schooling in South Africa, something I also think is important. Sure, I want Harley to receive the highest possible caliber of education, but I also want her to learn empathy and be surrounded by people of all walks of life. By building a school that can cater to physically, emotionally and/or mentally disabled children, the able children can also benefit. They can learn to look beyond a disability, and I really hope that Melanie is successful with her foundation – these kinds of schools are already prevalent in the US and UK, it’s crazy that South Africa doesn’t have anything comparable.

Then it was time to eat, and eat we did. The spread was absolutely stunning, and even more delicious – I don’t think I’ve had a breakfast like that in a long time, and it was fantastic.

Now THIS is how you feed hungry mommy bloggers!

A photo posted by Zoe Hawkins (@moonstormer) on

We went around and introduced ourselves, and then the final speaker was Pamela Power, who wrote Ms Conception and utterly sold us on it – what a hilarious and insightful woman. I simply had to buy the book, and devoured it in no time (I might even write a book review soon). It was simply fantastic to listen to her and the other bloggers, to share our thoughts on writing, on motherhood, on marriage.

Chatting to Shan from You, Baby and I, I encouraged her to share the real stuff. We were talking about what makes some bloggers more interesting to read, and agreed that it’s when they share the raw, real stories of what’s going on that it’s the most compelling. Of course, it also takes the most courage – sharing stories about family members can lead to family wars, and we were discussing how to avoid it. It was part of what inspired me when I was debating about sharing some recent upsetting events; by sharing what happened to me, I hoped that I could inspire people going through similar situations.

I went home glowing. It felt like the morning was exactly what I needed – it combined awesome people, cool products and delicious food, and made me feel like I was part of a community, a tribe of women figuring out how to balance family, love, work and day to day life. A morning filled with unexpected sources of inspiration, I came home excited to blog, excited to mother Harley, excited to kiss my husband, excited to work, excited to play. As much as I hum and haw about going to events like these, or really much of anything outside of my usual routine (it’s just so much harder with a baby!), it was a wonderful reminder to embrace those moments, those experiences that make me feel alive and inspired again.

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