Metro.Style #HipAndHappeningMoms 2019: Andi Manzano-Reyes With Daughters Olivia & Amelia
“I’m not yet done,” declares radio DJ and vlogger Andi Manzano-Reyes when asked whether she and husband GP are done growing their lovely family. “He only wanted one kid. I want five kids. So maybe one more, two or three years from now.”
A proud mom to 4-year-old Olivia and 3-month-old Amelia, Andi is clearly enjoying every single day with her two girls; she documents every little milestone they have with so much enthusiasm that can only come from a parent who cannot ask for anything more in life but to be by her kids' side. Cool, calm, and collected despite having two kids in tow, without a shadow of doubt, we think motherhood suits her. And while the realities of and the ugly truths that come with being a mom—a.k.a. overall stress, baby blues, and postpartum bodies with stretch marks, saggy skin, excess fat, and eyebags—can paint a displeasing portrait of motherhood that may make many women not want to get pregnant, they can, at least, look at Andi and be comforted by the idea that motherhood can actually look this good. And this is the kind of beauty that's not just about having good genes but also about "living in a sunshine state of mind," as Andi puts it. The beautiful sight of Olivia embracing the big sister role as she plays with Amelia brightens and puts a glow on her face, an effortlessly glowing aura no amount of skincare and cosmetics can recreate. The unparalleled happiness they give her lends that unmistakable sparkle in her eyes.
On Andi: Dress by Rajo Laurel and accessories by Nami. On Olivia: Dress by Rajo Kids. On Amelia: Dress by Gingersnaps and headband by laurel.co
"Life with two kids is actually very exciting. Everyday is like a different adventure with them. There’s always something happening," Andi tells Metro.Style.
Before Olivia was born, she had those fears about not knowing what to do exactly, which is normal for all first-time moms. But those fears and uncertainties were slowly overshadowed by love and adoration for the bundle of joy who overwhelms a mom with an indescribable feeling of sheer bliss with every first—the first time she smiled, rolled over, sat up, crawled, stood up, walked, said “mama” or “mommy,” or had her haircut.
The list goes on, and each and every one of those moments, Andi and GP made sure to remember by posting about them not only on their own Instagram accounts but also on Olivia’s own IG that eventually made her a social media darling with 400,000+ followers.
"Life with two kids is actually very exciting. Everyday is like a different adventure with them."
When Andi got pregnant for the second time, a milestone that was celebrated with a creative gender reveal, a new set of fears took over her. The primary question was how does she explain to her toddler the idea of having a sister? Whatever she and GP did to make the transition as smooth sailing as possible, they seem to have done it right, because it looks like little Olivia loves having Amelia around.
“When it came to preparing Olivia for a little sister, I think she was already ready. She was three years old, and she always wanted a playmate. I think it was just perfect timing when Amelia was born,” Andi shares. “I would actually prepare Olivia by hanging out with parents whose kids have siblings, and I would always say, so this is how it is when you have a sibling, you have to really take care of her and help me and be my assistant. Now, she’s just so excited to help me with everything. Like, sometimes she’s the one who throws Amelia’s diaper in the trash can. It’s as simple as that. She just enjoys every little thing she can do to help.”
"My mom always says, 'Don’t worry about it'... She just tells me to relax, take it easy, and enjoy motherhood"
Having two kids also scared her a bit, because it’s already a challenge to raise one kid, how much more two? The fear is understandable, but it can easily be conquered once momma gets in the groove. “It’s funny because when I was pregnant, a lot of people were kinda scaring me into having two kids. They say it’s gonna be different and harder. That I won’t have time for myself. That I won’t have time for my husband,” Andi shares. “I guess, entering this chapter, I was expecting it to be really bad. Sleepless nights. No me-time. But it’s not as bad as they say it is. I actually enjoy it, having two kids, two girls.”
The situation in the Manzano-Reyes household these days is as cool, calm, and collected as the fresh-faced queen of the house. It’s only been three months since the family welcomed Amelia, but should things get a little bit harder to juggle as they adjust to this new setup, with a great support system, Andi can manage.
“I guess, entering this chapter, I was expecting it to be really bad... But it's not as bas as they say it is"
She feels extremely blessed to have found a place in the online world, with an IG account that has more than 600,000 followers and a YouTube channel that had passed the 100,000 subscriber mark. Aside from being a radio DJ, she has established herself as a digital content creator, a vlogger, and a mommy influencer.
It’s a job that allows her to work at home (or whichever part of the world she may be) and be with her kids. What’s even more fun and exciting is that she gets to actually do that with her kids; her kids and her motherhood journey are the highlights of her content.
Andi’s vlogging career was a result of her wanting to document her family’s travel experiences. But what was simply a “happy project” for Andi is now a great source of inspiration and motivation to a lot of young moms, who are also looking forward to making the most of motherhood and creating the best memories with it. Olivia has been following in her mother's footsteps and actually enjoys vlogging, too (the little girl had a camera with her during the shoot and was having fun taking videos of what was going on behind the scenes, like the cute pairs of shoes she and her mommy brought for the pictorial which she and stylist Cath Sobrevega neatly lined up for selection).
For Andi, motherhood puts everything into perspective. It gives her life meaning, purpose, and direction. Everything she decides on doing now is ultimately for the welfare of her family. She’s a wife and a mother, yes, but she’s her own person, too, and she never loses sight of how important it is to be whole so she can have enough to fully divide among the people and the things that need a fraction of her time.
Happy Mother’s Day, Andi!
"There’s just so much that happens everyday that makes everyday rewarding... Sometimes those little rewards are the best ones"
On Andi: Dress by Apartment 8 and accessories by Nami
In an exclusive interview with Andi, she reveals more about what it's like to be a mom of two and talks about how much of an influence her own mother, Rose, is to her parenting style:
How different was your pregnancy with Olivia as compared to that with Amelia?
"With Olivia, it was very easy for me. She was a small baby, so after two pushes, she was out. It took 10 minutes. With Amelia, she was such a big baby, so half the day, I was in labor. She was so big. She couldn’t fit my hips. She was 7.4lbs. Olivia was 5.5lbs. so that's a 2-pound difference. I was expecting it to be so easy. I told myself, 'Oh, I can do this anytime after Olivia. I can have, like, 100 children, it’s fine, it’s so easy.' But when Amelia came, it was very difficult for me. I got very emotional, because there were complications also because she didn’t really want to go down. I almost had an emergency C-section. But thank God, I was able to relax, I was able to push her."
What's the most challenging thing so far now that you're a mom of two?
"For me, it’s trying to really balance time, trying to find time for everybody who needs me in their lives. I’m also an ate, of course, my siblings somehow still need me to be their ate and I’m also a daughter. Different roles. And I like being an ate, a daughter, a wife, and a mom. It’s just really trying to balance everything and knowing your priorities. Sometimes you want to do your own thing. You want to have fun sometimes, it’s okay to have fun. It's just about really learning to balance. And I’m still adjusting."
On Andi: Dress by Debbie Co and accessories by Nami. On Olivia and Amelia: Dresses by Gingersnaps
What advice about motherhood did you get from your own mom?
"My mom always says, 'Don’t worry about it.' Sometimes we just get so tensed and so stressed about the little things (like if Olivia is not eating or Amelia is not sleeping properly), but we just have to relax and take it easy. And that’s what she’s been teaching me. She would remind me, 'You know what, you don’t have to stress about it.' Sometimes we tend to make all issues big, all the stress big, and exaggerate everything. She tells me to just relax, enjoy motherhood because it’s not going to last forever. Your babies are not gonna be babies forever, so take it easy. Enjoy it.
"The way I mother is very like my mom. Because I know how she raised me and my sisters, and I wanna do exactly the same way. And if I ever live up to how she raised me, then it will be such an honor. (Happy Mother’s Day, mom!) For me, it was just more of her telling me to just slow down, relax, and enjoy every moment. She always reminds me to pause and breathe."
What is your parenting style?
"I’d say I’m a cool mom. I think I’m a very chill mom and at the same time I’m hands-on and I also am a strict mom. I think I’m that combination. GP is a fun dad. He leaves all the disciplining to me."
Did you have to deal with postpartum depression?
"My mom goes like, 'You know what, it’s okay to be sad, but it doesn’t mean you’re depressed.' There’s a difference. We all get sad. Maybe we weren't able to join our friends for dinner, we have priorities, but that’s okay. On the first few weeks, if you want to be alone and you don't want to talk to anybody, it’s okay. That’s a stage, and it will pass. GP would always help me snap out of it. He’d be like, 'If you’re depressed, it’s okay. You wanna go out? Let’s go out.' He was very supportive."
How would you describe GP as a father?
"He’s an amazing dad. At first, he just wanted one kid, then we now have two girls. He’s very hands-on. The girls react so differently to him, they're very malambing to him. Amelia only laughs with GP; she doesn’t really laugh with me. Olivia, they have dates that they go to together. They have their own bonding moments with their dad, and I really admire GP for it. It’s really different when you see your husband as a dad. You really fall in love with him all over again."
What's the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
"There’s just so much that happens everyday that makes everyday rewarding. It could be as simple as your kids saying 'I love you,' sharing their toys or, you know, following you around. Sometimes those little rewards are the best ones."
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Ria Regino
Creative direction by Chookie Cruz
Makeup by Justine Navato
Hairstyling by Brix Batalla
Styling by Cath Sobrevega, assisted by Jem Arboleda
Shoot assistant: Cara Tirona
Special thanks to Chere Gioskos and The Glass House Flowers
Read more of our #HipAndHappeningMoms Mother's Day special features.