Multi-faceted mom Andi Manzano-Reyes shares how she’s making pandemic momlife work through strong connections with PLDT Home
Andi Manzano-Reyes makes motherhood look magical. A quick scroll through her Instagram feed reveals glowing smiles from Andi, her mini-mes, Amelia and Olivia and the occasional appearance of doting dad GP. It’s a whole lot of good vibes, funny moments, babies singing and relatable digs about homeschooling and staying in touch with family during the pandemic. If you haven’t followed Andi Manzano-Reyes yet, you might want to add her to your Instagram feed for the happy dose of sunshine we all need during these trying times.
Living her dream
It was always Andi’s dream to be a girl mom, apparent in the fun adventures she shares on her feed. The girls, Olivia and Amelia also have their own accounts, with followers in the tens of thousands and hundred thousands, respectively. “We choose what goes online and what doesn’t,” shares Andi. “We don’t share everything. But now that Olivia is 6, I ask her permission before I post. Sometimes, she says no and of course, I comply.” The Manzano-Reyes family has been known to share treasured milestones — first steps, haircuts, words — giving their followers heart eyes for the past six years. And of course, the girls know exactly what to do, thanks to Andi’s experience as a blogger. “I guess watching and seeing me has helped them become confident as well,” the mom of two says.
The multi-faceted mom
Andi credits her radio DJ days as the secret to the success of her vlogs. The mom-of-two found success in her early days as a co-host in the popular Good Times with Mo program with Mo Twister and Mojo Jojo on Magic 89.9. “Being on radio taught me how to create a show with segments and spiels,” explains Andi. While the majority of Andi’s content is based on her family life and traveling, Andi says that GP, her husband is in charge of ideas and inspiration. Apart from vlogging, Andi is at the helm of two businesses: Incy Rooms, a kids’ furniture store, and her latest venture, A-Meal-Ya’s, a food business serving up delicious family staples. Her secret to doing it all? Great time management. “Know what your priorities are and you’ll get by,” she reveals.
On being a mom of two
Andi is lucky to get the best of both worlds: a daughter she can talk to, and a delicious toddler she can still snuggle up with. “She’s still learning how to speak, but we can tell that she’s feisty like her dad, tender like me, and sensitive like her ate,” says Andi about Amelia, her two year-old. “Our conversations are getting longer and longer everyday!” As for the girls playing together, there’s no doubt they enjoy each other’s company. In fact, you’ll often find Amelia copying everything her sister does — typical stuff for a doting younger sibling!
And now that the girls are growing up, Andi feels as if her relationship with them is shifting too. Olivia, now past the toddler stage, has been more in tune with her feelings. “She talks to me a lot about her dreams — what she wants to do and who she wants to become,” she intimates. Her personality has started to take shape too. She’s become more determined, refusing to back down from a fight and stand up for what she believes in. “Olivia gets this from her dad, while she gets her strong emotions from me. She’s very sensitive and empathetic too.” Andi shares.
Parenting in a pandemic
All of us parents know that it isn’t always fun and games — it has its share of trying times. Being in a pandemic has undoubtedly made it all the more challenging, especially with young children. Explaining how a pandemic works and not being able to do regular activities has been particularly difficult for Andi. At 6, Olivia has experienced her fair share of pre-pandemic life, leaving her longing for the past. “It’s been tough, explaining to Olivia why she can’t go to school or see her friends,” Andi reveals, “We’re still trying to figure out how to go about this new normal.”
It’s been hard for everyone, but Andi says, it’s been hard on the kids too. Like many other children around the world, Olivia spent the year attending school online. Andi admits that it wasn’t easy for her, having to sit in front of her computer for hours and not being able to go out. “I had to make online learning more than just staring at a screen, that was definitely a challenge,” says Andi. Which is why she doesn’t mind being more lenient about screen-time. However, Andi insists on putting a limit on gadgets, and letting her kids use educational apps so they learn as they play. To stay in touch with family, Andi’s taught Olivia how to call and message family members. In fact, Olivia has been doing most of the video calls with Andi’s mom and sisters!
For Andi and her family, being online and having a strong PLDT Home Fibr connection during the pandemic has proven to be a great help. “We’ve attended so many Zoom meetings, weddings, and parties. We’re constantly video calling our families and chatting with our friends. Having community and people to talk to really help us mentally and emotionally,” laughs Andi. “It keeps us closer, even if we’re miles apart.” The family also relies on their PLDT Home connection for the girls’ extra-curricular activities. From ballet to art classes — their strong internet enabled them to do and enjoy things better at home.
Though Andi considers herself to be a strict mom and set rules, we love how she’s willing to bend them at times. It’s a trait we all aspire to have, especially in trying times like these, where we could all do with a little bit more kindness. “I wing it on most days, “ Andi admits. It’s a relief, knowing that Andi isn’t the picture perfect mom we want her to be. And that, during a pandemic, is the warm hug we all need.
Words JANA BLANCO
Photography BELLA MANZANO
Styling RAIN X EM
Special thanks to CHER GIOSKOS
Powered by PLDT HOME