Time for a little #Flashback to celebrate our first cover stars and find out what they’ve been up to
When Modern Parenting was still starting out, we wanted moms and dads out there to know that they could find a safe space with us. And what better way to show that through the Baby Bunch? When moms Amanda Griffin-Jacob, Patti Grandidge-Herrera, Tricia Centenera, Cristalle Belo-Pitt, Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga, Prasana Lee, and Jes Tan Gan formed their mom-tribe to support one another, we knew that was exactly what we wanted Modern Parenting to be and a lot has happened in a year. So, where are they now?
How are things now for the Baby Bunch?
No doubt this cover will always be talked about and historical for our title. Ever since this first digital cover, the Baby Bunch mamas have started a lot of things. Amanda’s fight against online sexual exploitation is never done as the International Justice Mission’s (IJM) inaugural ambassador. Jes has been working on her business as The Egg Fairy. Tricia has been adding variety to her all-natural skin products while she, along with Patti and Cristalle, are celebrating their newest members of the family.
But even though they’re juggling their businesses and their kids, they still keep their support for one another strong. “One thing that has stayed the same is the bond between all of us mums in the baby bunch. Prasana moved back to Australia, so I got to visit her and Cristalle there. Amanda is in Singapore but it doesn’t matter,” says Tricia. “Our love and respect for each other are still strong. We all still talk daily. The Baby Bunch Mamas are a special bunch of Mamas.”
Being a part of that special bunch really helped especially for Jes during the pandemic. “The Baby Bunch moms have really held on to each other through the pandemic. We all agree that there’s a sense of familiarity and comfort when the kids are around each other. We have more or less similar peaceful parenting styles so it’s a very easy playgroup to have. And a bonus for us moms because we get to catch up and see each other.”
Challenges over the year
For the whole year, we wanted to make sure that every parent out there knew that they weren’t fighting alone in this pandemic. Anxieties piled high with uncertainties, especially when we had to assume new roles. Moms like Amanda had to add a new job role to her list: being a teacher. “Homeschooling (for 3 kids) was definitely a challenge. I know everyone relates,” says Amanda.
And with the pandemic, we were sure that soon-to-be moms were just as scared because of the constantly changing rules and we were happy when Patti Grandidge-Herrera shared her story with us on how she coped with it. “Giving birth during another wave of ECQ was unforgettable! I was due when hospitals were tightening restrictions once again; what a whirlwind. Our youngest son, Jed, was born in April and this begins our new chapter as a family of four,” Patti says in an interview.
But one of the biggest hurdles we know, especially Vanessa, is if you got COVID yourself. “We have gone through so much in this past year, but I believe the part that marked us the most as a family was when I had Covid. It was very hard having to me away from my kids. David was still breastfeeding and I had to abruptly wean him. I remember Bella saying bye and telling me she was going to help take care of David. That broke my heart. My mom and brother took care of the kids for us, as Jun stayed with me. The whole situation was very hard and I think the kids never comprehended why they needed to be separated from us.”
Separation didn’t just have to be from family especially for Cristalle who was hesitant to leave the comforts of her home in the Philippines. “I’ve never lived abroad and so I was really hesitant to leave the comforts of home and being in the Philippines,” says Cristalle.
The Baby Bunch Kids growing up
When the Baby Bunch was formed, it was for their kids to have playmates their age. But because of the pandemic, some of those plans were scrapped and saved for another day. “Kyle went from frequent socializing with babies of his own age to staying home with no interaction with kids besides his siblings,” says Amanda. “We miss our Baby Bunch friends so much.”
However, these kids didn’t just twiddle their thumbs. Kids like Arrow and Kyle began their Age of Exploration. “I suppose they’ve changed mostly just by turning into toddlers. Little humans with their own opinions and wants & likes,” says Tricia about Arrow. “During the shoot, they were all still just little babies barely walking. Arrow loves playing with her friends, she sees Neo and Benjamin on a weekly basis. She loves playing soccer, swimming, horses, painting & TUTUS.”
“Kyle is dino-obsessed and can name most of the dinosaurs. It helps to have an older brother who is in the dino-know. He is a little daredevil who swims like a fish and scooters faster than his 6-year-old sister. He thinks he’s much older than he is because he’s always keeping up with his big brothers (aged 11 & 8) and his sister,” says Amanda.
If it’s one thing that we and the Baby Bunch know about kids, it’s that they always grow so fast.
Wholesome Pandemic Moments
While the year gave us the pandemic, it gave some of us like Amanda time to spend with family. “Singapore is a very small island with very strict rules so it has been quite difficult for us not to be able to leave and see family,” says Amanda. “The 2 lockdowns in Singapore impacted our family both good and bad. We were able to have some wonderful time together as a family unit of 6 and really appreciate one another.”
Time wasn’t the only thing it gave us but also moments of realization especially for Tricia. ” It made us a stronger family unit. Duane never missed a day face-timing with Arrow and it made me as a MOM realize how strong I actually am, physically, mentally, and spiritually,” says Tricia. “I did 4 months away including 2 weeks hotel quarantine pregnant with a 2-year-old. I did it so Arrow could run freely with her cousins in Australia, sure I was tired because I was 32 weeks pregnant upon returning but it made Duane and I as parents realize that going the extra mile for our kids is worth the tired moments.”
But all of us mamas can agree with Jes that 2020 was really tough. “Like everyone we all went through a very tough 2020. It’s only now that I can look back and realize how hard it really was for me physically and mentally. While 2020 was unfolding I was rolling with the punches but by the end of it my self-esteem was so low and I was so lost. It was in December that I realized this all so by January I really made it a point to do self-work and make time for myself.”
But self-work doesn’t just mean treating yourself. It can also mean taking that leap of faith. And today, that is one decision that Cristalle doesn’t regret making. “Being here [in Australia] has stretched me in so many directions but I feel that I am a more empowered person coming from this experience – as a mother, a wife, and an entrepreneur.”
Happy 1st Anniversary to your cover, Baby Bunch!
It’s been one year since their first cover with us on Modern Parenting and aside from celebrating this momentous occasion, we’re happy to see that they’re all doing so well and that their relationship is stronger than ever. This bunch is proof that we moms will always stick together no matter what kind of crazy things ensue and that we’re always here to support you. Thank you for always sharing your stories with us!
Thank you for sticking with us, moms and dads! For you, we have some other stories you might want to check out: