December 31, 2019
photos Dix Perez
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These group of gorgeous moms from the social set bond over helping each other and share how they keep and create holiday traditions

Keeping holiday traditions is definitely essential to make the season’s experience fun and extra special. And when you’re a mom with a child experiencing their first taste of Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations, you can’t help but feel giddy and excited to share your wonderful experiences with them. The Baby Bunch, which Amanda Griffin-Jacob started, is a group of mothers who happen to give birth around the same time as the others. Together with Amanda, Tricia Centenera, Patti Grandidge-Herrera, Jessica Tan-Gan, Cristalle Belo-Pitt, and Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga have bonded over the craziest experiences they’ve experienced in the course of motherhood, helping each other overcome firsts and learning from each other.

Tricia shares, “It was actually Amanda. And she lives in Singapore. So she really wanted to make sure that Kyle had friends when they decide to move back. And so Amanda kind of reached out to me and was like, ‘Hey, you know, I’m in town, can we do a play date with Arabella. Do you know any other moms who we can kind of put together and build a good support system because that’s Amanda—she’s so passionate about it. She has Glam-o-Mamas and everything. So this happened very organically and really just the fact that as moms we all knew that we needed support from like-minded people, and it just kind of took off from there. In the beginning, we weren’t from one barkada, but our babies have kind of bonded us together. And so now we’re like, a mommy barkada.”

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Jessica and Benjamin, Cristalle and Hunter, Vanessa and David, Amanda and Kyle, Tricia and Arabella, Patti and Neo.

The Baby Bunch

For Amanda, being with fellow mothers who all mean well for their children can bring so much joy. And the fact that being able to support each other as women who have been through the same things empowers them as mothers. It is the wonders of motherhood that truly make it special. “I just love listening to their questions or stories. It’s a great reminder for me to really cherish those moments of wonder again. It’s really an honor and a blessing for me to be able to see motherhood again, through the eyes of first-time moms because it is really a special experience that you only get really once,” she says happily.

While husbands do provide a great deal of emotional support, there are some things that you can only get from other people who have the same experiences as yours. This is why a support group is very important, especially for first-time mothers. Jessica tells us, “To me, you need to build your support group, especially before you give birth and after. I wasn’t a very emotional person prior to becoming a mom. But it is overwhelming. So to me, it’s really important to build your communication or relationship with your husband and how you want to be supported, but there’s also another support that you won’t ever get from anyone other than moms, especially moms going through the same stage of development as you.”

Vanessa, Jessica, Patti, Tricia, Cristalle, and Amanda.

All for One, One for All

Patti lovingly calls the group her lifeline, “There are just certain things that you can all relate to and that, maybe your family won’t quite understand, your husband won’t quite understand. But, you know, moms, we’re all in it together. So you know, that we’re all coming from the same place. And it’s just great to have that support. Like I said, They’re my lifeline. So it’s lovely.” So much has been shared among these women and with no holds barred, they have learned to love and accept motherhood even through the craziest moments. Cristalle brings us in the conversation, “It’s just the craziest experiences for the kids—about poop exploding, barfing in the airplane. Sometimes it’s a frustrating event, but you know, you just share it with people who you know, can relate to the situation and kind of just laugh with it. It’s just great to see and learn from other people’s mistakes.”

Together, through photoshoots, dinners, and play dates, the Baby Bunch has grown together as mothers and friends to bring the best in themselves and their children. “We usually really talk about the funny stuff that happens on a daily basis with our kids. And I’m really very lucky to have these ladies in my life. Because they bring different things to the table. We all have different personalities. And there’s just so much knowledge that that has been shared in the past. I love them so much,” Vanessa says of their get-togethers.

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Jessica and Benjamin, Cristalle and Hunter, Vanessa and David, Amanda and Kyle, Tricia and Arabella, Patti and Neo.

Enjoying the Holidays

For Cristalle and Justin, learning each other’s traditions and making one for Hunter has been an exciting experience. She shares, “Justin and I haven’t really created traditions. But last year, we kind of started. We all wore the same pajamas. We open gifts Christmas morning. So we are a bit more conscious about that. We have to create traditions for Hunter to remember. The tradition in our family is that we have Christmas dinner, and then on the 24th, that’s when we open gifts. But with Justin, they do it 25th morning. Everyone has a nice breakfast and then you open the gifts in the morning. So we’re still finding our way and trying to create a tradition for our unit.”

Making holiday meals and snacks are great ways to bond with your children, according to Vanessa. “I love cooking. That’s something that my daughter loves helping me with. And she really enjoys these little things—feeling important and being part of the activities. And it’s something that I really want to have my kids learn from especially because my mom loves cooking so it’s something that comes from family and we want them to experience that as well.” And the real meaning of Christmas is just as important in keeping up with traditions. Patti explains, “We want him to know, the real meaning of Christmas, Jesus’s birthday and everything like that. So he’ll get to learn that as he gets older but I think now it’s more just starting up new family traditions and keeping that so he will just have the best memories when he grows up.”

Amanda and Kyle.

Making it Conscientious this Season

Amanda is also passionate about keeping it green and making eco-friendly decisions even during the holidays. “My dad’s British so I do a lot of British Christmas traditions that I’ve melded with my own because I’m really concerned about our environment and being green and I’m really worried about what’s going to happen to the world, especially because I have four children. So for me, I’m trying to put in place new traditions where Christmas is more about the meaning and not so many gifts. So I try and limit the number of presents my children can receive and make sure it’s things that they really need or want. And then the rest we can try and either give to charity,” she says.

Everyone agrees among other things this season, that the greatest gift of all, is the love felt with their children and seeing their children grow up to be their best and enjoying time spent with their families. Tricia says, “What’s priceless is when she sees me in the crowd of other people and she comes running over to me and hugs my legs. For me, that is just the best. I always knew that I wanted to have children but I didn’t expect this kind of love.” Jessica agrees, “It’s really about the family more than anything. Just the gatherings. The gifts—not so important because the family is what this season is supposed to be about.”

Photos by Dix Perez.

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