Reading: Project Mom

If there’s one thing my first year of motherhood has taught me, it’s that the right support makes a world of difference.

Which is why I was more than happy to help support Amanda Griffin-Jacob when she contacted me about her latest project with good friend Bianca Araneta-Elizalde: a parenting book called Project Mom.

ProjectMomCover copyIf you’ve ever seen Amanda’s website Glamomamas or Bianca’s gorgeous Instagram page, you’ll know that these two friends have a way of making motherhood look magical and effortless. Project Mom is loaded with lots of useful information to help you swim through your child’s first year with less doubts and much more confidence.

I asked Amanda and Bianca to share a little more about their book writing journey and to offer my readers a sneak peek into some never before seen pages from their book. Hope you enjoy all their helpful tips as much as I did.

Cat JL: Hi, girls! Can you share a bit about your friendship. How long have you known each other? 

Amanda: Bianca and I have known since we were young teens. I actually spent a lot of my formative years with her. But I have to say that being moms really cemented our friendship. We have a lot in common when it comes to our kids.

Bianca: Amanda and I have know each other for roughly 20 years or so. So, yes, we do go way back! She dated my brother for almost a decade back when she was in college I believe.

projectmom5Why the decision to write a book together? How long did it take to finish? 

Bianca:  After we both became moms, we focused our efforts in that area–me with my maternity wear line, Eden and she with her website, Glam-o-mamas. About two years ago, before we decided to write Project Mom, we almost collaborated on another idea I had for Eden. Producing some sort of book was part of the plan but not this kind of a manual it is today. We shelved that idea for one reason or the other, but earlier this year, Amanda proposed just writing the book, nothing else. This must’ve been around April. I would say, it took us about 5 months to write the content cause there were still other things we needed to do before we even started the writing process.

Amanda: The whole process was quite short  in comparison to most books. We were under an insane deadline, so we really had to focus our energy on putting out the best quality product we could. The book as an abstract concept had been floated around our meetings for other projects. One day I decided that I really wanted to have this book published and Bianca was the perfect choice to move ahead with the project.

projectmom3Can you share a bit about the experience of co-writing a book? The good, the bad, the ugly. 

Amanda: You learn a lot when you write/create a book from scratch in such a short time frame. Since I was in charge of the book’s marketing and shoots, as well as writing, it became an avalanche of work that was quite stressful at times. My baby was only four months old when I started the whole process. Trying to devote my time to my new baby, my demanding toddler, other work responsibilities, and my husband was very difficult. To be honest I cried quite a few times. I was the one who had to make the team adhere to deadlines, so managing that aspect was also tough and many times not fun.

The phenomenal part of this whole experience is the creation of this book. I look at it and think it’s surreal that this was an idea in my head a year ago. It really has felt like the birth of another baby. Complete with all the labor pains, weight gain, and all. I can go on and on with all the metaphorical connections you can think of for this process! As with any baby, the pain was all worth it in the end.

We also had some fun times that gave the whole team many laughs along the way.

Bianca: I think there was a lot to consider in the beginning. Who wrote what, how we would divide the topics, how to keep our own voice, and keep it true to who we are. It helped that we share the same mothering philosophy, which was a big decision factor for me. I don’t think I would’ve wanted to work on any project or attach my name to anything that I didn’t believe in 100% or that wasn’t “me”. The difficult part about dividing chapters between each other was going through it all in the end and putting it all together, making sure we didn’t overlap anywhere. The good thing about doing this though is that it cuts your work in half!

What kind of mom is your book best for? 

Amanda: It is perfect for expecting and new moms. But moms in general will get a lot out of the book too. We go into how to throw the prefect birthday party and traveling with your children, so it is not limited to just new mummies. I also have a chapter dedicated solely to moms, which includes how to lose the pesky baby weight (I gained 55 lbs. with my first pregnancy), the importance of me time, and bonding with your husband and girlfriends).

Bianca: Project Mom is good for most moms anywhere in the world because the tips we share is relevant no matter where you reside.  It is perfect for any mom living in this country because we localized it as much as possible so the products and services you see are all available locally (at the time of print at least). We’ve also included a great directory to get you started. It is best for moms who also want to raise their children in a healthier, more natural, “green” lifestyle like we do and who aren’t opposed to being attached parents.

projectmom2Is there anything for dads in this book as well? 

Amanda: Absolutely! Dads can get a sense of what the motherhood journey will be like for his partner. I highly recommend that Dads read the pregnancy chapter, Bringing home baby chapter. The health and food chapter would be of interest to them too.

Bianca: We do talk about dads, and where they can be of help to us moms. I’m sure they will also pick up more than a thing or two in the shopping, health, food, travel and celebrations chapters, but it’s directed towards moms mainly.

You’ve been quotes as saying that this is the first book of its kind here in the Philippines. Can you share a bit more about that?

Amanda: This is the only book on parenting that goes through everything you can expect, everything you need, everything you may encounter, complete with a comprehensive local directory. Anything that we mention in the book is available here in the Philippines. This book is an extremely authentic and real depiction of me and Bianca as moms. Any product mentioned is one we use and have probably used for years.

Bianca: To our knowledge, there has never been a book written locally about motherhood, that covers everything you need from pregnancy til your baby’s first birthday and injects a green, attached parenting approach yet. We tell it like it is, and we add a lot of our own personal anecdotes here and there. The directory is also very helpful.

Will there be an online version of this book?

Amanda: Hopefully! It’s on our list of to-dos.

How much with the book retail for? 

Bianca: The book retails for P999.

projectmom1Who was your team behind this book? Did you call on any experts to offer their opinions?

Amanda: Yes, we had a team of experts that comprised of six top pediatricians in the country. We wanted to make sure all our information and research was current, factual, and up to date. Our experts include Dr. Francis Dimalanta, Dr. Vina Cabahug, Dr. Corry Avancena, Dr. Joy Tiu, Dr. Georgina Remulla, and Dr. Ome Nuiguid.

We also have our “expert” moms who share their advice and experiences with our readers. Our panel includes Panjee Tapales, Jackie Antonio, Lexi Schulze, Gela Laurel, Hindy Tantoco, Michelle Alejandro, Stephanie Kienle-Gonzalez, and Anna Aquino-Dee.

Bianca: Angela Yang-Handy was our editor, Ssowell did the layout and Stanley Ong did most of our photos.

What five key pieces of advice can you and Bianca offer new parents?

Amanda:

1    While you are pregnant, get as much sleep as you can and enjoy the quiet. My house hasn’t been quiet since my first son was born.
2    Seek advice, but always go with your gut instinct. I truly believe that you innately know what is best for your child.
3    Keep track of developmental milestones. Make sure that you observe your baby/child and know that they are on track. If they aren’t, consult your doctor for advice.
4    Don’t forget to take time for yourself and your husband. You need to keep sane and nurture your relationship with your partner.
5    Make exercise a part of your routine when you are able. Many moms put it off and then it becomes very difficult to get back into the swing of things. You want to be the healthiest version of you for yourself and your family.

Bianca:

1 Think hard about how you want to raise your children.
2 Make informed decisions about their health and well-being
3 Choose to breastfeed
4 Be an attached parent
5 Enjoy them as babies, enjoy them as toddlers, enjoy them at every stage after.

projectmom4Amanda and Bianca would like to invite you to Project Mom’s book launch on December 5, 2013, 6pm at the Roof Deck of Fully Booked, Fort Bonifacio High Street.

50% of book sales on the launch night will go towards YolandaPH efforts. A raffle (with some really fantastic prizes) will also be done to help support the efforts of Rebuild Malapasqua.

Project Mom will be available at all Fully Booked branches. Feel free to check out their Facebook page for more details.

Photos care of Amanda and Bianca. Second picture of Bianca & Amanda by Mau and Au Photography. All other pictures by Stanley Ong

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