MOTHER OF ALL ROLES

Pho­tographed for the first time with all her chil­dren, Re­becca Judd re­veals the re­al­ity of be­ing a mum-of-four and just how pic­ture-perfect her life re­ally is.

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy CAMERON GRAYSON Styling MA­RINA AFONINA Creative Di­rec­tion ALEKSANDRA BEARE Words AN­GELA MOLLARD

Re­becca Judd is try­ing to re­mem­ber the ages of her chil­dren. “Os­car is five, Bil­lie is three and the twins, um, what are they? Eight months? You know, I re­cently had to Google their birth­day. I couldn’t re­mem­ber whether they were born on Septem­ber 28, 29 or 30. It was so crazy around that time.”

It’s cheer­ing to know that the na­tion’s most glam­orous uber-mum isn’t as perfect and or­gan­ised as her so­cial me­dia sug­gests, but just as chaotic as the rest of us mere mor­tals.

“I urge your read­ers to imag­ine the com­plete op­po­site,” she laughs of the highly stylised de­pic­tion of motherhood on dis­play in Stellar’s photo shoot. “Take this morn­ing – the kids ate their Weet-bix in plas­tic bowls, one of the twins has a cold, the other has con­junc­tivi­tis, and I could’ve sworn when Mum took them to the park that Bil­lie’s pants looked sus­pi­ciously like the py­ja­mas she wore last night. Mean­while, there are clothes all over the floor in my room, the bed’s not made and I’m go­ing to have to chisel Weet-bix off the kitchen bench.”

As the 34-year-old pre­pares to cel­e­brate her first Mother’s Day with iden­ti­cal twin sons, Tom and Darcy, she pro­fesses to barely get­ting her head around the no­tion she’s a mother of four.

“I can’t be­lieve this is my re­al­ity and I have four ba­bies, in­clud­ing iden­ti­cal twin boys,” she says. “I was the least ma­ter­nal one in my group of girl­friends and although I still feel too young and ir­re­spon­si­ble, here I am with four kids.”

In fact, she re­cently mooted hav­ing a fifth baby, ex­plain­ing to hus­band Chris, 33, that she re­ally missed see­ing her obstetrician and mid­wife. “Hang­ing out with your obstetrician is not a valid rea­son to have baby num­ber five,” was the for­mer AFL star’s re­sponse.

Whether it’s lis­ten­ing to her on radio, watch­ing her host the Nine Net­work’s Post­cards, read­ing her web­site, sur­vey­ing her de­signer and am­bas­sado­rial roles for a range of brands (in­clud­ing her own ac­tivewear line, Jag­gad) or flick­ing through a string of pic­ture-perfect In­sta­gram posts, it’s hard to fathom how Judd man­ages such a busy life.

But as she speaks can­didly about her var­i­ous roles, it’s clear Team Judd is a well-oiled ma­chine. Cru­cially, she has help – lots of it. She’s also learnt to say “no”, only tak­ing on op­por­tu­ni­ties that pass “the love test” (that is, she’s thrilled to do them). She also has a hands-on hus­band and is de­ter­mined to ap­pre­ci­ate her good for­tune.

And, as she says, twins are a dod­dle. “I know this sounds crazy,” she says, “but two are eas­ier than one. These are the least needy ba­bies I’ve ever had. They play with each other and soothe each other, and when I put them to bed they don’t cry or need rock­ing to sleep; they don’t get sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety be­cause they have each other. It’s so dif­fer­ent from when I had Os­car and I’d be lean­ing over the cot try­ing to squeeze my breast into his mouth when­ever he be­gan to stir be­cause he was such a trou­bled sleeper.”

While the boys are iden­ti­cal, she says they’re very dif­fer­ent – some­thing of a re­lief since she feared they’d end up like iden­ti­cal twins in doc­u­men­taries, the kind who marry iden­ti­cal twin sis­ters and do the ex­act same jobs. “I re­mem­ber think­ing, ‘Oh Lordy’ but they’re very dif­fer­ent. Darcy is more sen­si­tive and Tom is more cruisy. They whinge about dif­fer­ent things.”

That said, they’re very at­tached: “When I pick up one for a cud­dle, he’ll crane over my shoul­der as if to say, ‘Why are you tak­ing me away from my brother?’ They’d rather be with each other than me. It’s like watch­ing a sci­ence ex­per­i­ment un­fold ev­ery day.”

SUC­CESS MAY RE­LIEVE the Judds of the fi­nan­cial pres­sure of many fam­i­lies, but they were warned af­ter the twins’ birth that they were as vul­ner­a­ble as any cou­ple. In the spe­cial-care nurs­ery where the boys were cared for af­ter be­ing born at 36 weeks, the cou­ple were told 75 per cent of par­ents of mul­ti­ples di­vorce.

“We were told we couldn’t do it by our­selves, which was OK be­cause I’d al­ready booked Mum to come over from Perth and live with us for a year,” she says. “Chris was also home full-time for the first month and he gets home ev­ery day around 4pm, so we’re get­ting through it and not get­ting a di­vorce!”

So do they carve out much time for each other? “We could do better,” she ad­mits. “But it’s the first year and we’ve got our whole lives to look for­ward to for that. We’re con­scious that these are our last ba­bies and we’re en­joy­ing them.”

One of the ways Judd has cre­ated more time for her­self and her hus­band is by turn­ing off the com­ments on her In­sta­gram. With 631,000 fol­low­ers, she was spend­ing hours mod­er­at­ing the re­sponses, many of which crit­i­cised her body or per­sonal style. When she posed in a swim­suit four weeks af­ter giv­ing birth to the twins, she was ac­cused of be­ing a “bad role model” for mums. “You are far too skinny, you look ex­tremely sick and all you did was marry a foot­baller,” read one comment. Even her Christ­mas tree, made from re­cy­cled branches, was dubbed “ugly” and “sad”.

“I turned off the com­ments shortly be­fore Christ­mas be­cause they were be­ing used as head­lines for click­bait sto­ries and I wanted to live in the real world a lot more,” she says.

Did the com­ments about her body and claims that she was mak­ing

“HANG­ING OUT WITH YOUR OBSTETRICIAN IS NOT A VALID REA­SON TO HAVE BABY NUM­BER FIVE”

or­di­nary women feel bad con­trib­ute to her de­ci­sion? “Maybe that’s part of it,” she says, cau­tiously. “I’m used to the body-sham­ing stuff be­cause I’ve had it since I was a re­ally young girl at school. But skinny used to be a body type and now it’s seen as an ill­ness. I try not to get up­set, be­cause [so­cial me­dia] is not real life. Peo­ple say things they wouldn’t say to your face, but I’m not go­ing to let it make me feel bad about my­self. If I wor­ried about ev­ery­thing said about me, I’d be wor­ried my en­tire life.”

Yet it’s not just so­cial me­dia where she cops scorn be­cause of her slight frame. On a re­cent shoot for Post­cards she over­heard a group of women in their six­ties mak­ing snide re­marks about whether she’d in­dulge in the plate of chilli mus­sels that had been placed in front of her. “Bet she doesn’t eat it,” Judd heard them mut­ter. As she walked away from the table so the crew could film close-ups of the food, she heard them say: “Typ­i­cal! Told you. She didn’t eat it.”

She sighs when re­count­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence for Stellar. “You ex­pect that from girls in high school,” she says. “I thought by that age women would be nicer.”

Then, as if she has to prove her­self, she rat­tles off what she eats in a day. Since no one would ask a man such a ques­tion, it seems un­nec­es­sary to list it in full, suf­fice to say her diet sounds bor­ingly nor­mal and she eats choco­late or ice-cream most even­ings.

While Judd is re­signed to the criticism that comes her way, she’s fe­ro­cious about pro­tect­ing her kids and re­cently called for tighter laws gov­ern­ing pa­parazzi tak­ing pho­tos of chil­dren. Her out­burst promptly drew criticism with com­men­ta­tors call­ing her a hyp­ocrite be­cause she shares pic­tures of her kids on so­cial me­dia. “There’s a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence be­tween a par­ent tak­ing a pic­ture of their own

child in a safe, se­cure, happy and lov­ing en­vi­ron­ment ver­sus a stranger do­ing so in an un­safe en­vi­ron­ment and mak­ing a child feel threat­ened,” she ar­gues. “They are preda­to­ryp and that’s hard to ex­plain to a c con­fused and fright­ened child.”

Ju Judd jus­ti­fies her posts by ex­plain­ing that she never uses lo­ca­tion ser­vices, alwa al­ways posts af­ter she’s left an event and blurs the logo on school uni­forms. She says she’s care­ful to never post anyt any­thing they might later ob­ject to, suc such Withas tantrumsher image or that toi­letof a train­ing. woman who is not just win­ning at par­ent­ing, but ini ev­ery­thing else, it isn’t hard to unde un­der­stand why Judd can be con­sid­ered pola po­lar­is­ing. Yet while hers is a life that coul could make many feel that theirs is not quite good enough, she says she wor­ries and suf­fers just like ev­ery­body else.

Th Through­out the preg­nancy, she was post post­ing pic­tures of her bump, but behi be­hind the scenes she was con­cerned abou about go­ing into labour be­fore 34 weeks due to the health risks for ba­bies born befo be­fore that mark.

W When she came down with a cold just days af­ter the boys’ birth she wore a ma mask over her mouth, fear­ful they’d be vul­ner­a­ble to ill­ness. Even now, she’s a self-con­fessed “germa­phobe”, mind­ful that if one gets sick it could knock the whole family over for the next six weeks. She wor­ries about Bil­lie be­ing the mid­dle child and so takes her out for spe­cial “ladies’ lunches”. She feels guilty if she works too much one week, and so tries to rein it in the next.

Like other Aus­tralian women, Judd will snatch a few mo­ments to­day to re­flect on Mother’s Day, and says she’s never hap­pier than first thing in the morn­ing when all four kids are tum­bling around in her and Chris’s bed and she’s sip­ping a cup of cof­fee that he’s brought to her.

But even Judd con­fesses to feel­ing anx­ious about tak­ing the whole family – and her mum – on a long-haul flight to Canada for Christ­mas. “The twins will be 14 months old, which is the ab­so­lute worst time to fly with ba­bies, so we’ll see if we’re still mar­ried af­ter that,” she quips.

And any plans to “hang out” with her obstetrician again? “No way,” she says with a laugh. “There won’t be a fifth. We’re done. We’ve shut up shop and that’s it.”

RE­BECCA WEARS Peter Pilotto dress, Christie Ni­co­laides ear­rings (worn (worn through­out), all myer.com.au TOM AND DARCY WEAR Seed Her­itage tops, myer.com.au OS­CAR WEARS Zara Kids top, (02) 9376 7600 BIL­LIE WEARS Zara Kids top, as be­fore

RE­BECCA WEARS Ni­cola Finetti dress; Gi­ambat­tista Valli shoes, both myer.com.au BIL­LIE WEARS Zara Kids top (worn through­out), (02) 9376 7600; Seed Her­itage skirt (worn through­out), myer.com.au OS­CAR WEARS Zara Kids top and pants (worn through­out), as be­fore TOM AND DARCY WEAR Zara Kids tops and pants, as be­fore

PERFECT FIT (top) Re­becca Judd with her hus­band and Chris last month;nth; (right) at the 2004 004 Brown­low Medal dal awards wear­ingng the her to fame.

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