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.
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 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...
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...
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.