Rebecca Elms hasn’t done marriage, maternity and motherhood ‘by the book’. In fact, she admits she didn’t read any of the usual pregnancy or baby books and it was her business partner who recommended more than a couple of weeks off after their daughter Noa was born.
Husband Dave is seven years younger than Rebecca and was keen to have a baby as soon as possible after they married. However, Rebecca was in the early stages of growing her successful fashion business, The Hunted that started as a pop-up shop at Stockland in Cammeray.
“I held off as long as I could but then we agreed that there’s no right or wrong time and I’ve loved every minute. Noa is the most amazing little girl with a calm, beautiful temperament.”
With a year’s maternity leave out of the question, Rebecca went back to work after four months. Husband Dave then took almost seven months’ paternity leave and was ‘over the moon’ to have that one-on-one time with Noa.
“Noa doesn’t have a favourite. We’re a real 50-50 family,” Rebecca says. “When we’re all together, that’s her happy place and that definitely stems from Dave’s time with her.”
These days, Dave also works at The Hunted so the usual parental home/work time juggling is a little easier to organise.
“It won’t be forever that she wants to hold my hand walking home.”
Noa started school this year and Rebecca is determined that her first years would mean she would drop Noa off in the mornings and pick her up in the afternoons.
“It’s our normal for now and if we can sustain it, that’s great. They want to tell you about their day and I think it’s really important. They need you to be there, especially when they’re younger. It’s a long time before high school.”
The grandmother ingredient
Before Noa went into daycare and Dave was reaching the end of his paternity leave, Rebecca’s mum would come from her home on the coast and stay from Sunday night to Wednesday morning.
“It was amazing to have her in the house in those early days. She made a great connection with Noa and now she can spend a week with my mum. I’m so grateful … I can’t do enough for her.”
Mother’s Day is ‘like Christmas, it’s so busy’ at The Hunted, but Rebecca, Dave and Rebecca’s father and mother will go out somewhere special for lunch.
“I’m just happy for us all to be together,” says Rebecca.
It seems that not doing things by the book and not being ‘normal’ is working out just fine for Rebecca, Dave and Noa. Maybe The Beatles were right, ‘Love is all you need’.
About: 'Those who mum' series
Meet 40 women across Australia, from as far as Cairns in North Queensland to Baldivis in Western Australia, as part of a 40-part editorial and portrait series that celebrates the faces of women and mums from across Australia.