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Every Juana: Rebecca Van Ommen

Juana Rebecca Van Ommen

Meet Becky van Ommen, half Nepalese half Dutch, Philippine-raised mom of one.

Becky is the Founder & Creative Director of The Paper Boat Creative, an advertising company based in London.

How did you get into this line of work? Please share some of the work you have done?
I’ve always been creating imagery since I was a kid; painting, drawing, arts & crafts. In my early career I was the art director for Gatorade in DDB, then became a commercial photographer (did projects for MTV, Pepsi, Globe Telecom, Neutrogena), then became the senior art director managing high end imagery in Getty Images London, which covered artwork for all of Europe. After a while, being the control freak that I am when it comes to pictures, I started my   own company: The Paper Boat Creative. Now I merge photography, illustration & graphic design in one place. Because of my portfolio history, the clients we attract seem to be from sports, jewelry or kiddie, baby stuff. Everyday is fun!

Please tell us a little about your family. 

 

My family is small and new! My husband Michael Tzur is American-Israeli. He’s a professional personal trainer from New York. We got married in March when I was about 5-6 months pregnant!

Our daughter is Lily, she’s now 8 weeks old and has been amazing, smiling from day 1! We live in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced so far? 
Being away from family and friends during the most physically trying part of my life has got to be the biggest challenge. Dealing with an upsurge of hormones, waves of weakness and tiredness without really knowing what is happening, is all quite confusing. And not knowing where to get sound advice from can get frustrating. From pregnancy, birth to recovery, I have my husband as my one true stable support.

What do you do for yourself- whenyou take a break from the kids?

 

My two joys are creating artwork and working out. It’s a rare moment to have a break. Lily is still very young, refuses the pacifier or bottle so having a break longer than 90 minutes is kind of impossible!

Please tell us about the other things you do.
I have to maximize every minute that I’m not holding her. Tel Aviv isn’t like Manila where house help and assistance is readily available. So I have to rush to do laundry, tidy the house, work on my business, all before my daughter starts whining for attention. I love cooking but I have resorted to eating salads with a side of protein like grilled chicken or salmon. My husband helps with the food prep and is amazing with nutrition knowledge so most of my meals are prepared by him now.

How did you keep so fit during your pregnancy? And how are you getting back into shape now?

 

I’ve been doing sports since I was small and have been in various varsity teams in high school. I’ve been in varsity basketball in Ateneo and then continued on working out after University. So by the time I was pregnant I was able to stayed avoid pain & back aches, and knew how to control my eating. We tend to crave sweet / sour / salty stuff  but that’s not an excuse to eat cake or ice cream. If our body needs sweets, there are fruits. There is protein if we need salty food, etc. I also went to they gym during my 2nd trimester and just did minimal workouts… but I did it 6 times a week.

 

Now, getting back in shape is harder. I have a lot of post partum pain still. And I lost a lot of muscle mass & gained fat… So I’m working out everyday either in the gym or house for at least 45 minutes. 60% cardio and 40% weights in the gym, and 100% body weight floor exercises at home (like planks, crunches, pelvic tilts, etc)

How do you balance your work with taking care of your baby? If you haven’t started work up again, have you planned how and when you will go back?
I am fortunate to own my own business so I can do everything from home, and I have a fantastic team of international artists working with me to keep everything moving. Its still challenging… commercial clients are very demanding. But I was preparing for the worst, so I am grateful to have my team help me out a lot more now.

What’s the biggest challenge about living in London ( are you still there?) And what is the best thing about living there?
I live in Tel Aviv, it’s hard to manage everything alone and service related help like nannies, chefs and house cleaners charge a premium rate! The best thing though is its a beautiful sunny location with lots of parks, the beach just 5 minutes away. There’s a lot of outdoor activities here, like people biking, jogging, strolling with their kids. Its a very peaceful open area which is amazing and fun.

Is there anything you miss about living in Manila?
Oh my gosh… Where do I begin? I must sound so spoiled saying this but I miss having house help. I’m selfish and want to focus only on my artwork and family and not think about house chores. Is that bad? Maybe. 🙁 I miss big shopping malls!

If you want to share your own Juana story, send us an e-mail at hello@www.juana.com.ph or leave us a message on Facebook

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