Victoria Beckham has spoken candidly about the pressures of being a working mum, admitting, "I feel guilty every time I go out the door". The hard-working designer, who is a mum of four, made a special appearance at the Vogue Festival in London, where she gave a special insight into how she juggles the demands of motherhood with her career.
"I don't know how I do it. It is a juggling act. It's no different for me than any other mum," Victoria, 39, told the audience. "My children are my priority and always have been.
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"I'm up very early in the morning doing spelling tests and maths quizzes before the school run, then up late with a baby and a 14-year-old who refuses to go to bed — Brooklyn," she said, gesturing to her eldest son, who has accompanied her to the talk.
"So I don't get as much sleep as I would maybe like. But I have great people who handle my schedule. If there's a parents' night or Easter bonnet parade or nativity parade I plan around that so I can be heavily involved.
"But it's difficult juggling working, having the children, having a husband who travels. I do have a bit of help, I have a nanny, I can't do it all myself. I really enjoy being a mum, I love them [my children] and I'd do anything for them. But I also love what I do."
Victoria was supported at the event by Brooklyn and her proud parents Jackie and Tony, who watched from the front row.
Queues had started forming two hours before she took to the stage with Vogue UK editor Alexandra Schulman, and those who attended were not disappointed as Victoria quickly won them over with her wit and self-effacing humour.
"I'm nice! Everyone thinks I'm going to be a cow," she said, smiling. "I understand it actually. I think the same when I see the pictures."
Victoria also touched on the cynicism surrounding her move into the fashion industry, explaining it was sheer hard work that made the fashion press eventually sit up and take notice.
"At the beginning there was a lot of raised eyebrows, from those who could raise their eyebrows," she laughed, as she poked fun at the industry's relationship with Botox. "When I started, I did one-on-one presentations, I'd talk for hours to people who didn't even speak English. I think a lot of people probably thought, 'Shut up, stop going on about a bloody grosgrain waistband!' But I'm really grateful to the industry."
She also said she encourages her staff to bring their children along to work, joking that her office often resembles a creche.
"I love having children in the office, mine are always running around," she said. "I had one of those swingy chairs for Harper in my office and she'd bounce one way and swing into a roll of fabric and then bounce the other way and crash into a bag of samples."
As she drew the talk to a close — Victoria revealed she hasn't ruled out appearing at London Fashion Week, and said a high-street collaboration isn't "out of the question" — the hard-working former Spice Girl seemed surprised by how well it had gone.
"Gosh, is that it?," she said. "Thank you so much to everyone that came,I didn't expect so many people. If you'd told me how many, I might have got up and sung a song. Now that would have been a worry."