Friday, June 17, 2011

An open letter to Victoria Beckham

Dear Victoria,

How are you? Can we have a little chat? Girl to girl? Mammy to mammy? Career woman to... erm, career woman?

First I’ll start with the nice bits. You’re looking well these days with a little bit of meat on your bones. Pregnancy agrees with you. I’ll admit I’m jealous that you seem to manage to look so glamorous with it. I never managed that - not at all. For most of my pregnancies - especially the last one I stuck with the “just getting by” look. I lived in the same three maternity outfits, swapped my heels for flats as soon as I could and used make up not to accentuate a healthy glow but more to hide a deathly palour.

You looked well at the royal wedding. I wasn’t sure about the hat, and those heels would have killed me stone dead but overall you had a nice glow about a you. A smile wouldn’t have hurt. For some reason you don’t seem to like smiling much, which is a shame. You do actually have a nice smile. And if I had David Beckham waiting for me at home I’d smile a bit more, it has to be said.

Now that we’ve covered that ground, Victoria - or can I call you Posh? - can we get down to the nitty gritty? Now much as I hate to say anything which may annoy or upset a pregnant and highly hormonal woman, Victoria last week you said something which gave me the rage. You may not know me but believe me when I have the rage, it is not a pretty sight. Not. At. All.

So there was I reading an article about you thinking “Jeezo, she looks well when she’s not all gaunt and pointy” when you made some remark about maternity leave. “Maternity leave? What’s that?” you said in a jaunty fashion adding; “Being a working mum is hard - I think women can relate to me when I say it’s like juggling glass balls.”

Being a working mum is hard work. It is really, really hard work. And yes, it is like juggling glass balls - trying to keep everything moving fluidly because if one of the balls drops there is potential for disaster.

And by disaster, Victoria, I don’t mean a run in your designer tights or a broken acrylic nail. These days, the balls most of us working parents in general have in the air include mortgage payments, guilt about ‘quality time’ with the brood, finding affordable childcare, putting petrol in the car and food on the table. It’s about trying to keep hold of a job in recessionary times while trying not to neglect your children to such an extent that they grow up to be social miscreants.

It’s about trying to find time to cram in the housework before Kim and Aggie come battering on your door and putting yourself at the bottom of the queue.

I imagine your life is different Victoria. I imagine work for you does not come with dropping the children off at school/ creche while battling through rush hour traffic and praying no one notices that you are five minutes late (again). I imagine that you can set your own hours and you have a team of nannies to help out with those essentials like feeding, clothing and entertaining your children.

I can’t imagine, pet, that any time recently you have found yourself in the unenviable position of having too much month left at the end of your money or have had sleepless nights about the crashing property market and the value of your little piece of England.

As for maternity leave - can you imagine the average working mother-to-be? She may be working in excess of 40 hours a week. She may spend a lot her time on her feet, scanning shopping through the tills at Tesco, or nursing on an NHS wage in a busy hospital. Chances are she will work as close to her due date as possible to maximise her maternity pay and the time she can spend with her baby after it is born.

Chances are she has little choice about whether or not she returns to work. Chances are she will return a little earlier than she would really like because the bills need paid and statutory maternity pay of £128.73 doesn’t go very far these days.

Chances are by the time her baby comes along she is exhausted and needing some time to rest. Chances are she won’t have a team of night nurses to help her through the early months and wouldn’t be fit to try and combine caring for an infant with a full time job.

When you say that the modern working mother can relate to you, I have to ask - how exactly? Last time I looked I didn’t have fancy homes in foreign countries. I didn’t get an invite to the royal wedding. Justine Beiber does not send my children gifts of signed guitars (for this alone, I am entirely grateful). I don’t have a wardrobe of designer clothes or a host of A list friends.

I know you were coming from a “let’s all be friends” and “aren’t we all in this together” perspective but Victoria, pet, please accept that we so never going to be all in this together. Please stop trying to make out you are a mere pleb like the rest of us and give us working mammies, who really do have all those glass balls in the air, a bit of credit.

Much love,



Sarah said...

Right, how many of us have the luxury of being able to throw money at any problem that comes their way? Us plebs have to rely on ourselves and any network we might be lucky enough to have. It's usually an extremely fine balancing act.

The Pineapple Tart said...


Christine Murray said...

She still has to juggle a demanding job and three kids, and you always see her out with them. I don't think she does too badly.

Anonymous said...

I so frequently have the same thoughts when I read or hear about wealthy people saying how hard this or that is, but in this case I do think she was referring to the emotional juggling. Fair enough, she doesn't HAVE to work so she did throw the balls in the air on her own, but in the context of this particular interview she was saying that all working mums relate to the juggling that goes on when you care about being with your kids. Credit to her for that, anyway, a lot of mums in her position don't work and don't mind their kids either. The Beckhams have always been unusual in that respect for people who could easily afford otherwise. Whatever other help they have, its always either one of them or one of their parents that has to be home with the kids.

Anonymous said...

every individual have their own opinion and i respect youre own,mine i cannot judge immediately one's character of a person with a comment like that,i don't know what's happenning at Beckham's house 24/7,i don't want to assumed just because Victoria said that according to tabloid or any article,newspaper,i always believe in a saying,straight from the horses mouth,were not all perfect.

niamh said...

Everyone has a different set of problems.

Maybe a rich, famous working mother's are not the same as yours.

Likewise, yours are probably not the same as a mother in a third world country who has to watch her child die of a treatable disease.

But there you go, whatever you're dealing with is what's important to you at the time. I don't suppose anyone much appreciates having the difficulties in their life belitted on acount of the fact that other people might have it worse.

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