Whitney, we have known each other for so many years. I was just a child when I met you and it is so nice to now both be mothers and friends.
You have two adorable and gorgeous sons, and a full time working mom. Yet, you make it seem so manageable! What impresses me the most is that you managed to breastfeed even with a very intense work schedule and travels. I remember you told me you had to go on a work trip not long after Snowdon’s birth, where you would put the alarm on every two or three hours so your milk supply wouldn’t drop. How did you manage? I mean, most moms, when away from home for a bit, would just enjoy a full night of sleep, and you didn’t give up, even with a very hectic day ahead. Do you have any other anecdotes you would want to share?
Oh, first of all, thank you for such great compliments. Yes, it was an intense time trying to manage breastfeeding after each of my babies. The first Tom Ford store opened in Europe, in Milan, six weeks after my first son, Barron, was born. And then there was the now infamous first women’s show (in which you walked the runway, J ) after my second son, Snowdon, was born. It was heartwrenching being physically away from my little ones, but I was determined for them to only have breast milk and not formula, and went through some great extremes not to let my work schedule affect my milk supply. I would pump milk every three hours, night and day, and try to save what milk I could by packing it in a freezer, as we all know that that pumped milk is like liquid gold. While I pumped in toilets in New Delhi (chic!), and in fitting rooms at the office, the height of my breast-pumping craziness was pumping milk in the bathroom on a private plane with my boss, Tom. I think he must have thought I was insane at the time, but now that he has his own baby, I am sure he understands.
I had dinner at your house a few months ago, and you looked amazing. I know you work out, but how do you find the time between getting the boys ready, taking them to school, and going to work?
Like every working mother, it’s all an extremely delicate balance. I try to exercise (either ballet, pilates or running) at least 3 times a week, as I find I have more energy and am better at my job and a better mother when I take some time to myself to exercise. Mornings are a little crazy trying to get two boys ready and out of the house by 8 (and to look glamorous enough to face Tom Ford in the office every morning). Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who works with me and a terrific nanny, Agnes (aka Mary Poppins), who has been with us for almost 5 years.
I know you take a ballet class, which, looking at you, seems to be very efficient! Do you mind telling us where it is?
I LOVE barre classes, which are popping up a lot around London. I find that they are brilliant for lifting and toning, and also surprisingly provide quite a good cardio workout as well. Barrecore on the Kings Road is terrific for that long, strong, and lean body that we all want! I alternate between Barrecore and the Xtend Barre class at Heartcore, also in Chelsea. Thanks to these classes, I can honestly say I am in better shape than I was before I had kids.
One thing a lot of us like to know is, how did you remain stylish when pregnant? We work in an industry where we have to be impeccable (and sexy!) which is quite a challenge when pregnant. I certainly refused going for maternity clothes, so I went for stretch and high waist. What was your look? Did you give up heels?
I worked up until the day before I gave birth for both of my boys, and did have quite a challenge trying to look good enough for Tom while 9 months pregnant! I, too, went for stretchy and tight. I found that Alaia looked better on me pregnant, as I had new boobs and curves that I don’t normally have, so I wore a lot of Alaia and other tight dresses that featured my cleavage and my bump. I also wore super tight stretch jeans or leggings as my legs were still quite small. I think one of the biggest mistakes that pregnant ladies make is wearing baggy or A-line shapes to try and hide their bump. It ends up looking frumpy and sad. And no way did I give up heels. I even went higher as I needed all of the height I could get!
The other essential for dressing a pregnant body is a great tailor. My tailor, Roland, put stretch panels in some of my favourite jeans so that I could keep the same silhouette while making room for my bump. It also helped me avoid the quite boring and basic maternity jeans. He also altered a lot of clothes that I bought in a bigger size or two to fit my body perfectly so that, like you, I didn’t have to buy ANY maternity clothes.
While pregnant, did you have a beauty regime or pampering time? Or specific workout? If so, any addresses you would like to share?
I was told by my dermatologist to rub pure vitamin E oil on my bump in the morning and at night to avoid stretch marks and, miraculously, this worked. Another great piece of advice I received was not to eat for two!
When I was pregnant with Barron, I had pregnancy massage every week with Bobby at Balance, The Clinic. She is genius and has this pillow contraption that supports your bump and allows you to lie face down. I also had acupuncture there every other week for some of the aches and pains at the end of my pregnancy. Of course, when I was pregnant with my second son, Snowdon, I hardly allowed myself any pampering, as I wanted to spend every waking minute that I wasn’t working with Barron.
Lastly, what would be the best advice you want to give to other working moms to make their lives a tiny bit easier?
I think the most important advice I could give to working moms is to find the right nanny. It needs to be someone you trust with your life, who listens to and respects your wishes and your boundaries. I think it’s also important to work in the most efficient way, i.e. do not leave the office for lunch unless necessary, spend less time in the kitchen gossiping, etc., so that you work efficiently and can leave the office and be with your children as much as possible. Last (but not least), having a great partner makes everything easier and more pleasant.
Thank you Whitney!!
Photos by Peter Hawkings
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