New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has admitted she feels torn between proving herself to her family as a new mum and running her country to the best of her ability, as she returns to work just six weeks after welcoming her baby daughter.
The 38-year-old politician welcomed her baby girl Neve Te Aroha Ardern-Gayford with partner Clarke at the end of June, giving her just weeks to bond and spend quality time with her tiny tot before returning to her busy schedule.
Now, she’s admitted the responsibility is weighing heavily on her mind and told Sky News: “I’ve been elected to be prime minister: I need to make sure I fulfil the roles and functions that I have but I’m also desperate to prove to my family that I won’t let them down either.”
Meanwhile, she’s also conscious of protecting her daughter’s privacy while living such a high profile life in the spotlight, and added to the programme: “Neve did not choose politics, she’s just been born into it.
“So we do want to try and give her some privacy but at the same time, accept that we live a very public life and that because I want to be a very hands-on mother, that means by default she will be with me a lot.”
The couple have stepped away from classic traditions in many ways and, keen to continue the modern family dynamic, Clarke will be a stay-at-home dad to their young daughter.
Jacinda insisted this is not a new juggling act for a parent, and she’s watched a lot of other mothers manage both work and family life successfully – giving her hope for her own near future.
To mark her return to work, the family trio posed for some heartwarming photos together as they took turns cradling their daughter in their arms. Jacinda looked happy and relaxed at home ahead of her work commitments. While she’s had to battle a lack of sleep in recent weeks, she insisted it’s worth it when it’s your own child.
“It’s disrupted sleep, but still I’ve always had friends and family saying it’s different when it’s your own,” she told the NZ Herald. “Getting up in the night for your own little one is not as hard.”
Asked her biggest surprise about motherhood, she joked: “That a baby can go so long without pooing. There you go. That’s the first thing that came to mind.”
Jacinda announced she would be returning to work in a personal social media video, telling her followers: “A quick hello as we get ready to come back…” She added: “I’m multitasking like every single parent I’ve ever met, so a big shout-out to all of them.”
Neve is the PM’s first child and she weighed in at 3.31kg when she made her way into the world at 4.45pm on Thursday, June 21.
Ardern announced she was pregnant in January, just months after she took office as the country’s third female prime minister. At the time, she said she’d found out about the pregnancy just one week before her Labour Party formed government and that it came as a surprise to her, and her partner, as they believed they would not be able to conceive naturally.
Ardern is one of only a few female leaders to give birth while holding office – the most recent being former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto, who had her daughter in 1990. And, despite not holding political office, Queen Elizabeth II of course welcomed youngest sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward after she acceded to the throne.