Three-year-old’s escape shows us parenting woes are the same, whether you’re a politician or not.
Mums all around the world welcomed Jacinda Ardern into the motherhood club in 2018 when, as New Zealand prime minister, she became the second elected head of government to give birth in office.
Even then, we felt a sense of solidarity with the prime minister. She returned to work six weeks after giving birth, becoming one of the many women juggling motherhood and work. Adding to that partner Clarke Gayford joining the ranks of stay-at-home dad when Ms Ardern’s maternity leave ended. Suddenly, the New Zealand leader became the quintessential modern family.
Then in the height of the COVID-19 crisis in November 2021, the ex-prime minister’s parenting struggles were once again put on display for the whole world when the then-three-year-old Neve interrupts her Facebook Live.
Neve makes her surprise offscreen appearance about three minutes into Ms Ardern’s 8pm (local time) livestream. It’s a situation every parent who has been working from home is all too familiar with. Except of course, they’re probably not the prime minister, updating the nation on decisions made at National Cabinet.
While in the middle of talking to New Zealanders about the country’s COVID-19 response, Ms Ardern suddenly looks offscreen.
“You’re meant to be in bed, darling,” she calls out gently. “It’s bedtime, darling. Pop back to bed. I’ll come and see you in a second.”
Ms Ardern then turns back to the camera with a brief horrified look all work-from-home parents have had at one point or another.
“Sorry everybody,” she continues. “That was a bedtime fail wasn’t it?”
It’s a moment that endeared her to working mums everywhere and one every parent can empathise with. After all, we all know no child ever respects bedtime, whether decreed by a prime minister or not.
Ms Ardern then smoothly returns to her update, before being interrupted again about four minutes later.
“I’m sorry darling, it is taking so long,” she tells the still offscreen Neve, before conceding defeat and concluding her livestream.
“It is well past her bedtime,” she declares.
Toddler 1. Prime Minister 0.
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