Career

It's back to work for new mum Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - with a little multi-tasking added in to the mix

Things are going to be a little different, our PM acknowledges, but she's happy to be 'multi-tasking like every other parent I've ever met'.

By Karyn Henger

It's back to work for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today, six weeks after giving birth to her baby daughter Neve on June 21.

We've rightly heard little from the PM since she's been on maternity leave. Although we were thoroughly impressed when just 10 days after having her baby she took to Facebook to talk to us about the new Families Package, announced on July 1.

Yesterday she posted a Facebook message saying she was looking forward to coming back:

"A year ago today I became the leader of the Labour Party. Two things stand out - how fast a year can feel even when a huge amount changes, and just how lucky I am. I have the privilege of working alongside amazing people everyday. So to them- thank you and see you soon!"

On Sunday the PM also took to social media to assure us she'd be "hitting the ground running" when she returned - "as I know everyone will expect us to do".

Her first week back will be focused on "furthering our work in the mental health space", environmental issues and trade-related matters, she said. There would be an employment-related announcement.

While she spoke to the camera she rocked baby Neve in her bassinette.

"Life is obviously going to be a little bit different," she acknowledged, nodding in the direction of the bassinette.

Ardern shared that her little family was doing well.

"We're all doing really, really well. We have absolutely no routine to speak of and I can hear a chorus of parents laughing now at the suggestion that you would ever have a routine with a five-week-old baby, but we're doing really well nonetheless."

Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford with little baby Neve the day they took her home from hospital.
Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford with little baby Neve the day they took her home from hospital.

Despite being on leave she has continued her working ritual of reading Parliamentary papers that are delivered to her home twice a week.

"Throughout my time of leave I've had two briefcases a week coming my way on a Tuesday and a Friday, so just making my way through these as I usually do. But with the addition this time of multi-tasking and just doing a little bit of rocking here as I read papers - multi-tasking like every single parent I've ever met so a big shout-out to all of them."

"I love how you make it seem like the work you're doing is nothing more than the rest of the parents in the world do!!!" one person commented on her Facebook page.

"Good luck for your transition back to work," said another, whose sentiments were echoed by many. "I bet it feels like you blinked and six weeks flew by. Hope Neve enjoys her new portfolio of Minister of Cute."

Jacinda Ardern's Minister of Cute, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford
Jacinda Ardern's Minister of Cute, Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford

Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford plans to be a stay-at-home dad and Neve's main caregiver.

He told the NZ Woman's Weekly, "Stay-at-home dads aren't that unusual any more and there's a great network out there. It probably means I'll get to see more of my musician friends during the day. Jacinda and I are trying to work out how to get the balance right between living in Auckland and Wellington. But we're really lucky that Jacinda's got a lovely big office on the ninth floor with its own bathroom. And we're both quite privileged that we've got a couple of mums who are keen to help out."

He says he's been looking forward to being a stay-at-home dad and has even enjoyed being given advice.

"I don't mind people giving advice. I had one lady come up to me the other day, and she said, 'The one thing you need to know is that bananas stain. They stain!' And I was like, 'Fantastic. Good to know.'"