Prime Minister having a baby is a big deal

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford now have a baby daughter. This is a big deal to them personally, and it is also a big deal in ways for New Zealand, although it isn’t a big deal in the whole scheme of things.

Not a big deal

One baby born is a very small deal in the whole scheme of things. It’s something that happens to everyone.

Some statistics on births:

  • about 130 million babies born in the world per year (about 356,000 per day)
  • 59,610 births in New Zealand in 2017 (163 per day)
  • about 7200 births in Auckland City per year (about 19 per day)

So one birth is small fry.

A big deal on a personal level

The birth of a child is a very big deal for Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford.

The birth of a child, especially a first child, is one of the most significant events for most parents in their lifetime, if not the biggest deal.

I have experienced three births personally, and these were all a big deal for me, and they still are. My children are my biggest and proudest achievement.

A big deal on a national level

A Prime Minister having a child would be a big deal anywhere in the world, and it certainly is here.

It sends an important signal that having children is normal, and that women can have a child while keeping wider responsibilities and continuing in important jobs.

We can expect top see more of the integration of babies with Parliament. There are several MPs with babies, and Julie Anne Genter is pregnant, but Jacinda’s baby is likely to receive the most attention, probably by far.

Some buts…

But it should be pointed out that Ardern is in a privileged position. Most women don’t have the money or the work flexibility that she has. Ardern says she will continue to work while in ‘maternity leave’ so presumably will continue to be paid her $471,049 annual salary plus many expenses ($9,058 per week before tax).

It has been overhyped by some, especially manic media. That looks certain to continue.

Questions have been asked and will continue to be asked about how Jacinda and Clarke manage the media in relation to having a child. It is a difficult balancing act that will always attract criticism. Some may be justified. Most likely won’t be justified.  The worst is likely to come from people with political motives or political intolerance, a sad reality of politics in New Zealand.

Life will go on

Hopefully the baby will grow up without too many hiccups. Hopefully Jacinda and Clarke will manage their home\/work balance ok.

Hopefully Winston Peters will manage his extended responsibilities as acting Prime Minister ok.

Hopefully Ardern won’t suffer too much from any post-natal issues, and will be able to slot back in fully as Prime Minister after her maternity leave.

The country will keep chugging away, probably with minimal disruption.

And life will go on much as per normal for most of us, if we can manage to avoid the media obsession with celebrity and personal trivia – the birth of a child is a big deal to parents and close family, but most births are meaningless to most of us.

 

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60 Comments

  1. Naming the baby may be a challenge. From my experience it can be a big challenge for anyone.

    Many people have suggested names – it may be difficult to avoid any of the suggested names, and if one or two of these are chosen someone (like the media) will probably make a big thing of it.

    They may have to make up a name to avoid it.

    Reply
    • My baby naming experience…

      Before my first child was born a LOT of research was done. In those days the Internet wasn’t available to help, so it was baby books and considering family names. A short list was debated and decided – x, y and z. Then the waiting game set in.

      When the baby was born the mother looked at it and said ‘it doesn’t look like x, y or z, it will be A. I got to tack on a second name.

      Less research was done for number two, but the outcome was much the same. The decided list was a waste of time.

      So for number three there was little advance discussion and no list. When baby 3 arrived the mum looked at it and said “I don’t know what to call it, you choose”. So I had to come up with something quickly (and have it approved of course). I’m happy with the spur of the moment choice.

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  June 22, 2018

      ‘Winston’ – it’s in the secret NZL First-Labour agreement.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 22, 2018

      The PM’s hungry baby

      Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford were due to make a public appearance today, but have cancelled so that they can rest up.

      A statement from the Prime Minister’s office said both parents were “really well, if not a bit tired”.

      “In fact, the PM has just woken after what sounded like a pretty brief sleep,” a spokesperson said.

      – Stuff

      Oh Gawd! We’re probably gonna get a headline: First Baby has first poo if this keeps up … 😕

      “She tells us nurses have described the baby as ‘very alert and one hungry baby’.”

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 22, 2018

        3 (and I am not making this up) showed us someone buttering toast and putting Marmite on it and pouring a mug of Milo. What a fascinating thing to see.

        3 is having a series of ads presenting changing to 3 news as a big challenge (their word). The ads are long, tedious, show people nobody’s ever heard of agreeing to this big challenge (one was interviewed a year later) as well as doing incredibly uninteresting things in their daily lives…and as they are shown on 3, during 3 news, I really can’t see the point of them.

        Reply
  2. PDB

     /  June 22, 2018

    PG: “It sends an important signal that having children is normal, and that women can have a child while keeping wider responsibilities and continuing in important jobs.”

    Ardern found out she was pregnant BEFORE Winston made her PM – it’s not like she made a conscious decision to have a baby whilst she was in the PM job so it’s unknown if being PM would have influenced her decision to have a child.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  June 22, 2018

      Of course if it was an accident then no planning occurred at all.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 22, 2018

        Yeah, right.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  June 22, 2018

          She knew that she was party leader, so the timing is unlikely to have been chance.

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  June 22, 2018

            They are reporting it as an accidental (surprise) pregnancy so she hardly decided to have a baby then whilst in public office in order to be an example for other women.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  June 22, 2018

              I think that it was to show what a marvellous all-rounder she is. I hope that she isn’t so conceited that she thinks that she will inspire others,although it wouldn’t surprise me, but she must have known what sort of publicity it would garner.

              .Accidental surprise at her age ? Dream on. She must have worked out what causes it at the age of 38. I have heard quite a few people express doubt that this was a surprise or an accident. I don’t believe it for a moment.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  June 23, 2018

              She was already in public office, was party leader and if you think that it was chance, you have a lovely trusting nature, which is more than many people have from remarks that I have heard.

            • PDB

               /  June 23, 2018

              This is the Labour leader we are talking about….the ‘accidental’ govt who can’t organise a piss up at a brewery…

            • Blazer

               /  June 23, 2018

              look at the alternative though…the Nats couldn’t run a …bath… 😉

  3. Patzcuaro

     /  June 22, 2018

    The centre of attention

    Reply
  4. Patzcuaro

     /  June 22, 2018

    It’s never to early to start.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 22, 2018

      There’s not a lot to it, but he’s actually managed to get a good Clarke likeness 👍🏼
      (Yes trav, no need to comment “around” that first phrase 😐)

      Reply
  5. sorethumb

     /  June 22, 2018

    Feckless.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 22, 2018

      Are you? Obvious not Irish then. Irish use a lot of fecks. Feck knows why. They just feckin do. 😕

      Reply
  6. PDB

     /  June 22, 2018

    PG: “A Prime Minister having a child would be a big deal anywhere in the world, and it certainly is here”

    Taking all the emotion out of the situation Ardern did a pretty poor job of PM leading up to the birth with govt MP’s seemingly doing and saying what the like without any discipline or consequences – will actually having the baby make things any better or easier for her?

    She is yet to successfully juggle being PM and looking after a young baby. It wouldn’t surprise me if being with family ultimately becomes more important to her and she either abdicates to Winston or bows out after only one term, especially if her govt/the country continues on its downward trajectory.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 22, 2018

      you may have to change your name to Nostradamus….you make so many predictions…1 must come true.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 22, 2018

      There’s a lot of rubbish talked about women multi-tasking. Nobody can do two things at once when they need equal time and attention.

      The idea that this proves that having children is normal is a straw man argument; who said that it wasn’t ?

      But Ms Ardern may find that she can’t have it all, and she is paid to be PM,. not to be a film star mother, The country needs a fulltime PM. not a part-time one. Either the baby or the country is going to be short-changed here.

      Reply
  7. High Flying Duck

     /  June 22, 2018

    BREAKING NEWS (on the Herald website):

    “New mum snacked on Marmite toast and Milo after birth”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12075623

    Thought it was important enough to post here.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 22, 2018

      Waiting for news of first nappy change here. 😐

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 22, 2018

      I prefer Vegemite…just lost my…vote.

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  June 22, 2018

      From that report Adern’s first words to her child were “welcome to our village wee one” – good to see her PR speak is top notch straight after the pains of birth.

      If the ‘village’ she speaks of is the Labour one then the child is indeed likely to be of sound mind as they have already well and truly filled their quota of village idiots there.

      Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  June 22, 2018

        Grumble, grumble, David Seymour might need some help stealing our holidays.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  June 22, 2018

        I am resigned to the likelihood this whole baby prefers the left one to the right one kind of thing is going to get absolutely sickening & will ultimately cost them the election.

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 22, 2018

        get out of bed on the…far right side…this morning..I see.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  June 22, 2018

          How tacky to repeat that to people. (the village comment) It sounds rehearsed, as if it was said to be repeated as a quote.

          Reply
  8. Patzcuaro

     /  June 22, 2018

    The PM’s baby is a feel good story, it wouldn’t be such big news if she wasn’t PM but it is as it is. But a segment of society cant see past politics, you are not forced to follow the story. Read or watch something else, smile.

    We don’t get a lot of international attention, so it is all good PR and it not costing us anything.

    Reply
  9. Zedd

     /  June 22, 2018

    I hear it has become ‘International News’.. not just ‘world famous in NZ’ 🙂

    Reply
  10. High Flying Duck

     /  June 22, 2018

    more BREAKING NEWS from the Herald big red ticker…

    The PM’s Parents are “full of joy” and “sharing their excitement”.

    Once more, the magnitude of this made me rush to post…
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12075973

    Reply
    • I read that on your recommendation, and that is two minutes of a precious life that I will never get back.

      However, it did remind me of my mother’s response when we had a baby 1000 miles north of her, and suggested she might like to wait till the fuss dies down before travelling all that way: “Ooh no, darlin’, I like to see them before they develop their parents’ bad points.”

      Reply
  11. Corky

     /  June 22, 2018

    Everyone is giving advice to the parents. But what about advice for their baby?

    I would what until baby is about five years old. Then I would say ” kid, get a padlock for your piggy bank.”

    I reckon RIGHT political training should start early in life. 😀

    Reply
  12. PDB

     /  June 22, 2018

    Helen Clark says having a kid is a good career move for Ardern;

    Stuff: (Clark) “”And what we’ve seen through this pregnancy and now the birth of the baby – that image of Jacinda as empathetic, a nice person, someone you want to know, that can only be consolidated by this. So good luck to her.”

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  June 22, 2018

      Will the kudos be enough to save her government?

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  June 22, 2018

        No – I get the impression most people like Ardern as a person but as PM that is a totally different thing altogether.

        Reply
        • Patzcuaro

           /  June 22, 2018

          To be damned by faint praise. To like her personally but she is not qualified to be PM.

          Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 22, 2018

      She’ll need luck. She hasn’t much else going for her. So far it’s full speed towards the cliff for this government. Stupid expectations and policies meeting reality coming up fast.

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  June 22, 2018

        And we still haven’t seen the inevitable taxes they will come up with just before the next election which will hardly be a vote winner.

        I’m not overly impressed by Bridges though – his personality type lacks cut through.

        Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  June 22, 2018

        Luck, how about a wedding just prior to the next election.

        Reply

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