World News

A baby in parliament: NZ PM on motherhood

By AAP Newswire

Less than a year ago, Jacinda Ardern took on the weight of leading a country and the global fame that came with it.

Now for motherhood.

"I'm seven weeks in. I don't think I can claim to be the knower of all things and a baby whisperer. I'm a new mum and I imagine I'm going to learn a lot of things along the way," New Zealand's prime minister told AAP at the end of her first week back in parliament after six weeks of maternity leave.

"I don't feel like I should be a poster child for anything."

It's fair to say it's been a busy week back in the captain's chair, one laden with a flurry of government announcements, welcomes back, and fierce debate about the state of the economy.

Meanwhile, Ardern's daughter, Neve, has settled into the prime minister's floor of the Beehive government offices.

"(It's) top of my mind: can I be a good politician while also being a good mum? And I believe it's possible, but ask me in three years," Ardern says.

"I, just at the end of every day, have to feel like I did my best for both."

That said, the 38-year-old insists she's got it easier than many new parents and that the logistics have been straight-forward so far.

Partner Clarke Gayford is taking on the role of full-time dad, space has been made for Neve and everything she needs, and the prime minister has a degree of flexibility in her schedule - breaking up her days into three-hour slots to allow for feeding.

"Every parent when they're going back into the workplace makes a bit of an adjustment, and I'll be no different. But in lots of ways I'm also lucky," Ardern says.

"Not everyone has that. I'm in a pretty good position to make this work."

So is there now pressure to set an example for working families?

"I feel that pressure on everything," she replies.

The list that follows includes: proving a complex coalition government can work, living up to the expectations of the progressive movement she leads, doing her best for her country and, now, being the best mother she can be.

"So, you know, pick your guilt," she laughs.

In June, Ardern became the first elected world leader to take maternity leave.

Neve accompanied her mother to a major government announcement on Friday.

The family will takes its first overseas trip together in September to the United Nations in New York.