Jacinda Ardern was updating New Zealanders about the country's coronavirus response when her toddler interrupted.
The pandemic has upended work-life balance and its effects extend not only to regular people but also to world leaders. New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, was addressing the nation from her home when her 3-year-old daughter interrupted her during a Facebook livestream in a cute moment. Ardern was updating New Zealanders about the country's coronavirus response when 3-year-old Neve interrupted her mother off-camera. "Mummy?" she can be heard calling Ardern, who turns to her daughter. "You're meant to be in bed, darling," replies Ardern.
It's past her bedtime but Neve persists, and Ardern tells her daughter, "It's bedtime, darling. Pop back to bed, I'll see you in a second," she tells Neve before asking her to go to her grandmother. She then turns to her camera and laughs, "Well, that was a bedtime fail, wasn't it?" The Prime Minister continued addressing the country's coronavirus situation but only for Neve to make a return, apparently complaining about how long her mother was taking with the livestream. "I'm sorry, darling, it is taking so long," Ardern tells her, before announcing that she was ending the livestream. "Anyone else have kids escape 3-4 times after bedtime?" she asks adorably before wrapping it up.
The Prime Minister's parenting struggles struck a chord with parents who have found it hard to balance work and childcare since the start of the pandemic. Lockdown forced parents to work from home, and child-care centers were also closed during the same period, forcing many parents to juggle work and manage their children 24x7 from their homes. This blurring of work and personal lives changed the dynamic of parenting as well, with many forced to take a more hands-on role with regards to homeschooling as well.
As we reported, parents had a newfound respect for teachers after trying to homeschool their kids. One person tweeted, "Observations 2.5 hours into homeschooling 4 kids — teachers need to make more than professional athletes, CEOs, and all of Hollywood combined; Homeschooling will NOT be on our future plan after this is over; Never too early for a drink." It was a sentiment shared by most parents. Shonda Rhimes wrote, "Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week." Another person tweeted, "This pandemic has already revealed that: 1) Schools are so much more than just schools. 2) Many people now realize how tough it is to be a teacher and that teachers are grossly underpaid. 3) Teachers are irreplaceable and essential to learning and education.
Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 16, 2020
While Ardern's little Neve hit the headlines this week, it's not her first time in the spotlight. The New Zealand Prime Minister made history by being the first world leader to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting with her baby, in 2018. Ardern arrived with her then-three-month-old daughter Neve for the meeting and played with her before giving a speech at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, reported The Guardian. Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford held the three-month-old baby on his lap while she gave her speech. When asked about juggling parenthood and the prime ministership, she replied it had “met my expectations.” New Zealand also had rules to cover the costs of a nanny on overseas assignments for ministers and the Prime Minister. However, Ardern paid out of her pocket for Neve's trip at the time. Gayford later shared an image of Neve's security pass which reads "first baby." He then wrote, “I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change. Great yarn for her 21st (birthday).”
America is facing a historic worker shortage in the wake of the pandemic, and lack of access to childcare is one of the prominent issues for it. Poor pay and lack of benefits are the overwhelming reasons for the labor shortage but lack of access to childcare has also stopped many from going to work. "At its core, the problem is that the type of childcare the country needs is simply not affordable for most Americans. There is a clear lack of availability of childcare," said Sachin Shivaram, Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry CEO, in an opinion piece for HTRN News.