• Jacinda Adern returned to work in Wellington after maternity leave in August. (Getty Images AsiaPac)
If Jacinda Ardern can take her child to the UN General Assembly, I'm not going to feel so guilty about taking my toddler to cafes.
Caitlin Chang

25 Sep 2018 - 10:50 AM  UPDATED 25 Sep 2018 - 10:54 AM

When you've got a newborn baby, sometimes just having a shower is cause for celebration, so hats off to Jacinda Ardern for heading to a summit of world leaders with three-month-old baby Neve in tow.

The New Zealand Prime Minister made history on Monday night being the first female leader to attend the United Nations general assembly meeting with a child. Ardern gave a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit in New York while her partner Clarke Gayford held Neve on his lap.

During this UN visit, Gayford shared a picture of Neve's UN identification. "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," he wrote. 

Ardern has been open and honest about how she has made it work since returning to work six weeks after Neve Te Aroha's birth on June 21. "I’m privileged, I’m very very lucky,” Ardern told radio New Zealand in August. "I have a partner who can be there alongside me, who’s taking up a huge part of that joint responsibility because he’s a parent too, he’s not a babysitter.

"I also have the ability to have [Neve] with me [at work] so that means that I'm privileged and I'm lucky, a lot of women don't have that choice."

From Greens MP Larissa Waters breastfeeding in parliament in 2016 to US Senator Tammy Duckworth voting with her  baby on the Senate floor, seeing how these new mothers juggle parenthood with their work can only be a good thing. 

Ardern's openness about her life as a new parent is refreshing. The reality is, working mothers don't stop being parents when they return to work—they're hiding in bathrooms to pump breast milk, juggling child care pick ups and operating zombie-like on months of broken sleep. 

Working mothers shouldn't feel embarrassed or guilty about having to sometimes bring their home life to work. So next time you feel sheepish about having to leave work early to pick up a sick child, ask yourself: what would Jacinda do? 

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