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'No one needs to see me pretending it's easy.' Jacinda Ardern on what so many women feel about motherhood.

“Super mum” is a title often thrust upon New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, but she wants us to know it certainly doesn’t always feel that way.

“It’s hard,” the 38-year-old mother to one-year-old Neve told Lisa Wilkinson on The Sunday Project tonight, almost as soon as the question about motherhood left Wilkinson’s lips.

“No-one needs to see anyone pretending it’s easy. Because it’s not. I don’t go around pretending I do everything. Like somehow I’m this wonder woman,” the New Zealand prime minister responded with her signature candour and down-to-earth nature.

And in a world of “perfect mums” on Instagram, it’s a sentiment new mums desperately need to hear. Not often are we treated to such an honest glimpse into the motherhood approach of a public figure. In particular, a mother in politics.

Neve is raised with an all-hands-on-deck approach – her fiance Clarke the primary care giver, and both their families nearby to help when necessary.

Ardern is the first to admit that without that extra help, it would be much harder.

“Because I’m in public office. I have a lot of help,” she said.

“We need to utilise our mums a lot.”

In a few words, she tackled the issue many new mums grapple with. Whether they’re doing enough, whether they’re doing it right, and whether other mums feel the same way.

Her fiance Clarke Gayford proposed over Easter  after seven years together with a ring hidden inside a chocolate egg.

Ardern said it came as a complete surprise while on a hiking trip.

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“If I (had known), I probably wouldn’t have been wearing sweats,” she joked.

“Clarke’s mum put (the engagement ring) into an Easter egg for him to give to me,” she explained, adding that she clocked that it was inside once she “gave it a shake”.

When little Neve arrived last June, they decided Gayford would put his career on hold so he could stay at home with her. Gayford and Neve often accompany Ardern on international visits.

“We weighed it up and we decided that her job was possibly slightly more important. It was always on the cards to work out that way. I’ve always been completely supportive of Jacinda and I believe in what she’s trying to achieve for New Zealand. So, it was easy for me to make that call. There are plenty of males out there that do that,” the dad-of-one told the Australian Women’s Weekly.

“He’s exactly as I expected him to be, completely doting, very dedicated, really patient. I feel they’ve got in-jokes already, I don’t even know how that’s possible, but they do. And he of course will dress Neve, so there are a lot of ‘I heart Dad’ socks and shirts,” Ardern told Woman’s Day.

Speaking to Lisa Wilkinson tonight, she said Neve is growing into a “very, very strong and cheeky” little girl.

When asked about how she feels facing New Zealand’s election next year, she said: “I don’t think I will ever feel a sense of completion, satisfaction, or success, ever. I would rather be ambitious. If not, you are just there for the politics, not the
people.”

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