New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been praised for how she’s led her country during the COVID-19 pandemic — but even she becomes powerless when it comes time to put a toddler to bed.
A clip of Ardern’s 3-year-old daughter, Neve, interrupting her during a Facebook
livestream to the nation on Monday has struck a chord with parents around the world who have also struggled to work form home and take care of their kids.
Ardern was actually giving her country a live update on the country’s COVID-19 response and pandemic-related restrictions when, from off camera, viewers could hear Neve calling “Mummy” at the roughly 2:50 mark.
“You’re meant to be in bed, darling,” Ardern responded, which you can see at the 2:59 mark. “Pop back to bed, I’ll come and see you in a second.”
Ardern then turned and apologized to viewers, and offered some self-deprecating humor: “Well, that was a bedtime fail, wasn’t it?”
She added, “Does anyone else have kids escape like three, four times after bedtime?”
And then later in the eight-minute stream, Neve returned. “I’m sorry, darling, it is taking so long,” Ardern responded, before ending the livestream.
Watch a clip here:
While plenty of people debated her COVID restrictions for the country in the comments and on Twitter
there were also many who acknowledged how many hats working parents have to wear. “I love how she shows the world what it really is like for women in professional jobs who also have a family,” tweeted one. “She is a parent first and a solid political leader. She is ushering in a new way to operate professionally and unapologetic.”
This harks back to the infamous March 2017 case of the “BBC dad,” when political science professor Robert Kelly’s live BBC Skype interview was crashed by his two children.
Plenty of parents were able to sympathize at the time — after all, the only predictable thing about kids is that they are unpredictable. But as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many parents to work from home, the #wfhproblems of trying to do remote work while keeping an eye on kids — many whom were struggling with doing remote schooling, as well — became even more universal.
And this has been especially burdensome on working moms, forcing many women to leave the workforce. As the pandemic erupted in the spring of 2020, roughly 3.5 million mothers with school-age children either lost jobs, took leaves of absence or left the labor market altogether, according to an analysis by the Census Bureau. And one in five working adults said the reason they stopped working “was because COVID-19 disrupted their childcare arrangements,” according to an August 2020 report published by the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve.