- Publish Date
- Sunday, 30 September 2018, 10:29AM
New Zealand's "First Bloke" has opened up about the realities of raising Neve at home while mum Jacinda Ardern runs the country.
In an interview with Grazia magazine in the UK, Gayford explained a little bit more about the family routine and what being a parent truly means to him.
The new dad revealed he wheels baby Neve around the parliamentary boardroom to get her to sleep and spoke candidly of the difficulties of raising a newborn, including the lack of sleep.
"You realise you are so in charge of this little bundle – things like remembering to clean behind her ears, you think, 'If I don't do it, no one will!' Then, when you're exhausted, you get those little breakthroughs – a cheeky, gummy smile in the morning and it's a complete reset. That's when I think, 'OK, I can do this,'" Gayford told the magazine.
He doesn't think of himself as a role model for choosing to stay home with Neve. For him, the decision to put his career on hold was a "no brainer" considering what his partner does for a job.
"The cool thing is, I push Neve to and from parliament each day and get all these people on their morning commutes saying good morning – particularly men – who have been stay-at-home dads, too," he says.
"They get really excited talking about how great it was and how it was the best job they've ever had or still currently have."
The cultural shift in New Zealand seems to be happening, slowly but surely.
Last year, about 3 per cent of Kiwi men not in work listed "looking after children" as their main activity.
"You realise you are so in charge of this little bundle – things like remembering to clean behind her ears, you think, 'If I don't do it, no one will!' Then, when you're exhausted, you get those little breakthroughs – a cheeky, gummy smile in the morning and it's a complete reset. That's when I think, 'OK, I can do this.'"
When Gayford accompanied Prime Minister Ardern into the All Blacks dressing room a few weeks ago, after the team had won against Australia, he says the first thing the "big, burly players" wanted to talk about was their children.
"Even their captain was getting so excited about his girls. It was really refreshing. I think the All Blacks are an extension of who we are and there's been a real change in the culture here. So, going in there, having those conversations, made me realise we're in a pretty cool place," Gayford told Grazia.
He does intend to go back to work at some point in the future but is confident that, much like any parent who had the chance to stay home with the children for a period of time, he will miss this time.
"It's so much more than a job. I have no doubt I'll look back on it as the best thing I've ever done. But ask me again once I've had a full night's sleep."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission.