11 May 2018

'It's certainly the hardest job I've ever had': Dads weigh in with tips for PM's partner

From Checkpoint, 5:52 pm on 11 May 2018

It's just weeks before Clarke Gayford takes on the job of stay-at-home dad. Hamish Cardwell spoke to other fathers who are in a similar boat and Mr Gayford about his impending new role.

With Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern due to give birth next month, preparations for the new baby are in full swing as the couple settle into their home in Sandringham in Auckland.

Ms Ardern plans to spend six weeks at home after giving birth, before getting back to official duties.

From then, her partner Clarke Gayford - a radio and television broadcaster and fishing show host - will take on the primary caregiver role.

He said he has been receiving tips from all over, including quite a few pointers from members of the public.

"We have a book delivered at least once a week that has a note on it that says 'this is the only book you need to read', and they're all completely different books.

"It's a bit daunting, which ones do you tackle?"

At a weekly meetup for stay-at-home fathers in Wellington, Craig Smith, had some pointed advice.

"Suck it up ... just do it, get on with it."

Another fathers' coffee group member, Derek Milne, was a little more philosophical.

Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he said he had first become a stay-at-home father when his oldest was three months old. Now she was six, and he had another daughter, aged four.

"Enjoy it," he said.

"It's easy to get lost in the minutiae of tantrums and nappy changing ... but look at the big picture and remember to enjoy it because time moves fast and before you know it they will be up and gone."

"It's certainly the hardest job I've ever had. Long hours, tough bosses ... you find out a lot about yourself."

Clarke Gayford

Clarke Gayford Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

You can hear more about New Zealand's stay-at-home fathers on Insight just after the 8am news on Sunday Morning