Open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Arden

Ngā mihi nui me te aroha nui, congratulations on your expanding family!

We were so excited to hear your news and plans for the future. Welcoming a baby into your lives is such an exciting and change-filled time. As a working mum, you will also be thinking about how your mum life and your work life will meet and who you will bring in to your village to help you raise your most precious taonga. Because of this, and your role as Prime Minister, your journey as a working mum will no doubt break down those walls around working and being a mum.  Here at PORSE, we know from first-hand experience that with the right understanding about how the brain wires and fires in the early years, and community support (given it takes a village to raise a child) both important roles can be achieved.  

It is great news that Clarke is planning to be the stay-at-home-dad when you return to work. This is a position that many of our dads find themselves in and it is great in today’s age that we can let go of gender stereotypes and realise that what’s best for each baby is simply to be in a loving and connected relationship. We know now from neuroscience findings that the first 1,000 days lays the foundation for a child’s life and, from one working mum to another, I encourage you to have as much time as you can with your baby in the early days.

Like being a Prime Minister, being a mum is a very privileged role. Through the relationship you develop with your baby, in utero and after birth, you are growing connections in your child’s brain. You want those connections to be based on nurturing, love, trust, compassion and empathy. Through creating these good neural connections in your baby’s brain, you lay their foundation for social skills, resilience and the ability to regulate emotions, which is important when they get older! The best way to develop these pathways is through familiar relationships and environment. The ideal person for a baby to seek this relationship from is their mum or dad. 

We’d like to offer our support to you and Clarke in any way we can as part of your village. We offer both Nannies or In-home-Educators, so when you’re ready and your child is ready, you can have another pair of helping hands as part of your whānau in your home or another home away from home in an Educator’s home. 

As New Zealand’s largest and longest home-based ECE provider, our heart is in the right place. We focus on Natural Childcare based on authentic environments, attached one-on-one relationships and real-life experiences, working in partnership with mums and dads and their wider support systems. We love nothing more than seeing children flourish and knowing that we are helping them make positive connections for later in life.

We’d also like to offer you and Clarke free access to our online training tools through our For Life Education & Training company where you can learn more about the importance of the first 1,000 days and how to foster your relationships in the early years. As someone who did this course while I was first pregnant, my eyes have been opened to the privileged role of parenthood and I can now see how my actions in the first 1,000 days set the strong roots for my now five-year-old son to start school with confidence, resilience and a passion for learning.

Finally, from the whole PORSE whānau from Whangarei to Invercargill, and everywhere in between, we wish you all the best for your journey into parenthood.

Cherish these moments – as Dr Suess said “to the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world”.

 

Ngā mihi nui

Kerry Henderson

PORSE General Manager