JACDINA Ardern is expecting a baby in the middle of year.

She also happens to be New Zealand's newly minted Prime Minister.

When she was elected to the top job in October, the Labour Party leader - the youngest at 37 - spent her first day answering questions about her plans for parenthood instead of policy. She rightfully hit back, calling the line of questioning "totally unacceptable" in this day and age.

"It is the woman's decision about when they choose to have children," she told one radio host.

"It should not predetermine whether or not they get the job."

If the reported timelines are correct, she was already pregnant when she was answering those questions.

Being in the family way puts Ardern's personal life back in headlines - but again this trailblazer is paving the way for modern families and putting those with views stuck in the 1950s back in their place.

When announcing her baby news on social media, Ardern said she will "join the many parents who wear two hats" and will take six weeks leave after the birth, then her partner Clarke Gayford would become a stay-at-home dad.

She added that she felt privileged that he could stay at home to look after their child.

It's one for the men's movement everywhere, but also for women who have long had to make a choice between having babies and having a career, or continuing their career and forgoing parenthood - or leaving it so late that the opportunity to have children passes.

While it's generally perceived that stay-at-home dads are becoming more prevalent, it's actually not a common approach in Australia.

In May last year, Australian Institute of Family Studies director, Anne Hollonds, said there were now 75,000 stay-at-home-dad families, accounting for only about 4 per cent of two-parent families around the country.

It's not a lot.

Perhaps it's because men traditionally still earn more than women, or maybe it's down the fact that despite great strides being made, men are still socialised to believe being the breadwinner is their duty. Either way the Ardern news can only be a positive.

Ardern's partner taking on primary parenting duties will go a long way in normalising stay-at-home fatherhood - and not just in a token Mr Mom way.

When I returned to work in 2014, 11 months after having my daughter, my partner became a stay-at-home dad.

It works for us. He was uninspired by his industry and I loved my job so it made sense on many levels - financially and psychologically.

Don't tell my boss but I actually have the easier job coming into the office each day than tending to the needs, whims and wants of a preschooler and keeping the home fires burning.

The Kiwi PM might find the same, too.

Megan Miller is a Herald Sun features writer.



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