Life as a Politician-Poet-Policy-Analyst-Parent.

It’s 7am in the morning and my kids are still asleep. Suffice to say I am trying to type very quietly. 7am is late for my two kids – they are both early risers and late sleepers – a lot like their mum (!) which is still not quite a notch on their dad who manages on very little sleep at all. I am always amazed at his ability to do his job and take care of us three while often only managing on 3-4 hours sleep (he works shifts).

Becoming a politician-poet-policy-analyst-parent was not quite what either my husband or I had envisaged life might look like for me before the age of 35. Definitely the parent bit, yes, and the policy analyst bit, yes – but the poet bit was something that took both of us by surprise (poetry found me, not the other way round) and the politician bit – well I think my husband is still coming to terms with that.

The truth is it’s bloody hard trying to do it all.

I am the breadwinner in the family. And we need two incomes to survive – especially now that we’re 6 weeks into being first home-owners. We’ve sacrificed a lot to get here and we’re both really conscious of how lucky we are to have made it ‘in’ to Aotearoa’s ever-exclusive home ownership demographic. Which upsets me because owning a home in this country is something that should be an obtainable aspiration for everyone.

So working to maximum capacity to earn the most I can is something I have to do. I don’t have a choice (and I’m happy to do it). And I’m really lucky as there is someone amazing out there who has given me an opportunity to work from home on a contract-basis under her umbrella up until the election.

It is a little scary though looking past 23 September. For the first time in my life I don’t really have a Plan B, as such. I’m giving this election campaign my all, because it needs and deserves my all – I want to see the Green Party in government, regardless of whether or not I’m at the table. I see the Greens as the only party that not only has the policies, but also the culture and processes and integrity in place to genuinely turn things around so that everyday Kiwis don’t have to struggle for the basics. Especially New Zealanders who have care responsibilities, whether that’s for children, elderly parents or other loved ones.

And 23 September just happens to be my 35th birthday – the day I will no longer be – according to a few different ‘official’ definitions – ‘young’. Well I guess it comes for all of us – and I’m looking forward to it. (Although I have to say that from a Pasifika perspective you’re ‘young’ until you’re about 70!) But I do have to admit that I’m starting to wonder what life post-35 holds for me. I’m a believer in what’s meant to happen will happen, but income security for the family is top of my mind. And career satisfaction – and finding something where I feel like I’m making a meaningful contribution – is also key. I’ve never been a person who can just do a ‘job’ and forget about it when I leave.

Anywhoo, watch this space, we’ll see. I can hear stirring upstairs now, so it’s time to flick the switch and reorder my roles for the day: back to being the one thing that will never change, being a parent first xo

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