Amy Adams has revealed people told her they wouldn't vote for her as their MP because they felt she should be spending time with her kids.
Adams, National MP for Selwyn, announced on Tuesday she will leave Parliament at the 2020 election, saying she would like to spend more time with her family.
Adams had two children aged eight and 10 when she entered Parliament in 2008. She told The AM Show she felt guilty about missing some of her kids' events due to her work.
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"We feel that very deeply that we're not there doing all of the things mums traditionally want to do, we're not at the swimming sports, we're not at all the PTA meetings.
"Our hearts break when our kids are unhappy and we're not there."
There's a fair amount of societal pressure too, Adams said.
"I've had people say to me that they're not going to vote for me because, what sort of mother am I? I should be at home with my kids. So I think both internally and externally, we get a fair bit of grief."
The AM Show host Duncan Garner was shocked by the revelation, and asked how Adams received that kind of message, either in person or through writing.
"They say it to my face, it absolutely astounded me," Adams said.
"I got it when I was first selected; I've had it at various times during my time in politics. It always is a bit jaw-dropping that people not only think it but have got the chutzpah to come out and say it."
But it hasn't stopped her from staying in politics until now.
"Parliament needs mums. Who wants a Parliament that doesn't reflect the reality of being a mum?"
The former Finance Minister, Environment Minister and Justice Minister, revealed on Tuesday her most difficult day as an MP was when her daughter called her from boarding school, upset that she wasn't getting along with her friends.
"She rang me up late at night, bawling, she was at boarding school, wasn't getting on with her friends, and I felt a million miles from her - it's tough."
Adams has stepped from her spokesperson roles until her departure in 2020 - including Finance spokesperson and Shadow Attorney-General.
Her resignation on Tuesday was followed by National MP for Wairarapa, Alastair Scott, who announced his resignation just 45 minutes later.
National leader Simon Bridges has given Adams' Finance portfolio to National MP Paul Goldsmith, who was the party's Regional and Economic Development portfolio.