Hoda Kotb: Family is everything and I never thought I’d have my own

Hoda Kotb has been a working newsperson since the 80s but she’s been with the Today show since 2007. As a morning show, Today has crazy hours for its hosts and correspondences. Hoda is also a breast cancer survivor. Those things led Hoda to believe that she might not be a mother. So her definition of family was her parents and siblings, which was fine for Hoda because as she said, “family to me is everything.” Then, in her 50s, she and her now ex-fiancé, Joel Schiffman, adopted two girls. They have Haley, now five, and Catherine, three. And now that she’s blessed with a whole new family of her own, she’s relishing every moment of it. So much so, Hoda said there’s room for more kids if it’s meant to be.

How her weird work hours work for her: Every morning I leave them a note and a map to find the note. I draw cartoons, and then I hide it so they see it before they go to school. Then a lot of the time I’m done with work and can pick them up in the afternoon. We’re eating dinner at 5, in the bath by 6, drying off at 6:30, in the room singing all their songs. It’s over, lights out, click, at 7, and I’m usually out by 7:30 because I have to get up at 3 a.m. I don’t know what I’m going to do when they’re teenagers, but I’ve been digging this weird time for us. I’m on a child’s schedule!

On family: Family to me is everything— and having one of my own is something I never thought I’d have. I always imagined family as my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister. I envisioned it that way until I was 50. Imagine someone saying, ‘Hey, guess what? You’re actually going to have a whole other family.’ It still surprises me! It delights me to know that I have Haley and Hope. They fell asleep on me yesterday after having meltdowns, and I sang to them, and in that moment I was just thinking to myself, ‘I get to feel these things. We get to have this together.’ It blows my mind that I get to have this adorable little family that’s just right for me.

On the end of her relationship: Sometimes relationships evolve. Sometimes perfectly nice people can go their separate ways. Sometimes a relationship ends on your last breath, and sometimes it ends before that, and that’s okay. I don’t regret one day, not one minute, not one second of our time together because it brought me here. I have two incredible children I share with him. And it’s because of Joel that I have Haley and Hope, without question. I think I might have been too afraid to do it alone. That’s not something I love to admit, but it’s true.

She’s open to more kids: It’s definitely in the universe for me. I feel like whatever is meant to be is meant to be. But I know a few things. I have love and time, and we have an open space. Every time I see a child who needs something or read about a child, my heart’s breaking. I’m like, I know if we could invite them into our home just what it would mean. Not just for the child, but for us

[From People]

As a person who got triggered by a lot of ‘mom talk,’ I appreciate that Hoda is able to convey clearly that these are her feelings to her unique experiences. I realize we shouldn’t have to police ourselves so much but there is a line that some celebrities cross between ‘I’m enjoying being a parent’ and ‘you aren’t realized until you’ve had kids.’ If you love being a parent, I’m always happy for you. If you’re happy not being a parent, I am also happy for you. It’s clear Hoda had a good life prior to her daughters, but this was a second half blessing she didn’t expect and she’s grateful.

I loved her story about the weird hours of her job and how it works for her girls’ schedules for now. I think more families should work with the hours they have like that. I’m at my best in the morning, so I tend to pack most of my aggressive parenting before noon. After 5 pm is for movie watching, talking and story-telling because my mom brain clocks out by then. I love Hoda’s note-hunts for the girls. That’s something the girls will remember more than their mother not being there when they woke up. And they get all that time with her after school so it balances out. Maybe it will need to change as the girls get older but families adjust as needed. I also like Hoda’s thoughts on the end of her relationship. Sometimes they don’t work out and it’s fine to just take what was good from them but recognize they weren’t a forever thing.

Photo credit: Instagram and Cover Images

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5 Responses to “Hoda Kotb: Family is everything and I never thought I’d have my own”

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  1. Lens says:

    I wondered why, if she’s so family oriented she waited so long to adopt. Because parenthood is not something that gets easier after fifty. And it’s been my experience it becomes an overwhelming desire for those without children that want them in their late thirties. But she said she was afraid to do it alone so waited until she had a stable partner and that took her while to find . It surprised me because I know more than several acquaintances that once they hit their late thirties they figured okay mr right isn’t here I’m doing this alone. And they don’t have a fraction of the resources Hoda has. But like any woman who settles for a guy because they want babies she found she was fine doing it alone after all. And I love the whole find the note thing. Kinda like an everyday elf in the shelf. Which can get old but like I said she has resources (help)

    • candy says:

      It all depends. In my view, it’s for each individual to decide. She has a lot of resources, which makes it easier to parent after 40 or 50 because you can hire help.

      People who’ve had three children in their thirties might not have a budget for kids in their 50s. But if you’ve never had a child and you’re excited about the adventure, I don’t see a problem with it. She clearly has a lot of energy. I’m in my late 30s and still considering having a child. Would it have been easier in my 20s? Maybe from an actual rearing and chasing standpoint. But I’m in a way better position financially and emotionally now. I’ve also got a good solid partner, which I didn’t have before now. All of these factors work together.

  2. Aurora says:

    She’s obviously enjoying being a mother and is trying to balance work & family, instead of work vs family. I think there’s a right moment for everything (including none), and not everybody reaches it at the same age.
    I don’t want to be superficial, but why are the girls wearing clothes three sizes too big? It makes no sense to buy a whole new wardrobe for a kid by the year, and getting them slighly bigger clothes is smart in terms of sustainability and personal finances. But these cute apples are swaddling in their outfits! Does she intend them to last until high school?