“TODAY” co-host Hoda Kotb never thought she would wait until age 52 to have a child.
But now, at age 55 with two little girls, she realizes she did everything right on time.
“That wisdom, patience, stuff we’ve learned along the way — I’m a better parent now than I ever would have been,” said Kotb in an interview with Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski.
Kotb said that when she felt ready, she ran the idea of adopting their first child by her boyfriend Joel Schiffman, who is eight years older than Kotb and has a daughter in law school. She was nervous about his response.
“I told him, ‘if you need a minute to think about it’...but, he said ‘I don’t need a minute,'” Kotb recalled. Joel said yes.
“When someone’s happiness is more important, that’s love. I found the guy,” she said.
When Kotb took her first daughter Haley home two years ago, she fell instantly in love. She said she had found her “why” the second they put Haley into her arms.
Kotb also described a particularly deep moment of connection with Haley while she was on maternity leave from “TODAY.”
“One night, I laid her down in the bed and she looked at me. And for some reason I was staring at her. Eye lock,” said Kotb. “A tear came down, and I remember Haley touching it and saying ‘it’s wet.’ And she looked at me like she was trying to heal me. I don’t know what’s purer in love than this.”
Kotb and Schiffman adopted their second daughter Hope Catherine in April. Kotb initially debated whether or not to return to work after her second maternity leave, but ultimately decided she loved “TODAY” and wanted to show her kids the value of work. She came back to 30 Rock in September.
Brzezinski and Kotb also discussed the “TODAY” co-host’s new book, “I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By,” which contains inspirational quotes by famous authors and figures.
Brzezinski pointed out one of Kotb’s quotes: “Date someone who is a home and an adventure all at once.”
“You want someone you’re safe with, but you want to make sure you’re gonna have some fun in life,” Kotb said.
Kotb doesn’t regret waiting to have Haley with Schiffman, and even encouraged Brzezinski not to rule out adoption for herself.
“I’m 52. I would love that now. I’d do a better job,” said Brzezinski, who has two grown children.
“That’s exactly where I was. If you decided to start again, I was exactly where you were in my life,” replied Kotb.