Hoda Kotb has opened up about her fears of ageing and missing out on parenting milestones as she raises her two daughters: Haley Joy, six, and Hope Catherine, four.
The 58-year-old NBC anchor discussed her anxieties about getting older during a recent episode of Bethenny Frankel’s Just B podcast. While speaking to the entrepreneur and former Real Housewives of New York City star, Kotb detailed her approach to parenting as an older mother to young girls.
“I do have it sometimes,” Kotb said, when asked by Frankel if she has “anxiety” about ageing. “My dad died when he was 54, 55. I always think that the foundation he laid down was good for me. It helped me in my life.”
Kotb was a junior in college at Virginia Tech when her late father, Abdel Kotb, died of a heart attack in 1986 at age 51. The Emmy-winning journalist became a first-time mother in 2017 when she adopted her eldest daughter Haley with ex Joel Schiffman. However, Kotb admitted that she “sometimes does the math” when thinking about being present for her daughters getting married or having children of their own.
“I look at my mom, who’s 86, and I think to myself, ‘OK, what’s the difference here between me and her? 30 years. OK, that’s kind of good,’” Kotb said. “So I add 30 to Haley and I add 30 to Hope. And I think to myself, won’t that be spectacular? I can do that.”
The Today host added, “Wouldn’t that be amazing? Do I get to see them get married? Maybe. That would be really good. Or do I get to see them have a child? Maybe. That would be really good.”
While Hoda Kotb admitted that she sometimes has anxiety about watching her daughters grow up, she ultimately decided to not look at the future in a negative way. Rather, she explained how she chooses to focus on how “special” it would be to witness her daughters’ milestones.
“I think about it, but I don’t think about it on the end of, ‘Oh, no, I won’t be able to…’ I would be delighted if all those things were possible, and I think that would be special,” she said.
Kotb then recalled writing her mother’s age minus her age on the glass in the shower one day. “And I looked at the number and I was like,” she shared, clapping her hands. “What if you get that many years? That’s more than I got with my dad.”
Meanwhile, Frankel, 52, opened up about her anxieties of getting older and missing out on moments with her 13-year-old daughter, Bryn. The Skinny Girl founder shared that it’s her daughter who tends to “do the math” on their age gap.
“I watch her make the connection and then I watch her get distracted because it’s anxiety for her,” Frankel told Kotb. “We’re very close. It just keeps getting better, it’s so beautiful.”
Elsewhere during the podcast, Hoda Kotb detailed the moment she learned she was going to become a mother for the first time. In the episode, the Today star shared the text she received from someone named Ashley at the adoption agency after her daughter Haley was born.
The mother of two said that, after she saw the adoption agent’s number displayed on her phone, she took out a yellow pad of paper and wrote the time, 11:55. “This is the moment everything changes,” Kotb recalled thinking. “I knew it.”
“And I took a deep breath and dialed the number, and I said, ‘Ashley?’ and she said two words to me. She said, She’s here.’”
“I don’t know what birth feels like, and I bet it was amazing, but this was really close,” she added.
Hoda Kotb adopted her second child, Hope Catherine, in April 2019. Earlier this year, Hope experienced health complications that caused her to spend time at the hospital. Upon returning to the Today show after a two-week absence, Kotb revealed that her then-three-year-old had been in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“My youngest, Hope, was in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for a little more than a week,” Kotb told Today co-host Savannah Guthrie. “I’m so grateful she’s home. She is back home. I was waiting for that day to come. And we are watching her closely. I’m just so happy.”
The journalist then expressed her gratitude for all those who helped her daughter and provided support for her family during the scary experience.
“You know what I realised too, Savannah? It’s like, when your child is ill, the amount of gratitude you can have for people who helped you out,” she said. “So I’m grateful for the doctors at Weill Cornell, who were amazing and the nurses. And I’m grateful for my family and I’m grateful to friends like you who were there every single day. So I want to say thank you for that. I love you.”
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