Fans of TODAY will be thrilled to know Hoda Kotb is returning to the show on September 3, 2019. The always-smiling host spent the last four months on maternity leave after the adoption of her second daughter, Hope Catherine, with boyfriend Joel Schiffman.
Although they’ve been having a great time with both of their daughters, including two-and-a-half year old Haley Joy, Kotb wants to make one thing very clear: Maternity leave is not a vacation, even if it does include plenty of trips to the beach.
“I worked harder on maternity leave than I did at work,” she told People. “You’re up at the crack of dawn, and you’re up all hours. Stay-at-home moms should be called work-at-home moms.” Can we get an amen? Sure, she might be posting adorable photos of the family having fun in the sun, but Kotb knows it’s still work — and that it’s “the best work.”
The morning show host also acknowledges how lucky she is to be given so much time with her family, something she clearly doesn’t take for granted. “I know I come from a place of incredible fortune and have taken a maternity leave that is longer than most people are allowed to take,” Kotb admitted. “I’m on-my-knees grateful for that, because it matters to me. It’s not something everybody can do.”
Kotb wants to encourage more moms to take as much time as they possibly can with their new babies. Women often feel pressured to rush back into work sooner than necessary in order to avoid being looked down on. “If more women are taking the allotted time, then other women aren’t going to look at them funny,” Kotb explained. “I’m sure every woman wants to do it and can’t.”
As much as she enjoyed her time away, Kotb is excited to get back into the studio with her co-hosts. She called into the show this week and told them, “I’m not going to lie, this probably has been the best summer of my entire life with these two kids. I’ve loved every second of it. But you know what else I’m going to love? Coming back to you guys.” She’s clearly surrounded by a lot of amazing people at home and work.
We can’t wait to see her back on our screens on a regular basis, too!