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Mindy Kaling on realizing her ‘great dream’ of becoming a mom

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So Mini Ways is Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child rearing.

In this episode, Mindy Kaling, the hilarious brain behind shows like The Mindy Project, Never Have I Ever, and, most recently, The Sex Lives of College Girls, shares what brings her some of the greatest “rewards” of her life - watching her children grow up happy.

Kaling first surprised the world with the news that she was having a baby in 2017, and shared she was pregnant again in 2020. The Office alum says she was motivated by “fear and panic” that parenthood wouldn’t happen for her. As a solo parent of Katherine, 4, and Spencer, 1, Kaling shares insight into finding a support system, working from home during the pandemic, and adjusting her routine and expectations. Watch So Mini Ways above for more.

Video Transcript

MINDY KALING: I think of myself as like my kids parent and if I have someone that comes into my life down the line, that would be great. But I don't think it's their responsibility, it's mine. They're just like my blood. I'm not in a place now where I would necessarily want or need someone else to step in as a co-parent.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

MINDY KALING: I became a parent when I was 37. Some professional thing that I had been hoping for had not come through or had been delayed and I just thought, what am I doing? I just got to have a kid. I don't want to wake up and just never be able to.

Because more than writing and creating shows, my great dream in life was always to be a mom, because of my relationship with my mom. I don't wish this on other women in their 30s, but I think I just had a panic where I was like, Oh my God, I got to do this right now. And the reason that made sense to me is because I had, had enough time to basically earn enough money so that I could have childcare when I wanted.

Of course, you could have children without a of money. Millions upon millions of people are doing it every day. But I will say that my amount of free time and happiness is really dependent on the fact that I just waited a little until I had saved.

I'm so blessed because I have a nanny and I have my dad who's really involved in my kids' lives. The baby, he's very low key energy. He feels very like California to me, to be very honest.

And my daughter is a little bit more East Coast and she's really independent. And so, I am a very independent, headstrong person. I'm surprised that it's such a challenge to meet the smaller version of me in my home, but I contend with every day. So, she's less go with the flow, I'll say that.

My daughter was at a Zoom school every day for two hours and after 15 minutes she just was not having it. And of course, as an Asian parent, I was like, oh my God, can the other kids do it for two hours? Why can't she? Do I need to get her a tutor?

About three months into that, I was like, this is too exhausting. I just have to lower my standards. The way that I grew up watching Asian women portrayed on television, deferential, mysterious, not wanting for much, that sucked. What's cool about particularly "College Girls" is that the cast is so diverse, but the leads, they're unafraid.

They're not afraid of sexuality. They're the ones who are excited about sex and not ashamed of it. And I feel like I grew up really repressed thinking about those things and having girls be excited about that, I think is fun. What's nice about writing for South Asian women, East Asian women, is being able to break those stereotypes, so that when my daughter is watching TV and her friends are watching TV, that they don't see the same sort of things that I saw.

Like everybody, life is really hard and there's so many challenges and I feel overextended in almost every direction. One of the reasons I was so excited to partner with AT&T Fiber is that basically at home, I have like three different writers rooms that I am doing and zooming with family from India. And so for me, because I have to wear so many hats, I just need the fast, reliable connection.

And that's why I felt like, oh my God, this is like a lifesaver and so easy to partner with them. I have two kids by myself, so what is the greatest reward? The biggest reward is seeing how happy my children are.

They're just so full of joy and so funny. They have no fear in expressing themselves. I was a really shy, kind of repressed kid and a little bit of that be seen and not heard energy, and they're very heard. So I feel great about that.

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