The Today host spent time in Nashville, Tennessee, this week for 2017 CMT Music Awards, taking her away from the baby girl she welcomed through adoption in February.
“We went away for one night when we were in Bermuda for a shoot there, so this is my second time away,” Kotb, 52, told E! News. “It is a little weird I have to say.”
Her cohost Kathie Lee Gifford was quick to remind her of the plus side: “But you do get a good night’s sleep!”
“You finally sleep, and it’s weird,” Kotb agreed. “I feel a little guilty saying that.”
“She is working on fumes and doing such an awesome job,” Gifford said. “I’m really proud of you, Hoda Woman — Hoda Mama now!”
While announcing the performance of the year category, Kotb raised a glass of red wine and said, “Here’s to my baby.”
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Kotb recently celebrated her four-year anniversary with her boyfriend Joel Schiffman, marking the occasion with a sweet photo of the two cuddling their daughter at the beach.
“Joel and I celebrated four years,” Hoda explained. “Life flies by. It’s so funny because you spend so much of your life wondering, ‘When is it going to happen?’ If ever. Sometimes in my life, I thought it was already happening — like the most that could ever happen was happening. I was happy and grateful, and then this happened.”
“It just reminded me that work is work, and life is life,” she added.
FROM PEN: What Hoda Kotb’s Mom Taught Her is the Same Thing She Wants to Pass on to Daughter Haley Joy
Kotb moved in with financier Schiffman last fall — at which point she broached the idea of adopting together.
“I was afraid to even say it out loud, because then it felt so real,” Kotb told PEOPLE in March shortly after revealing her exciting adoption news.
“I said, “Think about it for a day or a week or whatever,’ ” she explained. “And he said, ‘I don’t need a day. Let’s get this journey going.’ At that point I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst.”
Kotb worked with a licensed New York adoption agency and to simplify the process, she left Schiffman’s name off — though she insists “Haley will call him Dad.” Within a matter of months, she finalized the adoption of baby Haley, who was born on Valentine’s Day.