Hoda Kotb might just be hearing the pitter-patter of a second pair of baby feet.
“Well, how should I say this? I guess ‘Never say never’ is the right way to put that!” Kotb, 53, told PEOPLE, noting that “everything changed” in her life since she became a parent last year.
“I know who I am now. I’m Haley’s mom, and I think I always was,” she explains. “But if you would have asked me years ago, ‘What are you?’ I probably would have said journalist, first. But now I know who I am.”
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“And I know who we are as a family and I think that means everything to me,” says Kotb, who shares parenting duties with boyfriend Joel Schiffman. “She defines who I am and she also defines priorities and things that matter.”
“She also reminded me that delight comes in small, tiny moments,” adds the mother of one. “You don’t have to plan a big trip to have a good time. You can have it on the living room floor.”
Speaking of trips, Kotb says the duo have traveled to Florida “a couple of times” — and her baby girl was a champ during the rides. “We’ve flown a few times on the plane,” says the longtime journalist. “She’s pretty good! She threw up a few times, but she seems okay.”
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Kotb tells PEOPLE her priorities have shifted “in the most beautiful, magical, delightful way” since welcoming Haley in February 2017, and that while balancing a career and motherhood isn’t easy, it’s worth the hard work.
“Work has ridden sidecar right next to me my whole life, and now it’s time for a baby seat to be here,” she reveals. “I enjoy work and I love it and I put my heart and soul into it when I’m there, but my true heart is with [Haley], all the time now. I love being able to say it out loud, that my time with her is the most important thing — more important than work and more important than anything.”
Kotb continues, “I’m glad I can say that, because probably if this had happened years ago I don’t know that I would say that out loud — just because people judge and think you’re not dedicated to your work. But I’ve learned at this stage in my life I’m dedicated to my work and I love it, but she is No. 1.”