Mindy Kaling Says She Doesn't Recommend 'Secret Pregnancy' During a Pandemic: 'I Learned a Lot from It'
The actress discussed parenting during the pandemic with Dr. Robin Berman, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and author of Permission to Parent, for the #WOW21 event
Mindy Kaling is sharing what philosophies inspire her own parenting style.
Kaling — who is mom to 3-year-old daughter Katherine "Kit" Swati and 8-month-old son Spencer — appeared at the #WOW2021 event Thursday for a conversation with UCLA associate professor of psychiatry Dr. Robin Berman.
"It has been wonderful," Kaling, 41, told Berman of motherhood, adding, "I don't know if I recommend everyone having a secret pregnancy during a worldwide pandemic, but I will say I learned a lot from it. Definitely like a once in a lifetime type of thing."
In answer to Berman's question about what inspires her own parenting style, Kaling said that she's "inspired by parenting where the parents don't scream. If you can not scream at your children, I think you're a good parent."
"To me, people who do not blow their top and also can stay on a consistent message. That to me — I'm the most impressed by those people," the actress said.
Later in the conversation, Kaling said that so far, the most difficult part of parenting has been not trying to "eliminate all risk for my children."
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"My parents were immigrants, and they both worked, and they had a different kind of more immediate fear, which is like 'Okay, we've got to put food on the table, build our careers over again,' ... I sometimes try to summon that feeling that my parents had, which is like, if I could just extricate myself a little bit from this, and allow them to experience risk, I think that would be the best for them. "
"Being a single mom is not for everyone," Kaling said, adding that she is "only able to do it" because she waited until she was able to have resources like a full-time nanny. She also noted that her dad is retired and able to help out with Kit and Spencer.
"So we have this like little strange little house of like intergenerational, interracial people that are coming in and out to take care of everything," she said.
"I feel my life is so rich," she continued, explaining that she is able to relive moments from her own childhood through her children's experiences — which has in turn impacted her work. "If anything, [parenthood] has given me this flooding of memories of my childhood, I feel like I'm able to write even more. ... That has been one of the most unexpected pleasures of having children, is being able to tap back into my own youth."
PEOPLE Editor-in-Chief Dan Wakeford also appeared at the #WOW21 event — which included panelists in conversation to end the stigma, blame and shame of mental illness — and spoke about using media as a force for good.
Wakeford shared during the event that when he started as editor-in-chief, he thought about what he could do to make a difference. Inspired by loved ones who struggled with mental illness, Wakeford launched PEOPLE's "Let's Talk About It" campaign. "PEOPLE has always been an authentically positive brand that has brought ... positive change to the world," he said.
If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.