April 15, 2016 03:45 PM

Waiting to have a baby has its advantages, and if anyone knows that it’s Savannah Guthrie.

The Today co-host gave birth to her first child, daughter Vale, when she was 42, and while she knows there is a lot of stigma and fear attached to having a baby at that age, Guthrie “just felt so blessed during that time,” she told PEOPLE at Room to Grow‘s spring benefit Thursday in New York City.

“I think there are a lot of advantages to being older when you’re a mom,” she adds. “For one thing, a lot of times you’re farther along in your career and you can control your schedule a little bit more. And that makes a huge difference.”

Bryan Anton/Room To Grow

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Having to work early every morning, Guthrie would know. She also hopes she’s “wiser and calmer” than she would have been if she had Vale at a younger age.

“But it’s like anything in life, there are pluses and minuses,” Guthrie, 44, points out. “There are wonderful things about being a young mom and having all that energy. I try to have a lot of energy for Vale because she’s a little firecracker.”

She adds, “There are trade-offs, but I’ve found it to be wonderful. I just found it to be a magical time.”

Vale is 20 months old and is keeping the TV host on her toes. “I’m so blown away by all the things that Vale is doing and learning every day, she’s like a little sponge. You can tell her something once and she remembers it,” Guthrie tells PEOPLE.

“She says, ‘Hot thauce.’ She has a little lisp,” Guthrie says, beaming. “She says so many words, she has a really good vocabulary. When she leaves the room, she now says, ‘I’ll be back.’ “

Guthrie makes it clear that it is not in an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent. “She’s just adorable,” she says.

“She loves to read,” Guthrie shares. “I think her favorite word is ‘again,’ as in, ‘Let’s play hide and seek again.’ ‘Please read that book again.’ “

But her mom doesn’t mind. “She’s just the light of my life,” says Guthrie.

Guthrie loves being involved with Room to Grow, a nonprofit that enriches the lives of babies born into poverty during their critical first three years of development. “I feel so thankful to be able to spend so much time with [Vale] and pour my whole self into her and I love being part of an organization that tries to support moms who want to do the same,” she explains.

— Maggie Parker

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