'Fox & Friends' ' Ainsley Earhardt Opens Up About Balancing Her Career and Motherhood After Divorce

"I have my dream job in the morning and most of that is done when [daughter] Hayden is sleeping, so I'm not missing out on her life," Ainsley Earhardt tells PEOPLE

Ainsley Earhardt
Ainsley Earhardt and her daughter. Photo: Ainsley Earhardt/Instagram

Fox & Friends‘ Ainsley Earhardt has been working at the network for 13 years, but she says she still feels “that pinch-me moment when I walk into work every day.”

“Every time I walk in when I go to work, I look up 5th Avenue and I am so grateful because I can see the park, I see the American flag, and I am just blown away that I ended up with a big job in New York City with my dream of a little girl,” Earhardt, 43, tells PEOPLE.

“And I do think about how my life has changed over the course of the last 13 years. I’m in such a different place now than I was when I got to Fox. It’s all happened there. I mean, the most monumental parts of my life, really, most of them have happened while I’m working at Fox. Wonderful memories. Ups and downs in life, but it’s made me stronger and it’s all happened while I was there,” she shares. “The Fox family has completely embraced me through it all.”

The past year has been a bittersweet one for the Fox News co-host, who finalized her divorce from ex-husband Will Proctor. The pair wed in 2012 and share daughter Hayden, who turns 4 in November.

While Earhardt is grateful their divorce chapter “is closed,” she says she and Proctor are amicable and remain focused on bringing up their little girl together.

“We’re focusing on moving ahead and raising our daughter. We honestly wish each other nothing but the best, and we will remain friends for the rest of our lives because we share this precious, beautiful daughter together. She is our top priority,” says Earhardt, who got pregnant with Hayden three months after suffering a miscarriage. “She is the light of my life.”

Earhardt, who lives near Proctor in New York City, says they are “co-parenting and doing it beautifully. [Hayden] loves her mommy and loves her daddy, and we both adore her.”

A typical day begins with her waking up before the sunrise, co-hosting Fox & Friends and attending a staff meeting. “My life at Fox is amazing. I am one of a few women in this country that gets to wake up America at the national level, and I am so fortunate for that,” she says.

“I love my life beca­­­use I worked so hard to get to New York and this is my dream. So now that I’m here, I truly jam-pack my day,” says Earhardt, who adds, “I feel so fortunate because it’s the best of both worlds.”

Ainsley Earhardt

After she finishes her duties at Fox, Earhardt picks up Hayden from school and they spend the rest of the day together. “I have my dream job in the morning and most of that is done when Hayden is sleeping, so I’m not missing out on her life,” she says.

“I am a single mom, but it works out perfectly. The schedule is wonderful,” says Earhardt, who will be presenting at FOX Nation’s upcoming Patriot Awards on Nov. 6. “It’s great that I am with her all day long. I’m fortunate.”

Living in one of the biggest cities in the world, the South Carolina native says she wants Hayden “to have every opportunity” made available to her — “and this city allows that.” In addition to partaking in a variety of classes, the mother and daughter are very involved in their church.

“I really want that to be a priority in my daughter’s life because my relationship with Christ is the most important thing to me, and I want to raise her in a Christian home. We focus a lot on that,” Earhardt explains.

Although she has support from family, her church community and work colleagues, Earhardt admits that “being a single mom has its challenges.”

“I mean, ask any parent who has their spouse fighting for our country and they’re overseas. It does have its challenges because it’s just me,” she says.

To help offer an “extra set of hands,” Earhardt has a French au pair who lives with her and Hayden.

“It’s wonderful to know she is sleeping in the other bedroom and she’s always there. I get up to go to work early in the morning, so I can’t obviously leave my daughter alone, so she is there. Hayden’s very close with her. She speaks French to Hayden. Hayden’s taken French classes most of her life, so it’s been wonderful to hear their conversations and for Hayden to understand what she’s saying. So that’s actually very helpful. She’s my other set of hands when I just need some help,” she says.

Since her divorce was finalized this year, the Fox personality has opened herself up to the possibility of finding love again. “I have dated a few times and I’ve met some wonderful people,” she says.

But while she’s open to marriage down the road, Earhardt’s current focus is her daughter. “I think right now I want to take a step back and just be with Hayden. We’re having such a fun time together and I cherish my moments with her. And my life is so busy right now with a big job and motherhood,” she says.

Ainsley Earhardt
Ainsley Earhardt and daughter Hayden. Ainsley Earhardt/Instagram

“In many ways my personal life is kind of on hold while I’m helping with my mom and helping with my daughter,” she says, noting that her mother suffered a stroke.

“I would love to find love again and I want to demonstrate a loving relationship for Hayden one day. But I’m not sure when that will be,” she says. “I know that God will put the right man in my life if that’s his will, and he’ll do it in his time.”

Should she meet a life partner in the future, Earhardt says she “definitely would” have more children. “I’ve never said this publicly, but I have frozen my eggs, so I am prepared if I decide to have more children. I had Hayden so late in my life, and I’m in my 40s, so I would be open to that 1,000 percent. If I met someone who had a lot of kids, that would be great. I just love children and I love being a mother, so I won’t rule that out,” she says. “Maybe adopt one day, I’m not sure.”

Whatever is in store in the life seasons to come, Earhardt is leaning on her faith through it all.

“God changed my life,” says Earhardt. “I need him so much. I would say I go to church not because I’m good, but because I need to go. I need to learn to be good because I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve had a lot of failures, but God is just always there to pick me up.”

And while Earhardt is excitedly anticipating what’s next for her and her daughter, she’s happily content with where she’s at in life.

“I would be completely content to stay in this position for the rest of my life,” she says about her role at Fox. “I really have finally found that peace and that happiness.”

Adds Earhardt: “I finally feel free and to know that my goals have been met. I just feel content. I feel at peace for the first time in a long time.”

Fox and Friends airs daily at 6 a.m. ET on Fox News Channel.

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