Mindy Kaling Shares The Advice B.J. Novak Gave Her About Parenting Her Daughter Kit
He’s a true blue pal.
Like so many of us, Mindy Kaling is bringing some of her own childhood trauma into her parenting. She remembers seeing herself as “othered” in so many ways as a little girl, and she wants to make sure her 4-year-old daughter Katherine doesn’t feel the same way. Perhaps to a fault. Fortunately for Kaling, her longtime friend B.J. Novak is there to help her in those moments.
This week, Kaling spoke to fellow mom of two Meghan Markle for her Archetypes podcast about their shared experience as latchkey, bookish little girls who didn’t always feel like they fit in. Something that the Never Have I Ever writer has brought into her parenting of 4-year-old daughter Katherine, who was born in December 2017 and son Spencer, who was born in September 2020.
“So much of it too is what we tell our kids,” Kaling explained to Markle. “I grew up always feeling ugly, overweight, othered. And so with my daughter I’m always telling her that she’s beautiful. To the point where my friend B.J. is like ‘You can tell her other compliments.’”
Kaling’s need to tell Katherine she’s beautiful stems from her own insecurities as a child, she went on to explain. “I was always told ‘Oh, you’re smart,’ or I had confidence in my studies and I was like ‘yes, yes of course.’ And it’s funny to realize ‘Oh, I’m focusing too much on this.’ Every morning I’m like ‘You’re so beautiful,’ to the point where that’s not healthy either.”
Novak has been a steady support for Kaling with her two children since she first welcomed Katherine in 2017. As her friend, their godfather, and even Santa Claus despite the fact that Kaling is Hindu and he is Jewish. “Her godfather is B.J. Novak, and he is going to show up and go to our living room, where the tree is, in a Santa costume,” Kaling told Marie Claire in 2020. “Just so you know, we’re Hindu and B.J. is Jewish, so this is, like, cultural appropriation on our part.”
It’s easy enough to allow some childhood trauma to sneak into the way we parent our kids. Which is why it’s such a blessing to have friends who will gently guide you in a different direction. Especially if that friend is B.J. Novak.