Beyond being everyone's favorite funnywoman and one of the world's most adored celebrity moms, Mindy Kaling is also super real about new motherhood. Ever since the arrival of her daughter — Katherine Swati — in December 2017, the new mom has been earning new fans everywhere for her down-to-earth and honest approach to what life has been like, both personally and in her booming career, with a baby in tow.
Kaling has stolen the hearts of countless fans who have followed her career since her days on The Office and into her own hilarious series on Hulu, The Mindy Project. And since becoming a mom last year — along with her roles in movies such as A Wrinkle In Time and Ocean's 8 out all in one year, plus her new show, Champions, on NBC — the 39-year-old actress has gained an ever larger and devoted fan following. Not too shabby if you ask me.
But what many of her fans have come to love about Kaling, as of late, is her ultra down-to-earth approach to life and parenting in an imperfect world. From photographing her breast pump in the corner of her hotel suite to noting that her daughter may one day be mad at her for keeping the infant's photo off social media in effort to protect her privacy, Kaling's never been more lovable and appealing.
With all that said, here are some of the star's most relatable motherhood moments so far.
1. When She Encouraged Others To Go With The Flow
Kaling could have been worried about having a non-traditional family when she took Katherine home from the hospital solo (she has remained mum on the subject of the baby's father so far, because, really, it's no one else's business). But as she explained at the commencement speech she gave at Dartmouth College, her alma mater, everyone's life path is different. According to the university, she said:
Don’t be scared if you don’t do things in the right order. I didn’t think I’d have a child before I got married, but hey, it turned out that way, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I didn’t think I’d have dessert before breakfast today, but hey, it turned out that way and I wouldn’t change a thing. If you have a checklist, good for you. Structured ambition can sometimes be motivating. But...feel free to let it go. Yes, my culminating advice from my speech is a song from...Frozen.
2. When She Joked About This Surprising Parenting Perk
As any parent knows, crossing over from answering mostly to yourself to being responsible for another human life can be a tough transition. But to her credit, Kaling clearly has emerged with her sense of humor intact. For example, in an interview with TODAY before she welcomed her daughter, Kaling told host Willie Geist:
It’s so easy to criticize parenting until you’re a parent, so one of the nice things about becoming a parent is that I’ll be able to openly criticize other parenting because I will have a child.
3. When She Enjoyed The Little Moments Of Motherhood
Like most new moms, Kaling is super busy trying to do it all. But in spite of the demands of new motherhood, she's also seen that because babies grow and change so fast, it's important to take a minute to just enjoy it and take in your child's adorableness.
The new mom, in fact, never seems to have had more on her plate with multiple projects — making it all the more special when she gets to just stop for a moment and breathe in the baby cuteness. As she told Entertainment Tonight:
I'm busy right now but when I see her and get her to smile first thing in the morning, oh my god. It's the best feeling.
Like so many of us parents, Kaling clearly wasn't sure what type of mom she would be before having the baby, so it's especially fun to see her falling in love with her little one as baby Katherine grows up, like when she posted teeny wardrobe items from her baby's obviously fashionable closet.
4. When She Got Real About Mom Guilt
Most of us take a while to come to the understanding that, even the most devoted parent, simply can't survive without an occasional break — not to mention the curse of working-mom guilt.
“I've had to learn to release myself from mom guilt at least a couple times a day,” Kaling told InStyle. According to InStyle, Kaling continued in the same interview:
That's been a big one for me. I’m also learning to feel better about asking for help, whether it's from family or hiring help... I love my career and I don't want to make myself feel bad about pursuing both. Just cutting myself some slack has been very helpful.
5. When Her Daughter Hit One Of Her First Huge Milestones
Every new mom remembers the exact moment: That tiny bundle of joy went from being a helpless little peanut in your arms to giving you a glimpse of the small person they will become. It happened for Kaling, too, when her daughter laughed for the first time.
As Kaling told fellow mom, Hoda Kotb, during an interview on TODAY:
Her whole thing now is just constant smiles...she’s incredibly easy to make laugh....I just sing from The Sound of Music for her and she’s cracking up. It’s the best.
And as for whether the comic's daughter will follow in her funny footsteps, personality-wise? Well, you'll just have to wait and see, she added in the same interview with Kotb. “I love looking at her and figuring out who she’s going to be,” she said, according to TODAY. “It’s so much fun!”
6. When She Shared How She Fits In Some "Me Time"
Like all new parents know, it can be hard to find a moment just to yourself. In an interview with SHAPE magazine, Kaling opened up about how she manages to fit in some time to herself with a bit of self-care, explaining to the publication that working out is "a powerful tool" for her "mentally." According to SHAPE, she said:
Working out is a way for me to have mental strength, and now, with a kid, it's also time that I have just for myself and to focus on my body.
7. When She Predicted What Her Daughter's First Word Would Be
With her progeny getting bigger, Kaling's just like every parent in counting down the days until she hears what Katherine's first word or words will be. But of course, being Kaling, she has addressed the issue with her typical humorous zest. As Kaling told SHAPE magazine in a recent interview:
What’s great for me is that my doctor told me that incessant chatter is good for a baby, and I’ve lived my whole life waiting to have a captive audience... So, I spend the days narrating to her. I’m constantly doing voice-over for her, as I did in The Mindy Project. Honestly, I feel like her first words are going to be, "Just stop. Please!"
Whether she's joking about life as a new mom, talking about life in the spotlight, or the importance of addressing unjust political policies such as separating parents and children at the border, Kaling is surely one new mama who is more empowered than ever to do good for her family and be a positive influence out in the world.