Hoda Kotb reveals that she received a nasty letter shaming her for becoming a mother later in life
There are a lot of people in this world who get off on putting other people down. For whatever reason, mothers seem to be on the receiving end of this type of brutal criticism much too often, spawning the phrase “mom-shaming.” It goes on in online mommy groups, in-the-flesh, and behind the backs of women who are probably just trying their best. However, due to being in the public eye, celebrities feel the wrath of mom-shamers more often than us normal folk. During Friday’s episode of TODAY, Hoda Kotb shared about one specific incident in which she was trashed for becoming a mother later in life.
“I got a physical letter in the mail… from a woman who wrote, ‘Who do you think you are, having kids at that age?’ ” the 56-year-old, mother to daughters Hope Catherine, 17 months, and Haley Joy, 3½, explained to co-host Jenna Bush-Hager. “I literally read it and thought, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe someone put a stamp on it and sent it.’”
.@hodakotb and @JennaBushHager share their experiences being mom-shamed. pic.twitter.com/WxIUimhbcj
— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) September 18, 2020
Kotb “literally tore it up,” confessing she “felt horrible in that moment, because there is something that bothers you inside about that.”
Instead of taking what the troll said to heart, it dawned upon her that maybe it was one of those “it’s not you, it’s them” sort of situations.
“But then I thought, ‘Who would take a piece of paper and a pen and write that and fold it and put it in the envelope with a stamp and go to the trouble of mailing it?’ It took effort,” she continued.
Bush-Hager interjected, adding “Anybody that would see the way you are with [Haley and Hope] … that stranger that took the time to write something so mean when she doesn’t even know what you’re like as a mother. She’s never seen you hold those little girls. That infuriates me. And I think why it’s so hard is that, as parents, we’re already questioning ourselves constantly.”
“Yes, that’s why it hurts,” Kotb admitted. “Every parent is second guessing. [And] we don’t know. Have you ever been on a plane with your kid crying? You know what that feels like. And anyone who gives you that disdained look either doesn’t have children, doesn’t understand or forgot how hard it is to deal with.”
Bush-Hager also shared about being on the receiving end of mom-shamers after taking an “important” trip to Vietnam with Michelle Obama “to tell these stories of girls that couldn’t go to school.”
“I was on the plane coming home and I felt so inspired and I just ached with the thought of missing my children,” she said. “One person in particular wrote some really mean thing on Instagram, like, ‘How dare you leave your children, your new baby?’ And, ‘Why would you ever do that? You’d think he matters, too.’”
“And I felt this stab in my stomach and I was about to write her back and then I just thought, ‘I don’t want to add shame into shame. I didn’t want a bunch of people piling on. But I will tell you… it hurt. Because of course I miss that little boy with everything that I have, everything I am. But I also thought, I made the decision, which was a hard one: ‘Is it more important to tell these girls’ stories who may not have a voice?’ ”
“I was on that plane thinking ‘God, I’m the worst mom,’ and then somebody says it. So I feel like, let’s just all let go of any of that and support each other as parents because it ain’t easy — no matter where, it’s not easy,” she added.
We are all doing our best. The same energy it takes to tear someone down can easily be used to raise them up. I let parents know that I am praying for them because we all just want to do what is best for our kiddos. I liked what Jenna said, don’t shame w/shame. Thanks for this…
— Diane D G (@ddgndallas) September 18, 2020
Great discussion. Hoda, God gives us our children when He thinks it is time. Age does not matter. The love you give them is what is important. Enjoy your blessings. You both have adorable kiddos. God bless.
— Diane D G (@ddgndallas) September 18, 2020
I think a lot of us needed to hear this conversation. I found out this week that I was being made fun of by some moms at my daughter’s school because I had told them I was having anxiety about sending her back into the classroom. These women are 40 not 14.
— NC 🛍🥿👜 (@lbshakeitforme2) September 18, 2020
who cares what others think and YES it hurts when people do that to anyone so far and as far as we all know you do good
— linda matulin (@mattie419tucson) September 18, 2020
So many women responded on social media, sharing their support as well as their own experiences at the expense of mom-shamers — all of which is a great reminder that we need to be kind to one another and remember that we are all just doing the best we can.