Today show host Hoda Kotb has opened up about being the target of a mom-shaming letter.
On Friday, the 56-year-old was discussing the rise in parent-shaming amid the coronavirus pandemic with co-host Jenna Bush Hager when she revealed that she once received a letter criticising her for “having kids at that age”.
“I got a physical letter in the mail, a letter that came to my address from a woman who wrote: ‘Who do you think you are having kids at that age?’” Kotb recalled. “I literally read it and I thought: ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe someone put a stamp on it and sent it.’”
According to Kotb, who shares adopted daughters Haley Joy, three, and Hope Catherine, one, with partner Joel Schiffman, the letter, which she tore up, made her feel “horrible in that moment”.
“I felt horrible in that moment because there is something that bothers you inside about that 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?’” Kotb said. “It took effort.”
In response to Kotb’s story, Hager said: “That stranger who took the time to write something so mean, she doesn't even know what you're like as a mother,' Jenna said. '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 agreed.
Early in the show, the hosts discussed how the pandemic has led to an increase in parent-shaming, with Kotb revealing that she’s also experienced criticism over her decision to send her children back to school.
“People ask me: "Hayley's going in person?" And I said: 'Yeah, she's going in person to school.' ‘Oh.’ You kind of feel like you should fill in the blank,” she explained, adding:
“But sometimes I think not saying anything is cool too. Why do you have to engage? Let it go.”