It's a commonly accepted fact that everything changes when you have a baby. So when Mindy Kaling welcomed her first child, a daughter named Katherine, in December 2017, it impacted the way she approached life in a major way. In a recent interview with Bustle, Kaling says motherhood made her think about her career differently, and it sounds like a meaningful change in perspective.
"Now there’s this little person that I want to spend so much time with at home, it just makes the projects that I do — they really have to matter," Kaling explains, speaking over the phone in January. "I don’t want to do things just because. It has to be a lot more significant."
And according to Kaling, this shift in her thinking — which she calls "a really valuable thing" — has made her realize that this is actually the approach she should've taken from the start with her career. "I sort of feel like I want everything to be something that I’m incredibly proud of and that is truly worth me not being with my child," she says. And for Kaling, most recently this means writing and starring in Late Night, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festive, alongside Emma Thompson, as well as producing Hulu's take on Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Now that Kaling knows what balancing her career with being a mom is like, she's partnering with Protein One for a series of videos on motherhood moments that she says give her an opportunity to talk about this new stage in her life.
"I haven’t really done anything or talked about being a new mom in any kind of public way, so it was really, really fun," Kaling says of the campaign. She deems the ads "super funny" and "observational" about her experience with motherhood.
But Kaling hasn't always been this open about parenthood. In fact, she kept quiet about Katherine's birth in 2017 until she hinted at it by sharing a mother-daughter photo of Wilma and Pebbles from The Flintstones in honor of the holiday season, and later showing off Katherine's glamorous baby stroller — and even now, she still hasn't revealed who her father is (and, of course, it's entirely her own decision when and if to make that info public). Since then, she's shared stories about Katherine here and there, but it seems that the Protein One campaign has given her the opportunity to open up even more.
Overall, Kaling describes her first year of motherhood as a "series of fleeting adorable moments from your children that you don’t photograph enough and commit to memory enough," but it seems like she's shared plenty of sweet times with Katherine, especially now that the baby has turned 1. And when it comes to her daughter's personality, Kaling described her as "a real boundary pusher."
"She really likes to test the limits of what will be acceptable or not when we’re giving her food," the Mindy Project star explains. "She’ll drop it on the floor and look me dead in the eye when she does it for my reaction. I’m like, low-key worried about the future, but for right now it’s a very funny thing to have a baby who’s testing you."
And although little Katherine isn't too into watching TV just yet, her mom hopes that she'll discover her work as she grows and want to discuss. "Certain things, like Inside Out, I’m hoping will appeal to her when she’s younger," Kaling says. "I’m so proud of that project and I’m so excited for her to watch that and talk to me about that."
Now that Katherine has caused Kaling to be even more conscious about the impact her projects have, it seems safe to say that there will be plenty of shows and movies like Inside Out they can bond over as Katherine gets older. After all, there's no way she can avoid giggling over a character like Kaling's Disgust.