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As a co-host on morning news show Fox & Friends, Ainsley Earhardt walks viewers through the stories making headlines each day. But one of the 45-year-old's favorite people to spin a good tale with is her 5-year-old daughter, Hayden, who she can be found curling up with most evenings to read their standard "two regular books and one Jesus book" bedtime story load.
As Fox News Channel celebrates its 25th anniversary on Oct. 7, Earhardt is opening up to Yahoo Life about her life as a mom, sharing that she was offered her role on Fox & Friends while on maternity leave after Hayden's birth, adding an extra hint of excitement to new motherhood.
"I was celebrating a new baby and celebrating a new job," Earhardt recalls. "I am just so grateful and blessed going into the anniversary."
Here, Earhardt discusses how becoming a mom in her 40s shaped her parenting philosophy, what parenting mantras get her through hard days and how she handles mom-shamers.
What is your approach to parenting?
In my house, I just want my home to be an oasis for my daughter. My parents were very strict and my dad was in the military for 20 years and was a coach. While I had wonderful childhood memories, [my parents] were very strict.
I'm strict with Hayden, but I want her to love her life and I want our home to be such a happy place for her. I want her to want to come home. I want her to be with me. I want all the kids at my house and I want to be that oasis — that house that has the good food or the best costumes or the fun playroom. I want her childhood memories to be fun and for her to know I was always there.
My style of parenting is: I waited 40 years to have a baby and I was so anxious to become a mom and I think we just really enjoy being around each other. We're having a blast and I just love being a mom.
What’s something that surprised you about becoming a parent?
Everyone told me, "You don't even understand love until you have a child," and that is true. It's remarkable and I feel like she is a gift from God created with a purpose, and like I was supposed to be her mom.
Something else is how much she is like me as a child. Some of her interests are the same. I loved art and baby dolls and creating new outfits for my baby dolls. She loves all of that. It's so fun to just watch a mini me. And, I get to watch her grow up. Now she's picking out her own clothes and I try just to buy clothes I like because you should see some of these outfits that she puts on.
She really knows what she wants and I tell her all the time she's going to be a lawyer. She can argue.
You're a single mom and your job is demanding. How do you carve out time for yourself?
I try to get work done and get a workout in while she's at school. This year, I have more time to do that because she's in kindergarten.
I thought I'd love it this year with her being in school until 3 — that I'd get so much done — and I am finding that to be true, but I also find that I am putting more on my calendar now, so I need to hold back on that a bit.
I also find that I do miss her during the day. It was a challenge for me when she went back to school. I'm happy for her though: her school is so cute and she loves it. She ended up at a school where she needed to be and it's the best for her personality.
What about mom-shaming or people who judge you for the way you parent? How do you tune that out?
I think you just know you're doing the best you can. It's not easy being a parent, but it's a wonderful experience and you just try hard. I just kind of ignore all of the rest. If they do shame me, I don't really know it. I don't really read what anyone writes about me in the comments on Twitter or Instagram.
I do have a friend where someone recently shamed her and I felt so awful for her because she is super-busy and she's not always at pick-up at school and they were saying, "Where is she?" I was thinking, "You know, she's working. She has so much going on. She has three kids. She is doing the best she can."
I think we just need to support each other and build each other up.
That's good advice. Do you have any other advice for parents?
Enjoy every minute. What's that they say? "The days are long but the years are short?"
You'll have those long days where your child won't go to sleep and you're exhausted and you're trying your hardest not to lose your cool with your child before she goes to sleep, but those days are still worth it. I would much rather have those days than not have days at all.
We tried so hard to get pregnant. I had a miscarriage. And now I have my little Hayden, so I remember that. We just don't know what the future holds and, God willing, we'll all live long lives, but I just embrace every single second with her.
Embrace every single second and know that everything is a season. The good times go by quickly, but the bad times go by quickly, too. Whatever season your child's in, they will grow out of it very quickly, so just enjoy the mess.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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