‘Meet The Press’ moderator Kristen Welker is embracing a new job AND a sleepless toddler

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Kristen Welker is starting a new role as moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press" — and her 2-year-old daughter, Margot, is going through a sleep regression.

“It’s been a challenge in our household,” Welker tells TODAY.com. “When she wakes up at midnight, (I’m) thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I have a very busy workday, I’m starting a new job.”

“My next thought is, ’This is everything you’ve ever wanted,’” she adds.

After a years-long infertility journey that included multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization, Welker and her husband, Jon Hughes, welcomed their first child with help from a surrogate in June 2021.

“I think when you struggle with infertility, when you really sit with the idea that you may never become a parent when it’s all you’ve ever wanted in life, every single moment of motherhood is a gift and a joy,” Welker reveals.

September marks new beginnings for both Welker and Margot. Earlier this month, the toddler started preschool. The first few drop-offs were “teary,” according to Welker, but on day three, Margot ran right into her classroom.

“She saw her teacher who she adores, and she hopped out of my arms, grabbed her teacher’s hand and said, ‘Bye bye, mama and dada!’” Welker recalls. “It’s one of those moments as a parent where you are filled with pride."

From 'Meet the Press' to Margot's mom

Though Welker’s schedule is changing as she takes over “Meet the Press” on Sept. 17, she knows many things will stay the same. For instance, when Welker gets home from work, Margot will be waiting for her at the front door.

“She’s the first face that I see and it’s the warmest and best feeling,” Welker says. “And the second that I see her precious face, I’m 150% focused on her. Phone goes down and she is the center of everything — as she always is. But think that’s important: When you’re home, you’re focused on family.”

Welker says she uses her 15-minute car commute to “decompress” before turning her full attention to Margot and Hughes.

“I really try to have that be a moment of alone time where I can think about the day that I just had … and how grateful I am for the beautiful family that I get to go home to every night,” she says.

Welker describes her schedule as “unpredictable." Luckily, she has the perfect partner.

“I could not do what I do if I weren’t for John. He is there with me 24/7," she says. “He never wavers. He never gets flustered or frustrated. He is a gift.”

Hughes also has “the most wonderful relationship with Margot,” she says.

“They are two peas. We say that she literally is his twin,” Welker gushes. “She has his face, and she has my heart and feisty spirit.”

As a working parent, Welker says she tries to give herself “grace.” She hopes other working moms and dads will do the same.

“I think about it through the lens of 'I want to make Margot proud. I want her to be proud of me one day,'” Welker shares. “And I want her to go out into the world and to be an active participant in her community and to find her joy.”

More about Margot Lane Welker Hughes

Welker and Hughes welcomed their first child with the help of a surrogate on June 12, 2021.

Welker assisted with the birth by catching Margot.

In an essay for TODAY.com, Welker called their surrogate a “special helper” who became the family’s “hero.”

That same year, Welker opened up to TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb about her love for her baby girl.

“I miss Margot when I put her to bed at night. I sneak into her room just to look at her,” she told Hoda. “John is like, ’She’s sleeping peacefully. Why are you going in there? And I’m like, 'I just want to look at her.’”

Now 2 years old, Margot is “an absolute powerhouse,” Welker tells TODAY.com. “She’s talking and running around and curious about everything.”

She’s also top notch negotiator, according to her mother.

“Every night at bedtime, I say ‘two books, Margot, we’re just reading two books,’” Welker says. “And by the end of every night, we’ve read close to eight, ten books!”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com