Mindy Kaling's 2 Kids: Everything She's Said About Parenting

·6 min read
mindy-kaling.jpg
mindy-kaling.jpg

Mindy Kaling/Instagram

Actress, writer and comedian Mindy Kaling has her hands full as a mother of two kids.

Since the surprise announcement of her first pregnancy in 2017, Kaling, who has never revealed the identity of the father of her children, has been busy keeping up with her little ones. However, she does have help raising daughter Katherine Swati, 4, and son Spencer Avu, 23 months, telling PEOPLE in 2021 that "it absolutely takes a village." That village includes her nanny, her father Avu, and none other than Reese Witherspoon, whom Kaling has lauded as "a great source of parenting advice."

In her 2020 essay collection, Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes), Kaling noted how her relationship with her mother, who passed away in 2012, influenced how she chose to raise Katherine and Spencer. "I think that it finally dawned on me that I have a child who will never know her grandmother, the person who was the closest to me in the world," she wrote. "I realized the one thing that would bridge all three of our lives was our faith, this intangible thing that had been passed on to me and that I would now pass on to my daughter."

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Since their births, Kaling has kept both Katherine and Spencer's faces out of the spotlight. "I feel like I might as well wait until they get old enough so they can tell me if they want to be part of my social media or not," Kaling told PEOPLE exclusively. However, that doesn't mean that actually sticking to her plan is easy. "I'm like any parent where I'm proud of the things they do," she explained. "I think they're so cute, and of course, I want other people to see it."

Learn all about Katherine and Spencer below.

Katherine Swati Kaling, 4

Katherine Kaling
Katherine Kaling

Mindy Kaling Instagram

Kaling welcomed daughter Katherine Swati on Dec. 15, 2017, in Los Angeles. Katherine, who goes by the nickname Kit, was named after American actress Katherine Hepburn and Kaling's late mother, Swati, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012.

Though Kaling likes to keep details of her children's lives private, she has shared some details about Kit's playful personality. "I didn't know how much bribery there was to being a parent," she joked in a 2019 appearance on The Ellen Show. "Everytime I see her, she's like Tony Soprano. She's like in the mob, she's smart."

Later, the actress noted that she hasn't seen much of herself in her daughter's personality. "I was a very shy, diffident kid who was really suspicious of people and new situations," she told PEOPLE. "And she is not at all. She's very chatty," adding that Kit had no problem trick-or-treating at strangers' houses on Halloween.

Katherine Kaling
Katherine Kaling

Mindy Kaling Instagram

Kaling also shared that Kit "loves physical activity," and is "a real tomboy." In one adorable Instagram post, Kaling shared that Kit refused to take off her Kobe Bryant jersey for ballet class, leading her to rock the jersey over her tutu and tights. "I couldn't be happier with her being into Kobe and the Lakers as a big Lakers fan myself," Kaling told PEOPLE exclusively.

Kit has also taken to the role of big sis to her younger brother Spencer, but Kaling admitted it took some time for her to adjust.

"The 4-year-old is a little bit of a tattle tale," the actress said during an appearance on Today. "I'm excited because she was a little indifferent to her younger brother and now he's really useful to her because she can be like, 'Mom, he ate a pretzel off the floor. Get him in trouble!' "

"I'm like, 'It's okay. We don't have to narc on our little brother. He's not hurting anyone that he's eating the pretzel off the floor,' " Kaling joked.

Katherine and Spencer Kaling
Katherine and Spencer Kaling

Mindy Kaling Instagram

Aside from her funny mom, Kit has the coolest godfather ever in Kaling's Office costar and best friend B.J. Novak, who helps create family traditions for Kaling and her children by dressing up as Santa Claus every Christmas.

And while fans have long speculated that Novak could be the father of Kaling's children, the actress told Marie Claire in August 2022 that the speculation "doesn't bother" her.

"He's the godparent to both my kids — and they have such a great relationship — and so far [the rumors haven't] affected my happiness at all, it hasn't affected my kids or BJ," she shared.

Novak has shown that he's a dedicated godfather. On Aug. 28, 2022, he joined Kaling and Kit on a visit to the Griffith Observatory in L.A. Kit, who wore black pajama pants adorned with yellow stars and crescent moons, came dressed for the occasion.

Kaling posted a few photos on Instagram of the trio's late-night outing. One photo showed Novak holding his goddaughter as she pointed to something in the sky.

"My four year old had the best night of her life at our star party + Saturn spotting," The Mindy Project star captioned the image carousel. "Thank you @bjnovak for sharing your passion for astronomy."

Spencer Avu Kaling, 23 months

Spencer Kaling
Spencer Kaling

Mindy Kaling Instagram

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaling was able to hide her entire second pregnancy. In an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in October 2020, she made the surprise announcement that she had given birth to a boy, Spencer Avu, in Los Angeles a month earlier on Sept. 3. Spencer, who occasionally goes by the nickname Spike, was named after actor Spencer Tracy and Kaling's father, Avu, whom the actress has called "the hero of my family."

Mindy Kaling Family
Mindy Kaling Family

Mindy Kaling Instagram

"I had Spencer during Covid and it was a strange isolated time, but the instant I saw him I knew he would make everything better," Kaling shared in a sweet Instagram post for Spencer's first birthday. "If you happen to make eye contact with Spencer, he lights up like you are old war buddies and he makes a beeline to you."

In PEOPLE's 2022 Beautiful Issue, Kaling opened up about Spencer's budding personality. "He's so full of joy and he's not neurotic," she said. "He's not anxious at all. He's just a boy who loves trucks and tires."

Kaling added that a classic childhood game often intentionally crashes his toy cars and trucks. "My son will take one of his trucks and he'll just like throw it across the room or hit someone in the head with it," she explained. "It doesn't hurt and he'll go, 'Uh oh,' like it was a mistake and not something he did on purpose."