Katherine Heigl Opens up About Heartbreaking Reality of Being a Working Parent: ‘I Never Saw That Baby’

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it or how many kids you have or how much you love your job — being a working parent is hard, full stop. It’s hard when they start a new daycare or school, it’s hard when they get sick, and it’s hard when you have to travel for work and miss whole chunks of time with your kids. Katherine Heigl recently opened up about the latter in a new interview, and it’s a heartbreaking reality that many working moms and dads share.

The Firefly Lane actress is mom to Nancy Leigh “Naleigh” Mi-Eun Kelley, 14, Adalaide Marie Hope Kelley, 10, and Joshua Bishop Kelley, Jr., 5, with husband Josh Kelley. On the Nov. 28 episode of The View, Heigl opened up about the days after adopting Naleigh from South Korea.


“Naleigh came to us at 9 months, and three days later, I got on a plane and went to work in Atlanta. At the time, becoming a new mother, I was just like, ‘I got it, I got it. I can handle this,’” Heigl recalls. “They’ve told us, ‘We can have it all.’ We can have careers and have families. And it’s all going to be great, it’s all going to work out.’”

“I never saw that baby,” she admits, while getting emotional. And who can blame her? That would be so hard.

“I was at work with three triplets who were playing my goddaughter, and I spent more time with them than I did with my new daughter, and she bonded with my husband, of course. He was with her,” the Grey’s Anatomy alum continues. “So, I was always afraid that I had missed that opportunity to really bond with her, and that she didn’t love me.”

Being a working parent means your heart is torn in two between your kids and your career, and it’s something so many people struggle with, especially moms. We’ve all been there, feeling like we are missing out on our kids’ lives. Luckily, kids are resilient, and her mom’s time away doesn’t seem to have affected Naleigh as she smiles at her mom from the audience.

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During the interview, Heigl also addressed whether she would encourage a modeling career for her kids.

“You know, no. I wouldn’t do what my mother did for me,” Heigl said about if she would encourage her kids to get into modeling she did as a kid. “She schlepped me all over the city. I mean, we were taking subways, we were hoofing it, we took the train into Grand Central, and went from one side of the city to the other side for Go Sees and auditions and all this stuff.”


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One thing she is working on? Talking to her daughters about race. On an episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show in Dec. 2020, Heigl talked about her conversations with Naleigh, who is of Korean descent, and Adalaide, who is Black.

“I didn’t know how to have this conversation with Adalaide or Naleigh,” Heigl said. “I didn’t know how to say there will be people in this world that don’t like you simply because of the color of your skin. I just didn’t know how to say that because my job as their mother is to build up their self-esteem and encourage self-confidence. And I just thought, ‘I’m going to take a piece of their soul with this.’”


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She also shares updates about her kids periodically. When they started school in August, she wrote a funny post about the bittersweet feeling of sending her kids away.

“Well it’s that time of year again. Back to school for these two and off to kindergarten for my last and final baby,” she said. “I feel funny. Like maybe I might start crying. Or maybe I’ll just run around the house for the next seven hours intermittently yelling FREEDOM!!! We’ll see. 😏❤️” Ah, so true!

Moms all deserve a little grace, whether they are going back to work soon after having a baby, are worried about bonding with their little one, or any of the other numerous things they face every day. You can’t have it all, but you can do you best, and your kids will love you no matter what!

Before you go, check out these celebrities who have opened up about completing their families through adoption.

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