Mindy Kaling has always cared deeply about her children’s privacy, but sometimes she can’t help but spill a few details about her three-year-old daughter, Katherine Swati, and her three-month-old son, Spencer Avu.
In a new interview for People that was published on December 16, the mom of two and visionary behind Never Have I Ever, The Mindy Project, and more discussed the inspiration behind her children’s names, as well as what it’s been like raising two kids as a single mom during the coronavirus pandemic.
When you think of celebrity kids’ names, you probably think of Gwyneth Paltrow’s children, Apple and Moses. But Kaling wanted something more “classic.”
“I don’t trust my own judgment with those kinds of names,” she said, revealing that her two kids are named after Hollywood legends Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. “If I name my son River, that connotes a certain kind of person who is very go with the flow, artsy. But what if he’s not like that at all? Will he be furious with me? I just tried to pick classic names that felt like they would have to work really hard to get mad at me about later.”
During COVID-19, the hardest thing about raising her two kids, Kaling says, is keeping them both entertained. “My daughter is going to preschool on Zoom and having sat with her through those Zooms and having gotten the curriculum that I was supposed to be teaching her at home, teachers should get paid, like, a billion dollars a week,” she says. “It’s hard enough to just teach in an effective way, but then to do it with these tiny children and keep them entertained—forget it! I think every mother who works is having the same realization through the pandemic that teachers should get paid, like, six figures.”
As for her son, Kaling notes he’s still in “that pre-baby blob stage,” but she is kind of disappointed by one difference between raising a boy vs. a girl: the clothes.
“As someone who loves baby clothes, the options for boys are really the pits compared to girls,” she says. “With girls, they can be sporty, they can be princess-y, they can be so many different things. But for a boy, you can only dress them like a WASP-y 40-year-old wearing an anchor T-shirt, like Robert Redford in 1972.”
Though Mindy Kaling rarely shares pictures of her kids—and never their faces—we have a feeling baby Spencer will still manage to be one of the best-dressed kids around.