Savannah Guthrie Returns to Work on 'TODAY,' Explains How Maternity Leave Changed Her


New mom Savannah Guthrie
says she's returning to her TODAY show anchor chair a little more patient, kinder and gentler than before.

The co-anchor has been on maternity leave for the past few months, and Monday marked her first day back to work on the morning show. "I feel basically like myself, but hopefully a little bit better," she said of returning to TODAY as a mother. "Softer. More patient. Kinder. Gentler."

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Guthrie and her husband Mike Feldman welcomed daughter Vale Guthrie Feldman into the world on August 13, and the co-anchor was quick to point out that "like her mom, she is apparently a morning person!" The bundle of joy weighed in at 8 lbs. 5 oz., and measured 19.5 inches long.

"The best part about being on maternity leave is just having the days stretch out in front of me and I have only one thing to do, and that's to take care of this little baby," Guthrie said of her time off. "Even though being a mom is the most challenging thing I've ever tried to do, I've never felt more exhilarated and relaxed and peaceful and joyous. Even on those nights when she's waking up every couple of hours. I just feel thankful."

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The 42-year-old TV personality's leave of absence did have one shocker. "The biggest surprise for me from maternity leave is how completely and totally I've been able to just check out and be consumed by this little baby and by family and what's happening at home," she said. "And I've loved it so much."

While some parents worry how they'll juggle work and caring for their newborn, Guthrie is excited to take what she's learned about being a new mom into the workplace. "I hope that I'm going to take this new found patience and calm and bring it back with me to work and to the craziness of this big and exciting job," she said. "It's changed me in every way. I mean, I have never known a love like the one I have for this little girl. And she makes me want to be a better person."

In other baby news, Two and a Half Men star Ashton Kutcher has been hitting the talk show circuit and can't stop gushing about his new daughter. He even revealed to Conan O'Brien how he and fiancee Mila Kunis came up with the name Wyatt.  "I was like, 'I've got a really dumb idea. What about Wyatt?,'" he recalled. "She goes, 'That’s it.'"