Dayna Devon, 39, has co-hosted NBC’s Extra for the past 10 years and has served as an entertainment commentator for CNN, MSNBC and The TV Guide Channel. When she’s not on-air, she relishes being home with her plastic surgeon husband Brent Moelleken and their two children, Emmi, 3, and Cole, 2.
Q: Now you have double the responsibilities with two children and a full-time career—how are you handling all of that?
A: This has been tough for me because they are really sad when I leave for work or go out. I think you naturally become extremely focused; when I am home with my children, I am really home with them. I don’t answer my cellphone. I am eye-to-eye with them and make every moment count. We have decided not to socialize during the week, except with the kids or friends with children. On the weekends, my husband and I will still have date nights, but we leave after the kids have gone to bed. For sure, there are victims in all of this—e-mails slip through the cracks, birthday party dates can get messed up and I am not as involved with their school as I would like to be, but I do my best. And I have surrounded myself with people who understand.
Q: What are some of the great lessons you have learned as a mother of two?
A: I am not afraid of the word ‘can’t’ or ‘no’ anymore. I had a hard time with that before. Now I am not afraid to say that I cannot work three nights in a row. Kids naturally prioritize your life. The other day my son cut off the tip of his finger—it was the worst moment of my life—and I was supposed to go to work that day. I didn’t, and I didn’t care if they fired me. [They didn’t.]
Q: I remember you saying how excited your husband was to be a dad first time around—was he equally excited about number two?
A: We have both love having a girl, but deep down inside I think he wanted a boy. So when I got the call from the clinic after our genetic testing with the news we were having a healthy baby boy, he ran screaming through the house. He was jumping up and down and crying—it was such an exciting moment.
Q: Any advice for our pregnant readers?
A: Have a sense of humor about your pregnancy. Try to enjoy the moment. Eat healthy and take care of yourself. I still wish I had done better with my diet. During my second pregnancy I didn’t exercise as much and the pregnancy was more difficult and I think that’s why. And for the new moms—just remember it’s all going to be OK. I remember thinking I wasn’t bonding with my daughter. I was beating myself up that we weren’t connecting and even thought about quitting my job! Knowledge is power. Talk to other moms. Nine out of 10 will probably have experienced what you are going through.
When we last spoke with the “Saturday Night Live” alum (who first appeared in the August/September 2002 Fit Pregnancy), Ana Gasteyer was busy raising her first. Today, Frances Mary, 7, has a little brother, Ulysses, 18 months. Gasteyer, 42, co-stars in the indie feature Dare, which is being released in October.
Q: Are you still a big proponent of women breastfeeding anywhere?
A: Very much so. I think it’s important for all the obvious health reasons for the baby; but it’s healthy for the mom, too. I’ve done it with both kids, though they are so different in regard to personalities and nursing. Ulysses is not as gung-ho, since he’s easily distracted, so I am not sure we will make it for two years.
Q: What’s Frances like?
A: She is enormously confident, outgoing and full of creativity. She also has this incredible ability to follow through. She begins a project and sees it to the end. I’m not sure if this is a nurture or nature thing—but I learn from it all the time. It’s inspiring.
Q: How is it having two kids?
A: It’s actually great that they are so far apart in age; it’s neat to have full advantage of each one's infancy. And having a girl first was totally lucky. She never even batted an eyelash about having the baby around. I am not so sure how it’d go if it were the other way. He’s another character in her show, and she is delighted.
Q: What have you discovered second time around?
A: Take it slow. With Ulysses I went back [to work] way too fast. I was auditioning at five weeks, with my husband driving around the neighborhood with our son in the car seat. It felt like I was unemployed for a long time during my pregnancy, but I was foolish not to have taken a proper leave. When Ulysses was 8 weeks old, I fell during rehearsal and broke my ankle in seven places. I couldn’t go anywhere, so I was with him for five months, basically moving from couch to couch to nurse. It was a message from the universe that I had to slow down.
Q: What’s the best thing about being a mom?
A: For me, it’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in my life. It’s taken me outside of myself and it’s connected me in a different way to humanity. Every day I think about what will make them better, happier people or the world a strong better place. I am very lost in it right now. I feel tremendously lucky.