February 13, 2010 02:00 PM

Courtesy Working Mother

When she retired from professional sports, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi envisioned a quiet life with husband Bret Hedican and their two daughters Keara Kiomi, 6, and Emma Yoshiko, 4 — but life hasn’t unfolded quite as she envisioned.

“I never thought I’d still be working this hard in my thirties,” the 38-year-old television personality concedes in a new interview with Working Mother. “I still have an itch.”

Staying busy off the ice comes at a price, however, and more often than not that price is guilt.

Like so many others working moms Kristi struggles to “juggle” the demands of family and career. She adds,

“Sometimes I think I overextend myself because I’m traveling too much and am away from the kids. It’s a fine line to find that balance. These days I make business decisions based on whether something is worth my time away from my kids.”

With that said, Kristi is quick to clarify that she harbors no regrets about the decision to hang up her skates.

“My priorities have changed drastically and I’m lucky I was ready for that,” she points out. “I’d toured with Stars on Ice for 10 years; I was ready to … unpack my suitcase and not pack it for a very long time.”

Click below to read about how Keara and Emma differ.

The couple employ a part-time nanny for 25 hours each week and Kristi says that Bret — who recently retired from the National Hockey League — is good about “pick[ing] up the slack” when she must travel for work, as she will this month while serving as an Olympic correspondent for The Today Show.

When she is home Kristi says she is responsible for getting the girls ready for school, and the couple split kitchen duty. “We’re trying to be a normal family,” she says. “We have dinner together as much as possible.”

Motherhood has made Kristi more cognizant of “how precious life is,” she says. “When I was younger, I was more adventurous … I felt invincible. I was game for everything.”

Since welcoming Keara and Emma, however, Kristi says she has been forced to assess the risks of being reckless. “I don’t want to get injured because then I can’t take care of my kids,” she explains.

“Even getting on an airplane, I’m more conscious of … Like they say, once you have a child, your heart is forever outside your body. I totally understand that now.”

The girls are very much their own people, which came as a surprise to Kristi. “After the first one is born, you think the second one will be the same — but she’s not,” she reveals.

While Keara is “very social, outgoing and adaptable” Kristi says that Emma is “a little shy” and more of a “Mommy’s girl.” She adds,

“Keara is more artistic. She loves imaginary play. Emma has really good athletic ability. She’s physically tough. It will be interesting to see what they choose to do.”

Source: Working Mother

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