In the Zone with Kristi Yamaguchi
The figure skating legend and supermom shares some of her most special moments from her journey as a parent of two.
Since winning the gold and changing history at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games, the U.S. figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi has been makin’ all the right moves and growing not only as an athlete, but also as artist, author and philanthropist and mother to Keara (born 2003) and Emma (born 2005). Kristi is currently partnering with P&G’s Thank You, Mom, a campaign that celebrates athletes and their moms. On top of that, she and her husband, Olympic hockey player Bret Hedican, will both be working in Sochi this coming February.
How does she do it all?! We caught up with this super-mama for some golden mom advice on how she’s balancing her family life like a true champ.
What’s the best advice you ever got from your mom?
As an athlete, (it’s) just that unconditional support and the encouragement to never give up. There were definitely some bumps on the road and challenges and lessons learned, but she always encouraged me to keep going and to keep trying and to not give up on the dream. As a mom, I don’t know if I’ll ever be the mom that she has been and will always be. As far as role models go, she’s been right there for me. The sacrifices that she gave for me and my brother and sister are incredible, and hopefully I can do the same to support the dreams of my daughters.
Even though you haven’t been competing on the ice, you haven’t been slowing down either. What career highlight have you shared with your daughters?
I have a foundation (the Always Dream Foundation) that supports the hopes and dreams of children. Right now we’re focused on early childhood literacy, but in the past we built an all-abilities playground in my hometown, and my girls were very much involved with that. I had them in mind a lot when working with designers on the actual design of playground. They helped with the grand opening, the final touches, planting, bringing sand in for the sand-play area. They really were a helpful part of it, and I liked exposing them to that and making them part of that foundation.
You’ve done some challenging spins and tricks on ice, what are some of your favorite tricks when it comes to parenting?
I have found that the reward system works. I wouldn’t call it bribery. Whether for behavior or reaching a goal, it’s something special. And whether it’s their favorite meal that night or getting to go to frozen yogurt, if there’s a milestone they’re reaching for or need a bit of encouragement with, (the reward system) has been helpful.
If there were a Parenting Olympics, in which field would you get the gold?
It’s working on their schedule, making sure everyone’s going where they need to be and taken care of, that they have snacks, equipment and everything. So it would be trying to be the master of the (family’s) schedule.
Finish this sentence: You know you’re in the Baby Zone when…
Being two years apart… (You’re) timing their naps and making sure each has their basic needs. I remember some of my favorite times was when I was putting my older one down with her naps, and I would sit in a comfy rocker and let her feed in her room, and let the infant nap as well. It could have been chaos, but when it worked out it was great—watching both your kids sleep is always so peaceful.
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