Hayley Wickenheiser: Hockey Star, Olympic Gold Medallist and Super Mom

Filed under: Adoption, Celeb Parents, Amazing Parents, Sports, Celeb News & Interviews

Hayley Wickenheiser has been called the heart and soul of the Canadian Olympic Women's Hockey Team. She's been an integral member since women's hockey was introduced as a medal event at the 1998 Olympics, where the team took silver. They brought home the gold in 2002 and 2006, and with a 2-0 victory over the U.S. team in Vancouver on Thursday, team captain Wickenheiser added one more Olympic gold to her collection. On skates, she's a competition-crushing, stick-wielding powerhouse, and off the ice, she's also a mom. In 2000, she welcomed instant motherhood into her life when she adopted the 3-month-old son of her partner, Tomas Pacina. When she's not defending Olympic titles, Wickenheiser calls Calgary home, where she lives with Tomas and 9-year-old Noah. ParentDish Canada caught up with the Olympic star in Vancouver to talk sleep, discipline and travelling the world with her family.

Q: When you first adopted Noah, what was the biggest surprise about being a parent?

A: The lack of sleep. My son was a preemie and you are just exhausted for the first couple years!

Q: How do you balance parenting and hockey?

A: I'm lucky, I have a lot of help. I have my family, my parents and my partner Tomas, and at different times they take good care of my son and allow me to do what I need to do and it's been great. I couldn't do it on my own, that's for sure.

Q: What do you find most challenging about parenting?
A: For me, it's being present when I'm with my son. I'm on the road a lot and it's a very busy life, so when I am there, it's about devoting total time to him and giving him what he needs, and leaving hockey at the rink.

Q: What are your favourite -- and least favourite -- activities as a family?

A: We travel a lot together, so our favourite would be going on trips and seeing the world. There's not too much that I don't enjoy with my son because I have such little precious time with him. So all the time I get to share with him, I really do enjoy.

Q: How do you handle discipline in your home?

A: I would be more of the tough parent. He knows his dad is a bit of a softie, but we balance it out pretty well, and take turns being the bad guy. Every kid needs boundaries and they will test them all the time, so I have no problem with having to discipline him sometimes. He's a great kid and I rarely need to.

Q: What would be your advice to new parents?

A: Let your kids make their own decisions. Don't push your child into what you want them to do, and let them succeed or fail on their own terms. Be there for them, because you can never be there enough in terms of support. But it's okay to let them fail sometimes too.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.