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Katherine Heigl is loving her busy life as a mom and an actress, but the 31-year-old star says balancing it all has definitely been a challenge.
She and husband Josh Kelley adopted their first child, daughter Naleigh, from Korea in 2009. But Heigl says she's since struggled with finding the right path for her family.
"I had a lot of complicated emotions about it because I chose to go back to work," she says in the October issue of InStyle. "I love what I do and -- this isn't just making excuses -- if I weren't fulfilling this thing in me to perform, to live out my passion, I don't know that I would be the mom I need to be."
The Life As We Know It star admits that her daughter, 20 months, immediately connected with Kelley.
"The first thing she said was, 'Dada,' and then she'd call everybody else she loved 'Dada,'" Heigl said. "She actually attached to Josh much faster."
But since wrapping her latest flick and working only three months out of the year instead of nine, Heigl says she and her daughter have bonded on a new level.
"Naleigh learned with me that the word 'Mama' was synonymous with kisses," she says. "So when she first started saying, 'Mama,' she would also make a little kiss sound ... She started saying it maybe a month or two ago. I would come into the room and she'd go, 'Mama!' And it was like, Thank God."
Life As We Know It hits theaters Oct. 8.
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