Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Erica Koffler—owner of Kidfections, a kiddie personalizing business—and a mom to three amazing kids!
Tell us about yourself. Why did you start Kidfections?
I had recently finished working a full-time job as exective assistant to a celebrity chef and was looking for my “what’s next.” I had wanted to purchase a personalized Fisher Price Grow-to-Pro Basketball Hoop for a friend’s son’s birthday and was surprised to find that even in New York City, there was no one personalizing those types of toys—not even anyone on Etsy! I figured I’d try doing it myself and I sent my mom the picture. She said it was perfect and asked where I had it made. When I told her I did it myself, she casually said I should start a store and I thought, “You know what? Why not!”
What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
For me, the secret is being able to enjoy life when I’m with my family as well as when you I’m doing things as an individual. It’s not necessarily about balancing, but being able to find happiness within so that you can be happy in every role that you play.
Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
My daughter has been potty trained since 22 months, and now at two and a half she almost never has accidents. One Sunday she was throwing a tantrum about not being able to have a third lollipop (it was Sunday, don’t judge me!) and she clenched her legs together in the middle of the living room and began to pee—almost out of spite. My husband, Daniel, immediately scooped her up, and as he picked her up he unknowingly held her over our nine-month-old son Lucas’, head. So then Lucas was covered in pee. Then Lily, Lucas’ twin sister (probably feeling left out) felt the need to crawl through the trail of pee that her sister left behind. So now we have three kids completely covered in pee. We headed straight to the bathtub only to see that the water was a disgusting brown because, of course, the water in our building had been turned off for some type of repair. Simply one of those ridiculous sitcom moments where you don’t know if you should laugh or cry or give up. Luckily, we have a friend who lives across the street, so we loaded up the triple stroller (yes, we have a triple stroller) a la the Beverly Hillbillies and high-tailed it across Murray Street, inflatable ducky bathtub in tow, to give all of the kids their much-needed bath. And you know what? It was the first time all three kids ever took a bath together and it made for the most incredible photo-op. The lesson? You have to take it all in stride. The best parents are adaptable. And when you have the choice between laughing and crying always choose to laugh, and then take a photo.
What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
When you work, you often find yourself stretching the limits of your child’s “schedule” when you’re around in order to maximize the hours in a day. For me, as a cook and someone who has worked in the restaurant business for a decade, my oldest daughter’s love of food and going out to eat are the greatest rewards. It is something that we can enjoy together as a family and has given us countless memories. Whether it be Chloe eating salmon sashimi or smothering her face with sugar donuts to be silly, going out to eat has become an escape for us to get out of the house and spend meaningful time as a family (@chloemaxmessyface follows her dining escapades). When you sit down at dinner and your two-year-old asks, “How was your day?” you definitely feel like you are doing something right.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
Enjoy sleeping in now! My husband and I are self-confessed gym rats. Before children, we’d wake up, hop out of bed, and race to the gym just to be done with it for the day—weekends included. Some days, especially after that extra glass of wine (or three), I wish I could just lounge in bed. Enjoy that leisure time before your little ones are telling you that they have to go pee-pee at 6:45am. You kinda have to take them to the potty.
If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
While you are a mother, you are more than just a mother. You are still the same person you were prior to becoming a mom. You are a still a daughter, a wife, a sister, and a friend, maybe an employee, and you need to be able to wear all of these hats as effectively as you wear your “mom” hat. At the end of the day, the sum of our relationships define who we are, not just our relationships with our children.
What is your favorite children’s book?
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.
What has been your favorite kids’ class?
Songs for Seeds.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Brunch! We absolutely love the jazz brunch at the newly named Roxy Hotel (formerly TriBeCa Grand).
What is your favorite rainy day escape?
Author: Kidz Central Station
Founded by a NYC mom of two young children, Kidz Central Station uses technology to solve the problem so many busy parents face—how to find, book, and manage their children’s classes, camps, local family events, and birthday parties. Kidz Central Station offers more than 20,000 classes, camps, and birthday party options representing hundreds of NYC’s top activity providers. With a sophisticated search engine and class reviews, it is easy for parents to find the best classes for their children, sign up for a trial class, and directly enroll.