Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Pam Wolf—founder of NY Kids Club and a mom to four amazing kids!
Tell us about yourself. Why did you start New York Kids Club?
When I left work in 1991 to have my first daughter, Jessica, I told my recruitment firm partner I’d be back in two weeks. As soon as I met Jessica, I was in love. I had my second child, Jared, 15 months later (and two more children after that!). I never got around to going back to work—at least not for anyone else.
While I enjoy being a parent, my entrepreneurial passion was alive and well and I found myself looking for a new outlet for expression that would allow me to keep my children close by.
One day in between music class with my daughter on one side of town and art class on the other, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if these classes (along with many others) could be housed under the same roof?” Leading with a laser focus on providing the most unique experience for children coupled with the high-level customer service, hospitality, and fastidious cleanliness you’d expect from upscale hotels; the NY Kids Club was born.
What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
There is no secret to work-life balance. Every minute you spend missing a soccer game for an important meeting, or missing an important meeting for that soccer game, you will be worried that you are letting someone down. Focus on achieving work-life flow, rather than balance. You’ll be much happier (and much more effective).
Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
I learned a long time ago that you have to find humor in even the most challenging of circumstances. When I get the call that a pipe has burst in the dead of winter, flooding a location in the middle of the night, I’ve trained myself to first think, “Alright, should we add indoor ice skating?”
What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
The biggest challenge is remembering that health, happiness, and charity must begin at home. It is easy to put everyone and everything first—side-lining your own personal well-being along the way. You have to take care of yourself before you can be good for anyone else. That’s not selfish—it’s smart.
The greatest reward has been seeing my business evolve and grow over the past 15 years. It has been an incredible journey. Sometimes I’ll walk into our relatively-new midtown headquarters and think “Wow, look at this place! Look at all these people!” Then I remember I’m supposed to be in charge and I make sure there are flowers in the lobby and mints on the snack bar. Attending to the details is as important now as ever.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
They are like potato chips. Every time you have one, you want another.
If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Resist the incredible urge to compare yourself (or your children) to anyone else. Dare to be different and teach your children that “different” is cool.
What is your favorite children’s book?
The Country Bunny by DuBose Heyward.
What has been your favorite kids’ class?
Musical Tots at NY Kids Club of course.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Anything that involves food!
What is your favorite rainy day escape?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Curious about New York Kids Club? Check out all of the program’s birthdays here!
About Pam Wolfe and New York Kids Club:
Founded by Pamela Wolf in September of 2001, the New York Kids Club has grown to become the premiere enrichment center for children two months to 12 years. Ms. Wolf has been recognized as a Stevie award winner in the category of Business Mentor of the Year, a Stevie Award finalist in the category of Best Entrepreneur, and one of the top female entrepreneurs of the year by Entrepreneur magazine. She has paired her extensive business background with her experience as a mother of four to build a strong foundation for the organization that has grown to include 11 locations in New York and 12 in China. The company received INC 500/5000 list recognition in 2014. Of the several successful businesses Ms. Wolf has owned in New York, she is most proud of the New York Kids Club.