Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious—and maybe a little obsessed—about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us feel a little better. Every Friday I’ll feature a new interview. Here’s what Pam Yudko had to say…
No. 37: Pam Yudko, Holistic Health and Transformational Coach
Where I live: Maplewood, New Jersey
Job: Holistic Health and Transformational Coach
Ages/genders of kids: A 6-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I was an early childhood teacher in the NYC Department of Education when I first entered the “real world.” After six years of being in the classroom, I became an early childhood coordinator (a coach for teachers), supporting the city’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program. After having my children I continued working in this capacity, but found the transition challenging.
A year after my daughter was born, I took a leap of faith and requested a child care leave from the NYCDOE to figure it all out. Within the first year of my leave, I created a business doing music entertainment for kids’ birthday parties (Party with Pam). This allowed me to be home with my children and make my own schedule while nourishing my creative side. Although, I didn’t realize this at the time, Party with Pam would be my stepping stone as an entrepreneur. As my children started spending longer hours in preschool, I had more time to explore my passions and started to become more committed to “my next chapter.”
This is when I discovered my desire to get back into the role as a coach but with the intent of shifting my coaching content of what I would coach people in. I combined my passion for health and wellness with my desire to support an individual’s personal growth and enrolled at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where I earned my certification as a Holistic Health Coach. I then furthered my education to support my clients’ transformations around their health goals and earned my next certification as a Transformational Coach. I birthed my company, Wholefully Aware (definitely felt like my 3rd child), where I guide busy people to lose weight and transform their relationships with food.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think having “it all” is different for every person. For me having “it all” means doing something I am passionate about in my career while being able to have a schedule that allows me to be available to my children when need be. My intention for creating Wholefully Aware was to build a business around my family’s schedule so that in my life I can have it all. So, for me it is not overrated, yet no small feat.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I am diligently working on time management as part of the balancing act. I am working on accommodating my children’s world and meeting them on “their map” so that I’m not always rushing. Some days are better than others.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I am getting better at being present and connecting with my kids because I intellectually know that this is all that they truly need and want. It’s a work in progress!
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? “Don’t worry so much about screwing up your kids. The event or experience that you’ve loaded yourself up with guilt about is typically one that they have moved on from. However, they have or will make meaning of another experience that keeps them stuck and it’s not the experience or interaction you were beating yourself up over.”
From your mother? “Your kids will be lying on a therapist’s couch complaining about you at some point so just do the best you can.”
From your kids? “I know why you don’t listen, because you are always talking.” —Jessie Yudko, 6 years old
If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Meditating, breathing, and sitting still to slow down my mind.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
I wish I’d known that all the things that I always wanted (husband, kids, more money, etc.) were not going to make my life easier, happier, or even better. I have everything I ever wanted (and more), and there are still daily struggles around all that I yearned for.
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
It all does go by so quickly so savor each moment—even the challenging ones as there are always gifts in them.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
I am not a fan of wearing the chauffeur hat to get the kids from one activity to the next. I’d give up this responsibility willingly.
Whose job do you wish you had?
Howard Stern’s—love him!
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Hmmmm… that’s tough. I found it very difficult to work for someone or an organization when my kids were born. I felt that it should be my right to make the decisions that were best for my family and me (when I could vacation, take a day off, etc.) without guilt or repercussions (that was my issue). So, I’m glad I have an opportunity to work for myself.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown.
What are you reading right now?
Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts: Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World by Regena Thomashauer.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7-8 (interrupted, of course).
What do you read every morning?
Mike Dooley’s “A Tut from the Universe” daily email.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: could figure out the balancing act without a hitch if there were an 8th day in the week for me to sit in stillness without any outside noise.
I wish I: wasn’t so hard on myself sometimes, yet I know that these moments allow for reflection, enabling me to be a better version of myself.
My kids: are my greatest teachers.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“If you say you can or you can’t, you’re right.” —Henry Ford
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” —Tony Robbins
Anything else you’d like to add?
If we don’t judge ourselves or others then the act of balancing it all wouldn’t be so daunting. Approach it all with curiosity so there will be no room for judgment.
Pam Yudko, MS, CHHC, TC AADP is a Holistic Health and Transformational Coach. Her practice, Wholefully Aware, is in Maplewood, NJ and services clients virtually, nationwide. Pam guides busy people to lose weight and double their energy so that they can do it all and do it well without deprivation, calorie counting, or guilt. She tailors programs specifically geared to her clients’ individual health goals that are sustainable, natural, and fun. Pam’s clients gain insight, strategies, and tools to help them sustain the life that they desire and deserve.
Please share your own tips on balance and check back every Friday for another interview from THE BALANCE PROJECT.
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 1: Jessica Mindich, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 2: Veronica Beard, Fashion Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 3: Emily Liebert, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 4: Lyss Stern, Mom-trepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 5: Lauren Slayton, Nutritionist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 6: Elizabeth Moyer, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 7: Annabel Monaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 8: Holly Gordon, Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 9: Jill Salzman, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 10: Jennifer Levinson, Jen’s List
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 11: Jenny Hutt, Media Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 12: Angela Santomero, Kids’ Media Creator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 13: Carola Donato, Yogi
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 14: Tiffany Washington, Pastry Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 15: Emily Giffin, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 16: Alana Sanko, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 17: Cara Lemieux, Journalist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 18: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Authors
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 19: Nikki Mark, Author & Foundation Director
Shonda Rhimes on Doing It All
Indra Nooyi on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 21: Jill Bryan, Comedian
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 22: Cindy Callaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 23: Stephanie Hirsch, Artist
My Times of India Interview on Work-Life Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 24: Whitney Dineen, Author/Baker
AmEx’s Sobbott on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 25: J0-Laine Duke-Collins, Dessert Stylist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 26: Whitney English, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 27: Jennifer Gooch Hummer, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 28: Melissa Amster, Book Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 29: Nigel Marsh, Author and Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 30: DayNa Decker, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 31: Amy Selling, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 32: Heather Sonnenberg, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 33: Allison Winn Scotch, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 34: Bibi Kasrai, Entrepreneur and Chef
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 35: Karen Sutton MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 36: Samantha Ettus, Balance Expert, Author, TV/Radio Personality