Best of Both Worlds – Life After Divorce

Some days I just want to sit outside on a nice day and do absolutely nothing!

And then the guilt sets in. I start thinking of all of things I could and should be doing and then my moment of zen is interrupted by my non-stop, guilty mind. Why is it as working moms, it is so hard for us to just take a day and not have anything to do? No housework, no emails, no conference calls..nothing~!

The importance of do-nothing time.

So, just how important is this “me” time? Most moms don’t get it often and when they do, it never seems to be long enough. Often I get acquaintances who look at me with pity when they hear I’m divorced. They can’t imagine how I can be away from my child for more than a few hours. They are literally shocked when I tell them that on alternating weeks I am away from my daughter for 5 straight days. They simply can’t imagine. So they offer an apology. I used to get irritated by that. I certainly don’t want pity and an apology isn’t necessary. I’m happy! You see I have the best of both worlds. I have 2 weekdays each week where I get to do things for me. I can get my nails and hair done, go out with friends, schedule work if I choose to or go on a date with my fiance, or do nothing at all (although, see above for all of the “do nothing” guilt) No kids to cart around, remind to do homework, bathe and get to bed. My fiance and I can have our cocktails as we watch TV, talk about our day, sit on the patio and enjoy each other in peace and quiet. We can go out, we can stay in. But most importantly, we get to have time as adults to nurture our relationship so on the other days of the week, we get to be our “best” selves for the kids.

For several years now I have watched my mommy friends run around tirelessly. Practice, dance class, CCD; you name it, they are taxi services to their kids and their friends’s kids. I am often told that my friends are living vicariously through me because I can travel at off times during the week when it’s cheaper and I actually get to have a social life and, even more seldom, actually have a date with my significant other without trying to find a sitter. I know clearly they don’t wish to have taken my path to get to where I am, and the pain of a divorce is not something I ever planned on participating in, but I have come to be so grateful for that path. I’m grateful that I no longer resent my child because I never get to do anything for me. I’m grateful I get a break. I’m grateful of the hugs I get when I see my daughter for the first time after a long weekend. I’m grateful for her nightly phone calls telling me about her day and the drama on the playground. And I am most grateful that she gets to see her mom work hard, get to have some fun and be in a happy and healthy relationship. That, to me, is priceless. I know she is watching and learning how a man is supposed to treat a woman. I can only hope that when her time comes to marry someday, she will see what a good marriage looks like and won’t settle for anything less.

Admittedly I do sometimes feel bad that my daughter’s dad and I could not work our marriage out because I feel like she only deserves the best in the world. I guess I was taught that “the best” was both of her parents remaining married so I am trying to recondition myself. It’s taken a few years, but I remind myself that seeing me happy, is the BEST for her. Seeing her dad happy is a great thing. She now has a growing support system of step parents and step grandparents who love and care for her and she went from being an only child to having 4 step siblings. She is indeed a lucky child. And she, too, gets to have the best of both worlds.

Veronica Yankowski

Veronica L. Yankowski is an award-winning celebrity photographer, author and photography educator. During her extensive career she has had the privilege of working with many celebrity clients such as Dina Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Signy Coleman from The Young and the Restless, Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, Jon Bon Jovi, and many others . Her photographs have graced the covers of magazines and last summer her boudoir photography was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Veronica is an accomplished author and her first book "Dialogue 3" was published in 2002 and showcases her photographs of people and places and the tragedy of 911. She is currently a continuing education photography teacher at Brookdale Community College instructing courses from beginner DSLR to more advanced portraiture courses and also hosts workshops around the state to amateur and hobbyist photographers.

She has been interviewed on several radio talk shows, featured on blogs and her work has been on several reality TV shows such as TLC's Four Weddings, Bravo's Cake Boss, HGTV's Dina's Party and The Real Housewives of NJ.

Veronica is currently speaking in the tri-state area on photography and how women can build their confidence in photographs. She instructs women how to pose better, and sell their brand with a perfect head shot.

Since beginning her professional career in 1996 as a photojournalist, Veronica has won many awards for her portraiture work. She worked for some of the top media outlets in the tri-state area such as The Star Ledger, The New York Times and the Associated Press.