The Center of My World

I would venture to guess that if you are a parent, your child (ren) are your world. You would do anything to protect them, keep them safe and make them happy. But should your children become such the center of your universe that your relationship with your partner becomes secondary, thus your family nucleus begins to unravel? Of course, none of us would want this to ever happen. But take a look at your relationship with your spouse right now. When was the last time you had a date night? When was the last time you got dressed up just for him in an outfit you know he loves? When was the last time you made love? Not the kids-are-taking-a-nap-so-we-need-to-be-quiet-quickie, but actually made love?

Family Prioriities

I’m a firm believer that you need to put your spouse first in your life. I didn’t always believe this, however. When I was 29 and I got married to my first husband, I vividly remember the things my husband loved about me. I remember him telling me he loved that I was spontaneous and how we would take random day trips. He loved that I always took the time to look nice; often wearing outfits I knew he loved. We would go to concerts, have dinner parties….life was grand. I remember talking about our future and how amazing life will be with this family we wanted. So we had the dream wedding, and almost 2 years later our daughter was born and life changed; just as it does for many other families. We now had this beautiful life we were responsible for and she very quickly became the center of our universe. Sleep was overrated. Makeup? What’s that! Dinner, like actually cooking it, was nearly impossible when a baby was stuck to my boob all day. And I took a year off of work to stay home with my daughter, thus putting the sole financial strain on my husband (note to self, that was a stupid decision) As time went on, the carefree Veronica my husband fell in love with disappeared. I gather with many women as we embrace motherhood so many things in life change. There is no time for concerts, no extra cash for that getaway, and we were just too tired to host company for a dinner party. Plus, the house was a mess! My husband’s needs got pushed aside for those of our daughter. Many couples get through this time and sadly some just don’t make it. My marriage was one of the casualties.

What did I learn? We both lost ourselves when we became parents. Life, finances, and being overwhelmed were just part of the reasons our marriage fell apart. It took me a long time to see my role in the breakdown in my marriage. When he told me he no longer wanted to be married, he said that I had changed. I remember thinking, “What the hell are you talking about? I’m still me!” But I wasn’t. I was no longer that carefree girl he first fell in love with. I no longer made him a priority or our marriage.

After my divorce, I went through a period where I did a lot of soul searching, as many people do. I wanted to get to know me again. When I finally met the man that I am about to marry, I knew that in order for us to be sure our family didn’t dissolve, we had to be certain we were the priority in each other’s lives. Not that we wouldn’t do anything for our kids and not that their needs and wants don’t come first sometimes, because of course they do. But our relationship, our connection, our love needs to be strong and an example to our children. Without the nucleus of the family being solid, the rest can’t be, either. So we made a commitment to each other to take time for ourselves. To do things that not only make our children happy but us as well. Occasionally I spend a day in sweats, but not very often. I love looking good for him and I feel better about me, too. I enjoy cooking his favorite dinner, even after my long day of work. He helps with household chores, just so we can get it done quicker so we can relax. We may not have time or money for getaways often, but on days when we don’t have the kids, I love that we spend it actually talking. We enjoy just being together and reminding each other why this is so important. We recognize that our children are going to learn from us how to be treated in a relationship. They are going to learn what “normal” is. I want them to see affection, love and compromise, not arguing, cold shoulders and crying. We take that responsibility seriously.

So yes, my daughter is my heart and soul, but my partner is the center of my world.

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.