The Step Mom

I am getting married in 4 months. I’m not going to lie, I cannot wait to be the wife of such a fantastic man who is loving and caring and thoughtful. He adores me and tells me so everyday, so I never question his love. He makes me laugh, he loves my daughter, he completes our world.

But I’m also gaining 2 step sons and, if I’m being honest, I’m terrified. I only have one daughter and it has been just her and I for 5 years now. We are a perfect pair. We enjoy the same music so we rock out to One Direction or Katy Perry in the car; the more glitter on our clothes, the better; and we love our pretty accessories from necklaces to head bands. Now I have to figure out how to relate to two boys. I don’t know how to do that.

Blending a Family Together

When I think of a blended family, the first thing I think of is the Brady Bunch. I can assure you that blending two families is nothing like what I watched on that show. Sure, the kids get along well enough and have fun, but they were all raised differently, with different rules and likes and now we have to figure out how to combine two parenting styles, make sure all three kids get equal TV time (my daughter is not a fan of Sports Center FYI) and the same amount of gifts on the holidays (and yes, you know they count each of the presents to make sure!) I went from a family of 2 to a family of 5 and that is a very expensive jump!!

I need to learn my boundaries as a step-mom, which is so difficult. I honestly don’t even know where to begin. Yes, I’m told I’m doing a fine job and they like me well enough, but down deep I don’t feel like I am doing it well enough.The boys don’t react to me like my daughter reacts to her soon-to-be step dad. She is constantly hugging him, wanting to do things with him and it melts my heart. I keep telling myself it’s just a “girl thing” to be all affectionate, but is it really?

I often think if my fiance had a daughter, it would be easier as girls are easy to me. I could take her shopping, we could go to see One Direction in concert and scream(yes, I actually did this) , or get our nails done. She could text me photos of the boys she thinks are cute, then tell me how awful boys are. I can do those things!

But boys, I just don’t get. They play video games I’ve never heard of, like completely different genres of TV shows, and definitely can’t appreciate a sparkly outfit. So how can I connect with boys when they seem so foreign to me? And we know how boys have that bond with their mom, so I fear I will always be seen as “the evil step mom.”

As our wedding day draws near, I get a little panicked as now I am partly responsible for two more young lives. Although they will only live with us part time, I am still going to be partially responsible for their well being, making sure they use their manners and turn out to be respectable young men. I still have to make sure homework and projects are done, that they get to and from practices on our days and when they are sick, I still need to help care for them. That is a lot of pressure. I am not just marrying one man, I am marrying a small family.

We are not two souls coming together with hopes of starting a family of our own someday. We are taking two broken families trying to figure out how two severed pieces become a whole. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe the two pieces just get fused together, spend some time healing so when the bandages are removed it might not work or look like it used to, but it certainly makes you appreciate what you once had and don’t want to lose again.

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.