There are also plenty of childfree women who have oodles of love, affection and advice to share with nieces, nephews and friends’ kids as their honorary aunties. Elizabeth Gilbert explains it well in her May 2014 blog: ‘I have come to believe there are three sorts of women, when it comes to questions of maternity. There are women who are born to be mothers, women who are born to be aunties, and women who should not be allowed within ten feet of a child. It’s really important to know which category you belong to.’
For me, I love being an aunty and godmother. There is nothing better than visiting my nieces and nephews, spoiling them and then going home to enjoy a quiet night watching a movie with some wine and peace and quiet.
I consider myself a PANK – Professional Aunty, No Kids. The way I see it, I get the best of both worlds. I get to experience the fun side of kids and then, when I’ve had enough, I can retreat to the little haven that I call home.
Non-mothers’ roles as advocates, mentors and friends to children are well documented. The founder of Savvy Auntie Melanie Notkin’s ‘Shades of Otherhood’ survey shows that eighty percent of non-moms aged twenty to forty-four play an active role in a child’s life. Not only this, they also tend to spend a lot on them. In fact, in 2012, aunts spent an estimated $387 on each child in their lives.
In recognition of the importance of these women, Melanie Notkin started a national day to celebrate childfree women who are loving aunts or godmothers, officially celerated on 23rd July of every year.
As an aunty, I get to be a role model. I want my nieces, Hannah and Caitlin, to see that they do have a choice as a strong, independent woman to follow their dreams and desires. I want them to see that they can make a choice that is not traditional and that won’t always be popular with others. I think as aunties we offer a different perspective to kids than their parents can. Our guidance is less biased, because we usually aren’t as invested in certain futures for these kids. And, even though it still comes from love, we have the emotional distance that enables a different type of dialogue.
As you might have realised, I do not hate children. However, I have never changed a nappy, fed a baby, bathed a baby or pushed a pram (apart from when I was a little girl) and I don’t have any desire to do so. None of that is appealing in the least. I am proud of the fact that I haven’t done any of those things. I give kids cuddles, buy them treats, encourage their creativity, colour in with them, take them on outings for special occasions and give them advice. Being a rockstar aunty is an important job, after all!
There are multiple paths to motherhood and multiple ways to act as a mothering influence with children. It is my mission to be the best rockstar aunty I can be. Not everyone was supposed to be a mum, and I one of those chosen few.