5 Reasons Why I Love Being an Aunt

I truly love being an aunt! And I am so proud of all my sweet nieces & nephews just like I am of my own kids. My sister and siblings-in-laws are pretty cool people, and their offspring has followed their down their path of coolness (obviously).  I am blessed to be called “Aunt Cathy” by eight little people all under the age of six!  The youngest was just born this week (ALMOST born yesterday in fact).

Thinking of all of them and having spent a lot of time with them recently, has motivated me to share a few reasons why I love being an aunt:

  1. You help me reminisce – my younger nieces and nephews help me remember what my kids were like at their age.  The latest birth led to a trip down memory lane for my two kids, who HAD to see their baby books. I also enjoyed watching my almost 2 year old nephew, who needed some extra rocking before bedtime – something my 3 year old has outgrown!
  2. You give me a preview of the future – only one nephew is older than my own daughter, so I love watching him learn & grow into a school-aged kid. He is full of energy and so diplomatic in his word selection, saying “that isn’t my style, Aunt Cathy,” when he was out with our family. He has also taken my younger son under his wing. So precious!
  3. You may think I’m cool in ways my kids may not – I may do things a little differently than your parents do at your home. Maybe that means you can get away with certain things…maybe not. Certainly I try to do something fun when the kids come over. We do crafts and test out Pinterest projects here, so I hope that makes me a “cool aunt.” Let’s face it, it must be easier to be a cool aunt than a cool mom, so I’ll aim for that title!
  4. More fun / less work! Simply put – nieces & nephews go back home! Along with the fun theme, I know your time at our home has an end-time, so it’s easier to be focused on playing & having fun than trying to keep our house clean.  Your parents will pick you up, so it’s not a long-haul endeavor as it is with raising your own kids. Instead I think of their visits as little sprints versus the marathon of being a parent (which is also extremely rewarding & satisfying…not to slight my own kids in this post).
  5. You are / will be among my kids’ best friends – As I mentioned in #2, I love seeing the interaction between my kids and their cousins. They are all so close in age, so they all chum around together.  Who knows, maybe my nephew will even ask my daughter to prom someday (as friends of course!), just like my dad took his cousin to prom back in the day (as friends of course)!  ha ha

It’s so rewarding to be part of the village that influences and cheers for kids as they grow and mature. Similarly, I appreciate all of the aunts and uncles that my kids have to look up to and bond with throughout their formative years.  Life is good as Aunt Cathy!

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Boys vs. Girls

“Mom, is this a boy magazine?” my daughter asked me, picking up Car & Driver, her dad’s magazine of choice.  “No, sweetie it can be a girl’s or a boy’s magazine,” I responded.  Upon saying that, she proceeded to page through the magazine. (Side note: I WILL sometimes page through car magazines, though I did much more when I worked for an automotive company.)

In another instance, my husband was not too pleased with big sister’s dinnertime antics, so he told her, “Act like a lady.”  I added in, “No, please act like a kid with good mealtime manners.”

My daughter also reported that her female teacher at school had boy hair (it’s cut short) to which I replied, “Girls can have short hair or long hair.”

Having both a son and a daughter, we are constantly confronted with gender bias.  I want to raise both of my children with the idea that they can do whatever they want, regardless of what may be considered a girl or boy magazine, haircut, or acting like a lady or crazy little boy.

We try to avoid girl- or boy-only labels (something I’ve written about before), so our kids both play with trains, cars, animals, and dolls – or whatever strikes their fancy. My daughter is a big animal lover, which includes checking out bugs or digging for worms while wearing a tutu (as she does below).

digging for wormsI have to admit that I worry more about raising my daughter in the midst of the princess-obsessed age group.  Sure, she does enjoy her princess domino game and loved watching Pocahontas, but she’s never requested to dress-up like a princess. I mean, what do princesses really DO besides meet their prince and get married?  Don’t they have interests and things to do besides plan another ball? Since her chances of being a real-life princess are non-existent, I’ll keep rooting for better heroines for my daughter, while trying to set a good example for her myself.

As I mentioned in Do I Really Sound like That, my words too easily become her words.  I hope I watch what I say to put the right words in her head, so she can become a strong, confident girl, ready to conquer the world in whatever way she desires.  First off on her agenda: pre-school.

How do parents of boys and girls consciously (or unconsciously) raise their children?  Can you recommend any good girl characters role models?