I’m a PANK? A rose by any other name…

I’m a PANK? A rose by any other name…

My nephew, Avery, and I, many autumns ago

According to an article in the Feb. 19th edition of the Seattle Times (via The Minneapolis Star Tribune), I’ve been given a new name/label/title. I am a PANK, Professional Aunt, No Kids.  Living | Many women see the role of aunt as a special calling | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Although I don’t much care for that acronym, I have long been extolling the benefits of being an Aunt without kids of my own. In my opinion, it’s even better than being a grandparent. I get to spend time with my nephews and nieces pretty much on my own terms and the expectations are much less. I’m not really expected to babysit (although I sometimes do) and I’m not expected to spoil the kids (although I reserve that right) and I’m not first in line to raise the kids if their parents turn out to be screw-ups (no chance of that in my case).

And I am of the opinion that it’s really a bonus for kids to have an aunt or uncle in their life who likes children, but doesn’t have or want any of their own. I wouldn’t necessarily put myself up as a role model, but I do give my nieces and nephews another responsible adult to observe and question. I provide an alternate paradigm for them to consider and examine. (In my case, I am both single and childless.) They may very well choose to follow the more usual path of marriage and family when they grow up, but at least they will have witnessed a healthy, viable alternative. Of course, many people don’t believe that an adult can be truly happy unless s/he marries and has children. But let’s not open up that can of worms. (On the other hand, if you DO want to explore that idea further, I recommend the book Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever Afterby Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.)

What about you? Are you a PANK or a PUNK? Or did you have one in your life when you were growing up? I’d love to hear your point of view.


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