Dear Savvy Auntie,

I am 27 years old and an aunt to a niece and nephew.

I currently live with my parents. My sister and brother-in-law live two miles away. I see the kids usually three times a week and I love being an aunt and spending time with them and I feel I do more so then other people I know that are my age with nieces and nephews.

My family often makes me feel like my life revolves around them and guilty for having an active social life. My niece turns four this Sunday and I will be in attendance for her big day. I received short notice today that there will be a family dinner celebration Saturday as well. When I explained I had plans and could not make it and as a result i was made to feel like I was being a horrible aunt because I couldn't give up my social plans for her dinner.

I feel like as much as much as i am involved in my niece and nephews lives I will never meet my sister's expectations. Am I a bad aunt?

Bad Aunt?

Dear Bad Aunt?,

No! You are a devoted and attentive aunt who has ‘trained’ your family to expect you are on call 24/7.

You need to ‘re-train’ them by sharing your schedule with them as to when you are available. Plans can then be made in advance.

This is a common pitfall of unmarried aunts living in their parents' house. We receive many letters similar to yours and how good an aunt you are is based on how your nieces and nephews feel about you and your own self esteem.

I suggest you send balloons or cupcakes to the family dinner saying you are sorry to miss the celebration and Happy Birthday!
Good Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield


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