Dear Savvy Auntie,

I'm 35, married and have a business and three dogs. We don't have children because my husband had cancer when he was much younger. I've never really been particularly keen to have children so what does a girl in her mid-thirties do when her husband runs a hotel and is out a lot? Build herself a glittering career become an author and get dogs!
I love my lifestyle and my niece who is 17-months-old. But there is tension between myself and my brother and his wife. They don't understand why I'm not around there demanding to bath her every day. They don't really get it when I have to be at home to work and they certainly don't get that I'm a responsible dog owner who therefore won't leave her dogs at home for hours on end to play with a small child. I love my niece, she is beautiful and funny but she's not my child; she's theirs!
I'd love to have her over to my house sometimes, but it now transpires that they don't trust me with her. It's such an awful revelation. Apparently they are happy to leave her with my mum because my mum has had kids. Because I don't have kids, they tell me I won't see the danger that a parent does (danger such as tables having corners!) My brother actually thought that given the choice between sorting my dogs out, and sorting my niece out if I had full care of her for an hour, I'd go with the dogs!
It seems to me not having children is now more of a problem to other people than it ever was to me and I'm not sure how I can carve out the "glamorous auntie" role I had planned if I'm not allowed to have her at my house. I thought that being a responsible adult in charge of a child that you care about was all that was needed but it seems not.
It was just nice today to come across the acronym PANK (Professional Aunt No Kids) and to see a place where I might fit. I wonder if you come across this kind of thing with other PANKs? And what might I do about this situation?

Childree PANK

Dear Childree PANK,

You sound like a very busy woman! Take heart...your niece will soon be able to manage her own safety and not need tables without corners.You will be very surprised to see how quickly she will mature and there will be many years of being the "glamorous auntie" you envision.

It is very common for people who have a new child to be preoccupied with their daily lives and not give the proper recognition to others without children. This is particularly true when the parent(s) work outside of the home and you being an author work in the home or at your own pace.

If you want to make a push for your niece to visit you then I would advise looking into childproofing your home. This would also show the parents that you are very serious about having a relationship with her on your turf.

Good luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Photo: Amaviael
Published: April 4, 2017

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