The New York Times recently caught on to the concept of PANKs, which stands for Professional Aunt, No Kids. The article is written from the perspective of advertisers taking note that mothers aren’t the only ones shopping for children, but I appreciated the “It takes a village” perspective about the role that aunties play within many contempary families:
Whether they are literally aunts, godparents or friends of the family, PANKs argue that they serve a vital role in the family, and holiday gifts are just one part of the equation. These women often provide help with educational expenses, baby-sitting and household chores, Ms. Notkin said. But they can also be that “cool aunt” who exposes a child to cultural experiences for which the parents may not have the time or money. Often they are the trusted adult whom children can talk to about sensitive topics they wouldn’t dare discuss with their parents.
Brenda Andolina, the director of public relations and brand marketing at Fisher-Price, the toy company in East Aurora, N.Y., said: “For every child, there are like 10 women who are loving that child: an aunt, a friend, a co-worker.
Again, the NY Times article is definitely written from a buying power/consumer perspective, but I’d love to hear from the Offbeat Aunties in the house: what’s your special role in the life of the children you know? What’s their role in yours?
Oh and PS: did you know we have a whole archive of Offbeat Aunties posts? We’d LOVE to have more posts from and about offbeat aunties and godmothers — how do you support the children in your extended family? (And “family” means both biological and chosen.) We want to hear your stories!