Please stop asking me when I’m getting married and having my own kids.

I’m a PANK. Yeah, you’re reading that right. I’m a PANK, a Professional Aunt No Kids.

PANKs, the emerging demographic of child-loving women who do not have children of their own, was coined and first brought to the attention of marketers by Melanie Notkin, founder of Savvy Auntie.

If you follow me on any of my social media sites, you’ll know that my nieces and nephews are the best things that have ever happened to me. As of right now, I have 3 nieces, 2 nephews, and a nephew in the oven (due October 2016). Yes, they all belong to my only baby sister. She and her husband said they wanted six kids from the start of their marriage, and well, they’ve achieved that goal.

Since I’m an unmarried woman who just turned 29, I help her with her kiddos. I cook for them. I clean up after them, and I make sure they’re happy. There’s no shame in it. I’m not ashamed to help my sister and brother-in-law out with the kids. I love them like they’re my own. I buy them things they want and need. I read them stories, help put them to bed, and more. Again, I’m not ashamed of being a PANK.

However, after they came into my life, I’ve kind of decided that I don’t want kids of my own. I won’t go into the whys of it. I have my own personal reasons for not wanting kids, but that’s my right. God and I get to choose whether I have kids or not.

I recently shared something on my personal Facebook page that reads, “I’m tired of hearing, ‘When are you going to get married and have kids?’ Let me tell you, I could have done that already and chose not to. Because I’m waiting on God’s timing (and the right man), and I don’t want kids right now (or to even be married right now). I may change my mind, but God’s gonna have to do that. Can we PLEASE stop SHAMING women into thinking they have to have kids or that they’re having too many? Really, is it YOUR decision to comment on someone else’s choice to have as many or as little kids as they do? NO. It’s not. I see this too much. My sister is shamed for wanting and having as many kids as she does. I’m shamed for not being married and having kids as I get nearer and nearer to 30. Let me tell you, God has a plan for my life and the opinions of others doesn’t matter. So quit talking about people behind their backs and to their faces. Stop the madness. Enjoy life. Life your own life, be kind, It’s fairly simple.”  It went along with this post by Aseel Tayah on Facebook. (Please take some time to read the post. It’s beautiful.)

I know many people who don’t want kids, and they hear the same thing. “When are you going to have kids?”

I get the, “When are you going to get married and have kids of your own?” I don’t want to be married or have kids right now. I’m perfectly content being alone and being with my nieces and nephews. My heart is full as it is. Please stop trying to put society pressures on me of getting married and having kids. Just because I waited to get married doesn’t mean that I’m doomed to be alone the rest of my life. It means that I haven’t found a guy worthy of marriage yet. Because I haven’t had kids yet doesn’t mean that I’m less of a woman. I’m a woman who hasn’t had kids because that’s my own choice. It’s between me and God.

I want people to understand that just because I’m a woman, that doesn’t mean I have to partake in societal norms. This isn’t the 1950s. I don’t have to be married and have kids just to be a woman. I’m a woman who is proud of her life. I’m a somewhat successful author. I have a family I love and who loves me (most of the time 😉 ). I’m happy, and isn’t that the most important thing?

Melanie Notkin of Savvy Aunt has had made a movement to help others see that being just an aunt (without kids of her own) is okay! I want to be part of this movement as well. I want to break societal norms. I want people to understand that it’s okay for a woman who is almost 30 to not be married and to not have children.

I have kids in my life who make me happy. Despite what their momma says, they are mine! 😉 I’m happy, and shouldn’t that be enough for everyone else? Shouldn’t you be happy that I’m happy?

I know people are happy for me. Some applaud my decision. But others question it. It’s okay to question it, but don’t make me feel guilty for it. Don’t make anyone feel guilty for their decision to stay single, have kids, not have kids, have one kid, have 12 kids, if they’ve adopted. It’s their decision how many kids or how little kids they have.

Being an aunt is rewarding. I get to have these tiny little humans in my life who I love unconditionally. I would never change that for anything, and in the future, if I do have kids, I will love them as much as I love my own kids. But until them, I’m a PANK, and I’m proud of it.

 

**Note, this is not a debate on pro-life, pro-choice. I’m pro-life. Please don’t bring this into the conversation. Comments about abortion will be deleted. If you’ve had an abortion, that’s between you and God. I’m not judging; I just don’t believe in it. This post is about marriage and kids. Nothing else.**

Apple Pickin’

This morning I had the pleasure of helping my sister take her two oldest kids, my lovely nieces, to pick apples, squash, cantaloupes and some other vegetables in my grandpa’s garden.  They were so excited!  It was great to see them so happy and running around outside picking vegetables. Being an auntie, I couldn’t help but snap some pictures.  So, instead of blogging about writing like I had planned, I wanted to share some photos of my nieces and nephew.

Stormie and her green "B-Mato"
Pickin' Bell Peppers with Great-Grandpa or (Pop-Pop)
Stormie and Pop-Pop
Chloe-bug rocking the shades
Chloe and Stormie in the apple tree
Getting into Pop-Pop's flower bed

Since Eli couldn’t be with us.  I still want to put a picture of him. He’s in his Doctor Who onesie as I call it.  🙂

Eli in his "Doctor Who" onesie

On a side note, if you head over Spencer Brokaw’s blog, you can find one of my short stories, “Peppermints and Murder.”   (It’s in two parts so make sure to read them in the correct order.)

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

  According to Savvy Auntie, today is Auntie’s Day.  I’m super excited!  My nieces and nephew aren’t old enough to really know that they’re celebrating a day specifically set aside for their aunt, as they’re only 2 1/2 years, 1 1/2 years, and 4 1/2 months old.  That’s okay.  It doesn’t matter to me.  What matters is that I have them in my life.

I don’t have children of my own, but I love my nieces and nephew like they’re my own.  It’s not news to my sister.  (She quite often accuses me of spoiling them. ;))  They mean the world to me, and I can’t imagine life without them.  I don’t want to either.

I would protect them even if it meant sacrificing my life for them.  I wouldn’t think twice about it.

 

Here are the reasons I love being Auntie Em!  (or Aunt Emi as they call me at times.)

  • Feeling them wrap their little arms around my neck just because they feel like giving me a hug.
  • The other day, my oldest niece crawled into my lap and said, “I need some Emerald time.”  That in itself is rewarding enough.
  • To hear their little feet climbing the stairs to my room and showing up saying, “I came up here so you could see me.”
  • Them walking to my books saying, “Can I read this?” even though they can’t read and “my books don’t have pictures.”  I have instilled a love of books in them, and for that, I’m so proud!
  • Getting a smile from my 4 1/2 month old nephew when I walk in the room and just say his name. 
  • I have gotten to be there for each of them through the most important times of their being: first smiles, first steps, first words, etc.  I’m truly blessed.

There are probably about a hundred more reasons, and I’m so proud to have such wonderful nieces and a nephew.  I look forward to many more years of being their Auntie.

So, to all of the Auntie’s out there, Happy Auntie’s Day!  If you aren’t an Auntie (or Uncle).  I hope you have the chance to be soon.  It’s very rewarding!