Melanie Notkin created the Savvy Auntie website as a gathering place for childless and childfree women who play an important role in the lives of other people’s children. It’s a big shout out to those of us who share our time with nieces or nephews, or are “aunties-by-choice” to the children of friends and family. Now she’s written a book by the same name.
In Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids, Notkin quickly dispels the myth that women without children are lonely, bitter, and don’t like kids. She refers to herself as a PANK – “Professional Aunt, No Kids,” and says, “I don’t have kids, but I’ve got five amazing nieces and nephews by relation, a beautiful goddaughter, a fabulous career, amazing friends, I travel a ton, and I always go to the best restaurants in the city.” Far from bitter and lonely!
Notkin keeps this fun-loving tone throughout the book, with silly tidbits, such as how to say “Aunt” in 28 different languages, how to throw a killer 1st birthday party, and her Auntiescopes, which define auntie types by birth sign (and are dead accurate – at least for Aries Aunts!) But Notkin balances this with practical information and useful advice about taking care of other people’s children, finding age-appropriate gifts, and answering those awkward questions kids often ask their aunties. She even discusses how to deal with other people’s good news when you’re still dealing with your own grief and also offers some comebacks for those prying questions people ask about why we don’t have kids of our own.
Savvy Auntie is a book I wish I’d given when I was 15, when my first nephew was born, but it still makes for a fun read 20-something years later.