Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Happy Auntie’s Day! July 21, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

We suffer through Mother’s Day. We hide out on Father’s Day. We barely disguise our envy as grandparents essentially get appreciated on two holidays…until now.

Melanie Notkin, the brilliant and delightful founder of Savvy Auntie, has designated July 24 “Auntie’s Day,” an opportunity for nieces and nephews to thank, honor, and acknowledge Aunties By Relation (ABR), Aunties By Choice (ABC), and godmothers. A special website,, offers unique ideas for how to celebrate this blessed occasion. Visit Twitter and Facebookfor special promotions.

“Many women without children of their own give tirelessly to children all over the world,” Notkin says. “I hope at the very least they feel acknowledged for their incredibly valuable role in the American Family Village.”

Cheers to you, aunties of the world! Enjoy your special day!

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is “Aunt Kath” to six wonderful young humans.


Circumstantially Infertile July 14, 2011

Thanks to Robin for posting this link on the LWB Facebook page.

In the Huffington Post’s new “Women” section this week, Savvy Auntie, Melanie Notkin writes about the grief and lack of empathy that comes with being “circumstantially infertile.”

Melanie always wanted to have children, but just never met the right person. She talks openly about the insensitive and sometimes cruel things people have said to her. She also makes the case that, just because someone doesn’t have children, doesn’t mean they don’t like kids or aren’t maternal.

Melanie is the author of the fun book, Savvy Auntie, that I reviewed last month, and creator of I also had the pleasure of interviewing her recently. More about that soon.


Book Review: Savvy Auntie June 16, 2011

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.


Are you a Savvy Auntie? July 6, 2010

Even though we don’t have children of our own, many of us have nieces and nephews or godchildren in our lives. In the past few years, I’ve come to realize how important my role as aunt is. I am a trusted adult with life experience, but I am not the dreaded parent. I am an ear to talk to, but I’m not the rule-maker. Best of all, because I won’t later have to be the disciplinarian, I am free to be fun and silly and maybe even a little bit bad (for example, going out for ice cream within the “You’ll ruin your dinner” timeslot.) I love being an aunt and my only regret is that I’m not geographically closer to my nieces and nephews.

I came across this website, Savvy Aunties, recently. It’s got lots of great information for aunts (and uncles, of course). It’s also a hang-out for childless aunties, and I found a few interesting articles for us there, such as this article about how parenthood is now regarded as a lifestyle choice, and some hot discussions on the forums, like this thread about insensitive things people say.

On the subject of being an aunt, my good friend, past guest blogger, and aunt-extraordinaire, Kathleen Guthrie, wrote this article, How to Be the World’s Best Aunt Ever.

Enjoy, Aunties and don’t forget to drop subtle hints to your loved ones that July 25th is Auntie’s Day!