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Being The Cool Aunt Is Not Easy Or Fun

Posted: September 25, 2020

I love being the cool aunt, but let me tell you that it’s not all fun and games. Sure, parenting is hard, but that doesn’t mean ‘aunting’ is easy peasy.

I am an aunt to two amazing little boys, the only kids in the world that I love with all my heart. They are on a first-name basis with me and I’m their confidante because they see me as a friend instead of just another grown-up.

I love being the cool aunt, but let me tell you that it’s not all fun and games. Sure, parenting is hard, but that doesn’t mean ‘aunting’ is easy peasy. On behalf of all the cool aunts in the world, allow me to share why living up to this position is far from simple.

1. It takes ample time and money

To qualify as a cool aunt, the two most important things you need are time and money. Firstly, you have to spend quality time with your nephew or niece. While that’s a great way to bond, sometimes it gets really hard to show up for school events and outings, especially on weeknights.

Parents can leave work early on occasion to attend a game or arrange a birthday party. We cannot give these reasons to our bosses or clients, so we have to figure out ‘solutions’ like working overtime just to be able to do our auntly duties.

Money, though not as important as time, is definitely necessary to buy meaningful presents and sometimes, no occasion gifts for the kids. Everyone loves personalised gifts, so if we can’t afford to buy them, we spend hours making them by sacrificing our social lives.

2. Being cool is like walking on a tightrope

There’s a thin line between being cool and being irresponsible. We are always up for fun things like being goofy, playing video games, saying yes to new experiences, and sharing personal inside stories, But the problem is, these little devils tend to push us to go over to the irresponsible side and we lose points when we don’t live up to their expectations of coolness.

This may sound kind of sad, but these points mean a lot to us and sooner or later, they figure it out and use it to their advantage. Let’s face it, kids are experts at manipulation and we have to be on guard to ensure we do not go overboard breaking rules just to be in their good books.

Whoever says being cool is effortless is either lying through their teeth or living in denial. For us, it’s like walking on a tightrope and never falling off, because when you do, it’s really hard to get back up. Note that I said when, not if, because we do fall and land in the uncool zone more often than we’d like to admit.

3. We have to know our place

To varying degrees, all kids do stuff they have no business doing. From public meltdowns over nothing to bullying a peer just because everyone else is doing it, there’s a laundry list of bad things children of all ages do. As parents, you have the right to punish them for minor and major offenses.

As aunts, even when we want to, there are times when we simply cannot intervene aka yell at or discipline them because we do not have the authority to. At the end of the day, no matter how close we are, we are not their parent. Your kids are yours alone irrespective of how much we care about them. We know we cannot cross certain boundaries and for the most part, we stay in our lane. Even when we are bursting to express our opinion, we shut the f^&k up and hold it in.

Please note that this kind of patience is twice as hard for us if we don’t have kids of our own. When we do speak up against better judgment, neither you nor the nephews/nieces like it. Oh, and you let us know it by putting us in the doghouse for a long, long time.

4. Regardless of how much we love them, they’ll put you first

With all that we let them do in contrast to your rules and restrictions, it’s natural to assume that your spawn hero-worship us. Well, think again. When kids have loving parents, nobody can replace them, and us cool aunts are no exception. That’s the way it should be, and we are glad to see that you guys have such a healthy parent-child relationship. But yes, there’s no denying that it does sting a little when we see them hugging you spontaneously after we had to literally bribe them to get a hug.

This may seem like it only applies to little kids, because teenagers tend to hate their parents, right? You (parents) and I both should know it’s an act – when you love them and they know it, you will always matter the most to your children, irrespective of how young or old they are. As loving as cool aunts are, they will always come a close second.

Well, aunting is not always easy or fun, but it is one of the best things in my life and I will not give up my cool aunt position for anything else. What about you? Let me know in the comment section below.

Image credits A and N Photography, via Canva Pro

First published here.

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture,

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