Despite constant reassurances regarding my "biological clock," I've never considered having kids of my own. That isn't to say I'm repulsed by children--Rather, my child-rearing dreams have always revolved around the prospect of taking my nieces and nephews to Legoland. Or prom dress shopping. Or ice-cream eating. Essentially, I'd love to hang out with youths who are related to me, as long as I can spoil them unconditionally and don't have to remember what time their clarinet lesson is over.
Apparently, this outlook makes me a full-blown PANK: "Professional Aunt, No Kids." The term was originally coined by Melanie Notkin, but naturally has been reworked by a public relations firm in order to pinpoint the "next key demographic" of money-spending women. After all, why is Toys R Us going to waste its time trying to convince over-stressed parents to buy stuff for their kids when Auntie Dearest is the one with the disposable income?
What I'm "supposed" to get my nieces and nephews for Christmas...
What they are actually getting...
I'm just a tad confused as to whether I should be flattered or offended that this term even exists. To be a "PANK" it seems like I need to be reclining next to my piles of money, casually thumbing through the American Girl catalog, trying to decide of my niece is more of a Molly or a Kit.
But on the other hand, it's pretty exciting that non-traditional family roles are being recognized as mainstream. Women who choose not to have children are often the recipient of the "spinster" label, rather than recognition for their own form of family. An aunt (or uncle!) can be a super-important part of a child's life and development-- a fact which goes way beyond any purchased made at the Gucci baby store.
I say we re-claim the PANK label from it's marketing-related origins! I'm happy to be a "Professional Aunt" in the sense that I want to love and care for my family. Three cheers for finding your own path to happiness! And three cheers for buying kids Lord of the Rings action figures!
Thanks to The Cut