Aunthood is not a widely talked about role, in fact, Auntie’s Day (July, 26th) was only founded recently, in 2009, as a day to celebrate aunts and uncles. Being an aunt is a very important role, adding another caretaker and source of love in a child’s life has proven to only bring more positivity and comfort to the child as well as strengthen a greater family bond. They are there to talk about the stuff that is hard to talk to mom about and not to mention they’ve got a whole bank full of good stories about your parent when they were younger.
When I was thirteen years old I dreaded car rides with my mom. I knew that it was time for The Talk and the absolute last thing I wanted to do was talk about sex and all things bodies with my mom. I was the type of kid that would clam up if she even mentioned boys. Sooo do you like any boys in your class? I would turn bright red. What?! Ew mom no gross. But of course I did, I could just never let my mom know that. Most teens share my anxiety. A study done by Planned Parenthood in 2012 showed that 50 percent of teens felt uncomfortable talking to their parents about sex.
Now that I am older I talk to my mom about everything but there was a period where the maternal proximity was embarrassing. With mothers it is the fear of how they will react to embarrassing or what could be seen as disappointing news that keeps a daughter from wanting to immediately spill her every thought, feeling or worry. So who do you talk to? Well, you have this beautiful group of women called aunts. They are there as a maternal figure without the proximity and that one step of removal makes them feel more like an older, wiser friend. There are biological aunts, they share your blood, they are in the family group chat and present at all the family gatherings, and there are honorary aunts, mom’s best friend who comes over for a glass of wine or two every other week.
So what are the things that aunts want their nieces to know? I decided to call up my aunts and ask them myself.
- Stay curious. Just because your family does things a certain way does not mean you have to or that it’s the right way. Follow any thread of interest and be anything you want.
- Find yourself away from home. Travel and explore on your own. Push yourself, challenge yourself and bring all your experiences back to share with your family!
- Learn to be able to comfortably dance like crazy with your friends.
- Build your own resilience. As a woman don’t feel the need to conform to cultural norms of what a woman should do and look like. Dress to express yourself and know that you are beautiful.
- Learn to embrace, celebrate and master the art of self-love.
- Embrace darkness. Trust you are being taught something valuable and that you will grow from it.
- Love deeply and wholeheartedly. Stay vulnerable even if you get hurt. Surround yourself with people that make you happy.
Never be afraid to ask for help or advice from those who love you. Thank you, aunts!