I love being an Auntie. I am so lucky to have two nieces and a nephew who are my brother’s children. I am single and have never had children of my own. I am actually undecided if I want my own but I do love children.
I have always been quite a maternal person and have worked with children in some compacity since I was just growing up myself. I used to be a youth leader for St John Ambulance and as such helped support and develop young people as a volunteer. At the time I always believed I would have my own children and I often had the same vivid dream of being pregnant. However, it has not been on the cards, so far.
While training to be a teacher I also was a temporary Nanny for a family with two young children. Helping them when on holiday, then in the mornings, evenings and weekends. Most people have a particular age of children they prefer but for me I loved them all. When deciding to be a teacher I contemplated Primary or Secondary a lot. I mainly picked Secondary to subject specialise and because you can always drop down to Primary. However to move from Primary to Secondary would mean re-training.
As a secondary school teacher I teach students from aged 11 to 18 years old. I manly teach history but have also been involved in the pastoral side. This has meant building relationships with students who are struggling with behaviour, health or are just struggling to be at school. I enjoy the relationships you can make and the support you can give as a teacher. Helping to develop the young person into a young adult ready to face whatever the world throws at them.
As an Auntie it is different, watching them develop from day one to now has been a privilege. Watching them learn to say my name is priceless. This weekend I went from the ‘Auntie Eggy’ I have been for a while, to ‘Becs’ in the words of the two and a half year old. Having them say they love you, want a cuddle, to read a book, or for you to put them to bed warms my heart so much. Knowing what they like and buying them presents or taking them out to spend quality time with them is such a joy. Being their confidant and them coming to you for advice is such a compliment.
The unconditional love children show has been rare in my life. Love from my mum came with conditions and was some torrid game of control. I have had it from my Dad, Grandparents and extended family but not having it from my mother left me deeply hurt. Through counselling and from being an aunt I have been able to heal some of these wounds.
I now think I longed to be a mum for two main reasons; firstly to prove I am not my mother and would not parent the same way and secondly to gain that unconditional love. I now know the first would always be true and I no longer feel the need to prove it. The second I have been able to experience through being an Auntie and I generally feel more fulfilled. This doesn’t mean I definitely do not want children but my need is smaller and I fell I might able to be content with being an Aunt and teacher instead.
Being a parent comes with lots of pros and cons. So of course being an aunt comes with them too. I can pass them back when there is a smelly nappy or if they are crying. I do not have to deal with many sleepless nights, only when I babysit. I can say no to helping out. I know I also miss moments and have a different bond. However, I also have a freedom that parents do not have.
Whichever way my life goes I will always love being an auntie to those three amazing children who brighten in my life in this mental world.