Pillows for Aunts | Cup of Jo
I relate to this so much. I know my brothers love my children, but they’re not very good at calling, coming for visits, asking about my children, etc. My husband and I are SO invested in the relationships with our nieces and nephews. We have done A LOT to build those relationships — even during the times when we lived far from the rest of the family. We host sleepovers, FaceTime/call/text, go to their activities, take them on outings or camping trips or invite them along to our family vacations, get them carefully chosen and personal gifts for special occasions…and I wouldn’t change any of it because I genuinely love those little humans. But the double standard is really heartbreaking. A lot of it feels rooted in patriarchy, to be honest. There is this cultural space for ultra-invested aunties, and women are invited to celebrate their relationships and emotional connections with children, and I don’t see the same structural support or societal training for men. But it still really hurts to feel like my kids miss out on those other relationships. And my husband’s sisters would say they love our kids, but the reality is that they have never done anything to get to know our children or love on them outside of the standard family gatherings when they see them. They don’t come for visits, they don’t call, they don’t give any evidence that they care about them as people (or care about us as parents), and it sucks. Honestly, the best “aunts and uncles” my kids have are my best friends and their partners. I didn’t expect that, since I’d been a doting aunt for over a decade before becoming a mom, but that’s how it’s turned out.