Someone at work called me a name today. She had offered some personal information about herself during a meeting and in return I admitted that I have chosen not to have children. I felt the need to quickly follow this by saying "But I love being an Auntie!" – a nervous twitch I have developed to qualify this disclosure for anyone who might look back at me blankly with no idea what to say. She just smiled and said "Oh you're a PANK! Perfect Auntie No Kids".
I was intrigued. No one had ever described my situation as perfect before. Turns out it's actually Professional Aunt No Kids. It's a newish term to replace the old, sexist archetype of a dotty, spinster aunt. A PANK is a cool auntie with a demanding career who can regale her nieces and nephews with stories of her adventurous life.
It's about a successful, adult woman offering children an alternative role model to a mother at the same time as being offered an outlet for her own maternal instincts. It allows male and female children to see for themselves that a woman can live a meaningful, happy, impactful life without necessarily being a mum.
Often when I'm in the depths of despair, my status in life is my old favourite sticking point. In spite of doing a job that makes my heart sing, having a close group of friends to go on adventures with and being blessed with a close, extended family, my own ideas about societal norms can sometimes cause me to see myself as a massive, embarrassing failure. I buy into the perceived judgement of others. I tell myself there is something horribly wrong with me. Why have I never felt this urge to settle down and start a family? I must be a freak. This has sometimes even led to meticulously planning my exit.
Words are powerful things. It'll be interesting to see if the next time I get depressed, the word PANK might be there to help me out.
How do you feel the world sees you in your darkest moments? How accurate is it? And should it really matter anyway?
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