Being a mom is great. Its the best job I have ever had, even though there is no salary and no sick days. However, the second-best job I’ve ever had was being an aunt. Between my husband’s family and my own, and close family friends, we have 7 nieces, 7 nephews, 5 great nieces, and 2 great nephews between us, ranging in age from 21 months old to 33 years old. Yes, we have an interesting family, but that’s for another day. Being an aunt has taught me so much and has made me a better mom. Here’s how.
Get Familiar With Children
With that many nieces and nephews, you can bet that I became familiar with children quickly. Some people are never really around babies until they have their own. This was not an issue for me. I was fortunate enough to babysit one of my nieces once a week for the entire first year of her life.
This was really cool because babies learn and grow so much in the first year of their life. I really got to experience her development during these stages and it was so much fun to watch. It really taught me a lot about milestones, and child development. I learned about diaper changing, and feeding, and burping, and all those things that come along with a new baby.
This really helped me be a better mom, because when my own son was born, I had at least some experience with these things. It allowed me to be a little more laid-back and roll with the punches.
What to Do
Another way that being an aunt made me a better mom is that I really learned what to do in different scenarios. I learned what to do if your infant wont burp, or has gas. It taught me what to do when a child has a cold or throws up.
I learned how to deal with tantrums, and behavior issues, and discipline. There are ways to deal with things, and I learned so many different tricks while being an aunt.
What NOT to Do
Every mom makes mistakes. One of the benefits of being an aunt is getting to see those mistakes and learn from them. Don’t get me wrong, because I have made plenty myself, but seeing what others have done has helped me learn not only what to do, but what not to do.
Parenting is all trial and error. So the more you can figure out from others, the less you have to figure out on your own. For example, a very close friend started feeding her child purees, and she started with fruits. After several sweet fruits, her child wouldn’t touch the veggies. From that I learned to start with the veggies and throw fruit in here or there. Its a small thing, but saved me a lot of headaches.
How to Love
People will say that there is nothing like the love you have for your own child. I completely agree with this. However, the next closest and best thing is the love you will have for your nieces and nephews. Some of my nieces and nephews are related to me by blood, and some by marriage, and others by years of a familial type bond with close friends. Some I am very close with, and some not so much.
One thing is certain though. I have so much love for them all and wish the best for them. I think about them all the time, even if we don’t see each other or talk. I am quietly cheering them on. I would do anything to help them if they needed me. This is the truest love I have ever felt before becoming a parent, and it has made me a better mom.