When I first had the idea for Savvy Auntie, I knew toy companies would love the opportunity to connect with Savvy Aunties – women who love to give their nieces and nephews, and all the children in their lives, gifts that the kids want and – we hope – will treasure. Some toys, we know, are delighted upon when the gift boxes are opened, but months, weeks, sometimes even days later, the children move on to other toys they also love.
“Where are the men?” my girlfriend clamored as our cocktails arrived. “Lately, the guys I’ve met are wishy-washy when it comes to planning the date. If we meet in my area of town, they ask me to pick the venue because they don’t know the area – like Yelp isn’t a thing. And when I offered the last guy restaurant suggestions, he asked what kind of food they serve. What kind of man asks a woman out and makes her not only plan the date, but make sure he’s comfortable with the cuisine, too?”
I realize I’m about to step in it. And by “it,” I mean the “Marissa Mayer is a female CEO — and she’s pregnant!” discussion that inevitably leads back to the “Can women have it all?” exchange that began last month.
I’m a childless woman by circumstance. I had always planned, expected, hoped and dreamed that I’d marry and have children, but I’m now in my early 40’s and both milestones have eluded me. It’s not that I’m not maternal. I have always loved children and I’m a very devoted aunt. It’s not that I do not want to be married, either. It’s just that, like so many of my college-educated female cohorts of Generation X, marriage and children are to come later, if ever. It wasn’t because we delayed marriage and motherhood for education or our careers. It’s that we never saw getting a college degree or having a career that offered self-sufficiency as choices — as our brothers didn’t. And the overwhelming majority of us have children only once we are married…
When I launched Savvy Auntie four years ago, my first mission was to change the way we look at aunts in America today. Often imagined as a relic of a generations past, the term ‘aunt’ conjured up an image more “Auntique” than that of a modern, cosmopolitan woman. That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate and honor our Great-Great-Aunts, but where were today’s cool, contemporary aunt figures? As I explored this modern segment of American women who are not (yet) moms (The U.S. Census puts us at 47 percent of women through age 44), I realized there are all types of aunts….