The nuclear family is a relatively modern phenomenon, which has only existed in Western culture for the past couple of centuries. Before industrialization, children were raised by a gaggle of adults that included grandparents, uncles, cousins and neighbors.
And it looks like we may be trending towards to that kind of child rearing model again. With the Defense of Marriage Act slowly being dismantled, gay marriage more socially accepted, the economy forcing people back into their parents’ basement and many women electing to raise a baby on their own, our perception of ‘family’ is starting to become more diverse than just mother, father, children.
One person who is a strong advocator of the “it takes a village” parenting theory is author and entrepreneur Melanie Notkin, who is the founder of multiplatform lifestyle brand and online community Savvy Auntie, and who just released a book with the same name. “As more duel income parents work harder and longer than ever before, there is a real need for more adults to help bring positive influence and support to children,” she says. “Every child can use as many loving adults in their lives as possible. No child suffers from too much love!”
Notkin believes that women that don’t have children on their own are a valuable resource in what she calls the “American Family Village”. “Nearly 50 percent of American women are not moms but love the children in their lives,” she says.“It means that children have an adoring woman in their lives whom they can always count on to keep them safe and happy. My mission is to help Aunties celebrate their aunthood.”??To Notkin, who has no kids of her own (yet), becoming an Auntie was a life changing experience. “I never knew love until I saw my nephew just hours after he was born,” she says. And as her throng of nieces, nephews and godchildren grew, so did her role as an auntie. She found herself wanting for some kind of equivalent of mommy blogs and parent networks for aunties. “There were no modern resources for the cosmopolitan aunt, and I saw a real opportunity to fill that void,” she says.
Therefore, Notkin just released her own "ParAunting" guide: Savvy Auntie - The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids to great acclaim from both celebrity aunts (Elizabeth Gilbert) and moms (Tori Spelling). “It's not just about how to be a Savvy Auntie, says Notkin “But also about how to support the parents in their raising of the child. The book helps us all be better aunts, sisters and friends.”
To purchase the book on Amazon, click here. Part of the proceeds goes to the children’s organization Epic Change.