When my sister got pregnant with her first child, I knew that my life was going to change forever: I now had someone to mold into a better, smarter version of myself! Her parents could worry about curfews and grades, I’d teach her how to really own all the world threw at her. My fellow P.A.N.K.s (translation: “professional aunt, no kids”) will understand: Being the cool aunt is a way of life. And so, if you say “yes” to any of the things below, you’re definitely in the Cool Aunts Club.
1. You buy them really ridiculous things you know they don’t need.
The exact robe Prince George has is finally back in stock AND on sale? Yes, please. Just ignore your sister or brother saying their kid doesn’t need more stuff. That kid always needs more stuff from you.
2. But if they act up, you remind them who’s getting all your money someday.
Better behave kids or this old maid’s fortune is going to charity!
3. You look back on a Saturday afternoon and realize you’re down $100.
And all you have are Shopkins receipts, some zoo passes, and a stomach ache to show for it.
4. You find yourself talking to 10-year-olds like they’re adults.
Break-ups, friend problems, work issues — yep, your niece has heard it all.
5. You skip *real* workouts on the regular.
Because you’re super sore from carrying a toddler around while shopping or running around like a mad woman at the park. And, hey, all that racks up the steps too.
6. You cancel plans with your adult best friend to hang out with your toddler best friend.
Sure, my three-year-old niece hardly listens to me and only wants to talk about Peppa Pig’s brother George, but she’s so cute and doesn’t mind when I go to bed at 10 p.m.
7. You can’t help but roll your eyes when your sibling coddles her kid.
Because you know when he really needs a hug and when he just needs to let.it.go.
8. You gossip about their parents on the regular.
But you also know when to remind them how lucky they are to have parents who care.
9. You’ve sat them down and made them watch all of your favorite ’80s movies.
Molly Ringwald is a queen and your niece better not forget it. In return, she teaches you how to “streak” on Snapchat.
10. You know the exact song they need to hear no matter the situation.
There are very few problems “Karma Chameleon” by Boy George can’t solve. Bonus points if you queue up the video on YouTube too.
11. You’ve been tipsy around them … more than once.
But all that means is you’re giving them more kisses and reminding them how great they are.
12. You’re constantly researching all the new places you want to take them.
There’s a new museum that’s supposed to turn kids into geniuses? Two tickets, please.
13. And tagging their parents in everything you see on Facebook that they need to worry about.
OMG, don’t let Madeline play with fidget spinners anymore! They’re dangerous! (And super annoying.)
14. You try to keep a straight face when the kid curses …
… and act as if you haven’t accidentally said s–t in front of them a few times now and bribed them to never tell on you.
15. You’re the master of telling embarrassing family stories.
Whether it’s about that time Grandma got drunk at a party or when your sister peed her pants on a family road trip, you’ve got these kids hooked.
16. You’ve gained a few pounds since they’ve been born.
Alas, just because you’re hanging out with a teenager, you can’t really eat like one anymore.
17. You spend babysitting weekends trying HARD to pull off all of those crazy Pinterest projects.
But let’s be honest, you both want a DIY stress ball.
18. You’ll probably be the first one to slip them their first drink.
What’s a little sip of champagne at 17? You’re at a family wedding and neither of you is driving.
19. You’re obviously always encouraging them to HAVE FUN.
Take the semester abroad, try that trapeze class, join the local roller derby team. You’re only young once!
20. You love them more than anything.
And the feeling is mutual.
BY MICHELLE MANETTI | CountryLiving