When I joined the social media team here at Graco, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about since I don’t have a baby – which I thought could be a slight issue when writing for the gracoBABY.com blog. What I DO have, though, are babies that I absolutely adore like my goddaughter, niece, and my friends’ new bundles of joy. Therefore, I think it is 100% fitting that I use one of my first few posts to create a blogger spotlight on Savvy Auntie, who focuses her writing on the role that aunts and godmothers play in children’s lives.
About SavvyAuntie, Melanie Notkin:
When Melanie welcomed her first nephew into the family, the overwhelming love and devotion she felt as she stood in the delivery ward, carefully cradling her newborn nephew, inspired her to learn more about the influential role aunts have in helping shape a child’s life. But she was hard-pressed to find resources for non-moms who have children in their lives by relation and by choice. After realizing that there were many women just like her, Melanie took it upon herself to create a unifying lifestyle platform for the modern, cosmopolitan American woman.
Q: What inspired you to start SavvyAuntie.com, effectively launching the Savvy Auntie movement?
A: When my nephew was born, I realized that there were no modern resources for the cosmopolitan aunt. There were a number of parenting books and online resources, but nothing for aunts like me.
It seemed counter-intuitive. When my girlfriends and I would get together for brunch, much of the conversation was about our nieces and nephews, including what to get them, what to do with them, understanding them, navigating the family dynamics, and talking about our own fertility. So when I looked at the US Census data, I realized that nearly 50% of American women did not have kids of their own.
Q: Can you describe the moment you realized SavvyAuntie-hood was becoming a movement?
A: From the day I launched SavvyAuntie.com, there was a sense that I had hit on something important. “SavvyAuntie” was the most Tweeted word the day I launched the site. It was immediately evident that I had uncovered a powerful niche of women who should be recognized and celebrated.
Q: Why do you think so many people can relate to your message?
A: Just about every woman has a child in her life who she loves and adores, or at the very least, spends her time and money on. When nearly 50% of American women don’t have children of their own, some by choice, some by biology, some who are just not at a point in their life where they are ready for kids and some, like me, who are what I call “circumstantially infertile” – women who would love to have children but have not found a father for those children… well to talk about these women as “less” – as in childless – is unproductive. In fact, these women are childfull by choosing to love children-not-their-own and at a time when parents and children are over-scheduled and overwhelmed, our support is needed more than ever. To be finally recognized for their positive contributions to society, for every boo boo they kiss, every little hand they hold, every hug they give, is incredibly validating.
Q: And I have to know, what is your favorite Graco product?
I love the Pack ‘n Play® Element™ Playard because Auntie can easily tuck it away and store it at her place for a sleepover with her baby niece or nephew up to 35″ tall (almost 3 feet!) or Mom and Dad can use it to travel to Auntie’s place with no worries about the baby’s nap time!
You can follow Melanie’s blog, find her on twitter @savvyauntie, or read her book coming out April 26th, Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids. Look for an upcoming post on the book itself!