I Used To Want Kids Until I Became An Aunt

Ever since my sister had kids, my whole perspective on them has changed. My niece and nephew bring so much joy to my life, but they also brought a lot of clarity too. I love being an aunt, but I can say with a lot of certainty that it made me change my mind about wanting kids of my own. At this point, I think I’ll be staying childfree forever.

  1. They’re really needy and kind of annoying. One thing I’ve learned by being an aunt is that kids are pains in the butt. You can’t just give them an iPad and stick them in front of the TV and let them entertain themselves. (Well, you could, but that would make you a terrible caregiver.) They’re always wanting stuff and bothering you when you’re on the phone or trying to get stuff done. When they’re young, kids think they’re the center of the universe and everything stops for them. The crazy thing is, they’re kind of right.
  2. They’re exhausting. Every time I hang out with my niece and nephew, I’m literally drained by the time I get home. Last weekend, I watched the kids so my sister and her husband could go out for a few hours. We literally went swimming, played some board games, had dinner, I put them in the bath, and got them into bed and I was absolutely pooped. If being an aunt is this hard, what is it like when you have your own kids? I shudder to think.
  3. They’re dirty, messy, and unhygienic. I won’t even go into the gross stuff I’ve seen my niece and nephew do. Kids are germ monsters at the best of time, but I’m convinced that’s largely because they’re so unhygienic. My sister has taught them well when it comes to washing their hands and covering their mouths when they sneeze and stuff, but I don’t think that makes up for picking their noses and butts and all the other disgusting habits they (and all kids) have.
  4. They’re really expensive. My sister and brother-in-law are constantly shelling out cash on stuff for the kids. Whether it’s because they’re growing out of clothes in, like, two months flat, or because they need new school supplies or want a new PlayStation game, the expenses are neverending. Plus, they’re adorable and you can’t help but want to spoil them.
  5. Your life is literally not your own anymore. When you have kids, they come first 100% of the time. Their well-being and happiness is your number one priority in life and you can’t make any decisions without thinking how it’s going to affect them. It’s a massive commitment to make, and one that’s totally admirable. However, it’s also one that makes me feel pretty chill about sticking with being an aunt rather than a mom.
  6. I see what it’s done to my sister’s relationship with her husband. Don’t get me wrong, their partnership is incredibly strong and they are still very much in love. However, there is a lot more stress now that they have kids. They disagree on certain methods of parenting, and while they always find happy ground, it can take a while to get there. Having two little ones also means less time for their relationship as a couple, and not having time or energy for sex can sometimes cause stress. I’d rather just focus on myself and my partner (if I ever find one, that is).
  7. Kids are much more fun when you can give them back. Like I said, I love my niece and nephew and have so much fun with them every time we’re together. They’re truly awesome little human beings who are polite, thoughtful, and inquisitive. However, they’re also like that so much with me because I don’t have to take care of them 24 hours a day. From some of the things my sister tells me, it’s clear they’re not the darling angels I imagine them to be because I’m not raising them day in, day out.
  8. Being an aunt is the best of both worlds. Seriously, I get to enjoy all the fun parts of being around kids without the stressful bits. That’s not to say that being an aunt means I don’t ever worry about them and want what’s best for them. Of course I do. However, all the most difficult, confusing, and frustrating parts of parenting pass me by because I’m not their mom. I still get to be a massive part of their lives without having to stress about whether I’m shaping them in the right way.
  9. I don’t need my own kids to have them in my life. I do love kids in a lot of ways, and I can’t imagine my life without my niece and nephew in it. However, I feel really fulfilled by my relationship with them. It’s enough for me. I don’t feel jealous of my sister for having kids. I definitely don’t feel like I need to hop on board and experience the same thing. I might change my mind in the future, but being an aunt rather than a mom seems like the best way to go for me.
Two years ago, I moved from New York to London and I've just been trying to figure out life since.