This Sunday, July 27, is the 6th Annual Auntie's Day, the day I established in 2009 to celebrate and honor the maternal women in a child's life. Aunts by relation, aunts by choice, great-aunts, godmothers and all women who love the children in their lives deserve a day to be recognized and acknowledged. Here's why:
- Nearly half of American women of childbearing age are not moms, more than ever before. A recent national study on moms and non-moms I partnered on with DeVries Global PR, entitled Shades of Otherhood, revealed that 80 percent of non-moms have a niece or nephew by relation or by choice in their lives.
- We don't make much of a distinction between loving kids we're related to and loving our friends' kids. About half (49%) of non-moms have a niece or nephew by relation, and 41% have a niece or nephew by choice.
- Whether or not we want children of our own, we love the kids in our lives.
- Even when we are related to our nieces and nephews, there's no legal obligation, or any obligation in fact, to love and nurture them. And yet we do.
- In a study I partnered on with Weber Shandwick in 2012 entitled, The Power of the PANK®, the term I coined for the growing number of Professional Aunts No Kids, we learned that childless aunts spend on average $387 per child in their lives, per year. Moreover, 76 percent of PANKs spend over $500, per child, per year. Baseline just one child per aunt -- and many aunts have more than one niece, nephew or godchild -- that's $9 billion a year spent on kids we love.
- Lest you think these big bucks are spent just on the coolest new toys , tech and tutus, more than a third (34%) of PANKs contribute to a child's education. That's college savings plans, tutors, even school tuition.
- That's because we Savvy Aunties don't just want to help our nieces and nephews; 45 percent of PANKs have given gifts to parent(s) of the child(ren) in their lives to help them in providing for their kids
- Still, one-third of us admit we're also more likely to give the children more expensive gifts than others in their lives.
- This is in spite of our cautious spending habits, as most of us (75%) say we're more careful with how we spend money since the economic crisis, demonstrating that we are willing to make sacrifices for the kids in our lives.
- We want our nieces and nephews to grow, develop and see the world. Nearly half (48%) of aunts love to travel with our nieces and nephews.
- We're not solely gift-givers of course. Nearly 70 percent of PANKs say that the children in their lives see them as a role model.
- Part of that might be our cool-aunt factor. Thirty-six percent of PANKs say that their nieces and nephews come to them for fashion and trend advice.
- And parents come to us for a helping hand. Thirty-four percent of PANKs enjoy running errands for their nieces and nephews, like walking them to school, taking them to soccer practice, or going with them to the doctor.
- That's because we're kindhearted "BenevolAunts." We're more likely (57%) than the average woman (48%) to participate in community service, charity work and volunteering.
- Our Otherhood survey showed that even though the childless aunt may want her own children, very soon or one day, she is happy and always expects to be. In fact, 80 percent of women of the Otherhood said they could live happy lives without children of their own, whether or not they want children.
- Because of the "Mom-opia" in America, the uber focus on motherhood as the holy grail of womanhood, with celebrity magazine covers touting the latest celebrity or royal baby bump or newborn, studies have shown that it can wear on childless women, making them feel less-than or unnatural for not having children of their own, no matter how maternal they are.
- The circumstantial infertility of those who deeply yearn for motherhood within the context of a loving partnership but remain single, is disenfranchised grief, the type of grief that goes unacknowledged and is misunderstood. People in these women's lives assume they aren't doing enough to find a partner, are too picky, or don't want to be mothers enough simply because they aren't mothers, yet.
- While Mother's Day can certainly make a childless aunt feel left out, most holidays, from Christmas to Easter, Thanksgiving to Halloween, can make her feel disconnected from family and society.
- Many children speak of their aunts and godmothers as a second mother to them, always being there if and when their mother can't be. Some of these devoted adopt their nieces and nephews as their own, officially or unofficially, when their nieces' and nephews' mother (and father) are no longer able to parent. These "ParAunts" sacrifice so much, most often unexpectedly.
- Of course, one need not be living with nieces and nephews to prove one's love. The LDA, long-distance aunt, travels to see those kids and spends time over Facetime or Skype with them, often saddened to have to miss milestones and events in a child's life. Yes, it often means more to us to be there than it does to the kids.
- It doesn't take money to put a smile on a child's life. Studies show that the "QualAuntie Time" an aunt spends with a baby and young child simply through uninterrupted playtime, supports their emotional, cognitive and social skill development, not to mention their motor dexterity.
- The love doesn't end when childhood does. Many Savvy Aunties are deeply involved in their adult nieces' and nephews' lives, moving into the cool Great-Aunt role with just as much love and devotion.
- And parents know that the favorite aunt is always there for their children, through thick and thin. They love their nieces and nephews deeply and unconditionally -- and forever.
- She's the "ConfidAunt" children and teens go to when they don't feel they can talk to their parents. While she's not their mom, she's also not their friend. She's their aunt, the perfect blend.
- Babies are born from the womb. Maternity is born from the soul. There are many ways to "mother" a child. Aunthood is as close as it gets.
Being a cool aunt and role model is a precious gift to your nieces and nephews. Whatever you do for a living, whatever your lifestyle, your nieces and nephews look up to you. It’s a beautiful, if unsung, role that is immeasurably helpful in raising good kids. I know because I have two nephews and a niece. I love spending time with them when I have the chance.
With Auntie’s Day upon us, it a great time to reflect on just how unique being a Savvy Auntie is. You have lots of choices when it comes to creating a relationship with your niece or nephew. Here’s how:
- Role model: You can influence your nieces and nephews by what you do even more than what you say. Often, you are looked up to as being way cooler and more cutting edge than their mothers. As kids’ desire for independence grows, they start to look outside the immediate family for role models. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to help the kids look beyond the influence of the media, celebrities and pop culture. You can share your outlook, wisdom, skills, interests and talents. If your worldview and lifestyle are different from their parents, you provide a valuable alternative perspective.
- Friend/support system: It’s easier for an aunt to be more of a friend. You generally don’t have the burden of parenting the kids, so your relationship can be more spontaneous and more focused on friendship. You may find that the kids will open up to you far more than they do to their parents. You can take on some parenting roles but what makes you cool in the kids’ eyes is the special times you share. You can do things with the kids that they don’t normally do with their parents: take them mountain biking… to the spa… vacations… volunteering… or you can just go sit on a rock and listen while they pour their heart out to you. You don’t have to buy lavish presents to bond with the kids. You don’t have to spend a dime, really. One-on-one time, an empathetic ear, words of wisdom and unconditional love will strengthen the friendship.
- Secondary parent: If you live close by, you may be in the position to help the parents with child-rearing responsibilities. You can reinforce the ideals and core values that the parents are teaching, and your own perspective on life will add a wonderful dimension to parenting.
- Buffer: In difficult situations, aunts can serve as buffers between parents and kids - particularly during turbulent teen years. Instead of taking sides, aunts can be a non-judgmental listener and help each family member see the other side of a disagreement.
You will most likely fall into one of these roles as life unfolds; but don’t think that you “must” take any of these roles on. Just be sure to communicate what you are willing and not willing to do.
On Sunday, July 27, and every fourth Sunday in July from here on, know that you are acknowledged and celebrated for all that you do. Aunthood is a gift. This day is yours.
Bagpipe Appreciation Day
The Bagpipe Appreciation Day celebrates this ancient musical, the Highlands Scottish Bagpipe. This instrument is a quintessential part of the Scottish tradition. The day celebrates the tunes of this traditional instrument that were used to herald battles, usher in auspicious events such as weddings and also to bid farewell at funerals.
The original bagpipes are said to have originated in the Middle East but became more popular in the Scottish Highlands and evolved there. This instrument is second only to percussion in the evolution of musical instruments. Today, the typical bagpipe consists of three pipes emerging from a sac-like bag. These bags are crafted from elk or sheep skin. These sacs fill with air that is released when the musician presses his arm to create the music. There is also a fourth pipe that holds nine holes to create changes in chord and pitch.
All the major cities in the west celebrate this day by holding at least one performance in their town square or town hall. It is worth taking some time off to attend these concerts in appreciation of this ancient musical device.
National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day
National Barbie in a Blender Day is a holiday created by a student group called Freeculture.org that promotes the public interest in intellectual property and telecommunications policy.
It seems that Tom Forsythe, an artist, had created a series of works of art to comment on the crass consumerism he saw around him. He was also commenting on the plasticisation of relationships and the myth of outward perfection. His collection was called "Food Chain Barbie" It was a series of photographs that included "Cutting Board Barbie", "Baked Barbie," and "Barbie Enchiladas." There were pictures of naked Barbies strapped to rotisseries, seated in cocktail glasses, and in blenders. Where Forsythe saw crass consumerism, I saw the objectification and dehumanization of women. Part of the beauty of art is that we can all find something unique in it.
Mattel, guardian of all things Barbie, took Forsythe to court. What followed was a 5 year legal dispute. He incurred $1.8 million dollars in legal fees to in that time. Mattel sued for copyright infringement. I understand their offense at the images in "Food Chain Barbie." The courts in 2004 decided the works were parody or satire that could not be blocked by the trademark laws. The court further found Mattel's case frivolous and unreasonable. Mattel became liable for all Forsythe's legal fees. The court case provided a large amount of publicity to an artist for a series that would have long been forgotten by most.
Barbie in a Blender Day was begun by an international student group called Freeculture.org. Their goal is to support free speech in the wake of the increasing challenges faced by those who wish to comment on society. Nelson Pavlovsky of Freeculture.org put it succinctly, "If you want to talk about the problems with society, all the widely recognized figures are copyrighted. In the past, cultural icons belonged to everyone." Today, writers, singers and artists face the looming possibility of being hauled into court by a corporation if you dare touch on their image. Not many of us could wage a sustained 5 year battle against a well funded corporation. The corporations can silence us by simply outspending us.
WARNING: I could be wrong about this, but it appears that some of these experiments may have been performed by individuals impaired by illegal substances. Do not try this at home!
To raise a child from a little baby to a good and respectful human being is one of the biggest responsibilities of parents. Parents are a synonym for unconditional love and commitment. A parent walk with their children at all the times guides them at difficulty and gives a shoulder in to cry on; and all these without being asked for. So shouldn't this unconditional and pure love and guidance be celebrated, and shouldn't the parents be thanked for the person and guide they are? this beautiful gift of love should always be acknowledged and treasured.
Parents Day, a day to appreciate the love and support parents provide, was adopted in the year 1994. The U S President Bill Clinton, in the year 1994 proposed a day to commemorate the effort and love given by the parents to raise and prepare the child for everything in future. He signed a law resolution and the fourth Sunday of July was decided as a day for "recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children." This law signed into the resolution was also happily adopted by the US Congress. Parents Day celebration was very fast accepted by many part of the world and today millions of children take the opportunity to make the day special and memorable for their parents.
Parents Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July every year and this year it will fall on Sunday the 25th. This is an opportunity to thank for the beautiful relationship and love the parents maintain with their children. Parents Day can be taken to thank the two very important people in your life. Take this opportunity to make them feel special and appreciated and you can do these in many ways; big and small.
Parents Day need not be celebrated with lavish party or expensive gifts. The day is to honor the love, attachment, respect and compassion shown by the very important two people in the life of every individual. So make it a day when they really feel proud of the parents they are and the children they have. Why not spent the entire day within the family? And share some beautiful intimate moments together. Cook up something which both your parents enjoy and make it their day. Talk about all those happy and proud moments you had with your parents and thank them from heart for being who they are and most importantly for making you the person who you are.
You can also celebrate the day by going out to one of your parent's favorite spot and buy them a cone of ice cream or any other little pleasure which they bought for you when you were small. And tell them how much you appreciate all those small and lovely little things they did for you then and are still doing. Tell them about all those little things you love about them and have learnt from them.
Presents and gifts are the best way to say "we care" and so do buy have something to give your parents on this special day. You can give reserve them a table at their favorite restaurant if they like eating out. You can gift them a holiday package to any of their favorite spot or to the place they had their honeymoon. You don’t have to run behind expensive gifts to make them happy coz most of the time a little visit or a phone call would do. You can take home a small gift with you if you are planning to visit your parents this Parents Day. Buy a bunch of your mother's favorite flower and pick up your fathers favorite magazine at the store near you and tell them you care. You can also buy your mother a beautiful scarf, a knitting set or a cookbook or anything you know she loves or will love. And for your father you can get a pen, his favorite cigar or a bottle of his special wine. Anyhow make the gift a special and unique one which says "Just for you." without any words.
Anything you buy them and everything you do on this special occasion should be done with a smile on your face, and love and concern in your heart. And never forget it is not just one day in the whole year when you should be with them, take a few moments every now and then to thank them and tell them… "I could never ever have or wish for better parents than both of you."
Take Your Pants For A Walk Day
When it comes to unusual holidays, July 27 ranks right up there. It's Take Your Pants for a Walk Day! Seriously! While the origins and creator of this annual event are unknown, Take Your Pants for a Walk Day encourages folks across the nation to get off the couch and take a hike! Just don't forget your pants (or shorts or sweats.)
Whether you head for the hills, walk around the block or go for a nice, long jog, today serves as an important reminder that exercise is good for the body and the mind. Turn off the TV and all those handy-dandy (and often annoying) electronic devices, grab your favorite gal pal or fella and go out and smell the roses! When was the last time you really looked at the scenery in your neck of the woods? Life is short - enjoy the view!
Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day
How many people have walked their houseplants? I don't know of any personally. Today I am going to walk one of my plants, and see if it thrives over those left behind.
According to research on the Wellcat Herbs website, either walking plants or having a plant parade will help my greenery know their neighborhood environment better. It is good for plant health and good for humans to exercise. It is like walking your dog, but a new leash in life, you don't have to bag up pet droppings. Yahoo! Internet Life voted Wellcat Holidays as the Strange Site of the Day.
How to take your Houseplants for a Walk
You will need:
- Spray bottle of water
- Collect plants and place them in a wagon. Leave plenty of space so all the plants will enjoy their day out. Tallest ones in the back and smallest in front and take along a spray bottle in case they get motion sick or overheated. This will refresh them and they will prosper with great care.
- Talk to your plants. Explain to Spidey, the spider plant, and Zeb, the Zebra plant, that it’s a good day to stretch their legs.
- Dress up with your plants put on your Sunday best to match that Ivy or Hypoestes in her Polka Dot (plant) best, there is nothing like a sunny day to chase those blues away.
Here is a list of common household plants to adorn your house with, so that next year you can take your houseplant for a walk.
Plan a Plant Parade
If you want to go all out with your plants, then gather all of your Cincinnati neighbors, friends, and family to parade these beautiful plants around the block. Perhaps you can have judging and prizes for best greenery, most flowery, tallest plant, smallest plant, most lush, and best of show.
- This unique holiday is an opportunity to celebrate the little things in life.
- Happy details will keep you and your friends chuckling for years and after all laughter is the best medicine.
- Talking to plants will keep you well rooted and a full life.
- Your yard will flourish while your cynical neighbor will have a barren landscape.
- It is safer to walk with your plants; you can deter criminals by talking and singing to your plants like Mary Poppins when a stranger gets too close.
- Walk your houseplants to prevent anything from Happening; you have watched the movie right?
Warning: If your neighbors sends men with straight-jackets, simply tell them Thomas and Ruth Roy at Wellcat.com suggested it for your plants good health and your own wellness, after all walking is a great form of exercise. In addition, it is safer to walk with your houseplants, it deters criminals effectively, just begin talking and singing to your plants when a stranger approaches and he will not even get close.
Walk on Stilts Day
If you've ever been to the circus or a parade, you have without a doubt seen someone walking along high above the crowd on a pair of stilts. To the common man, stilts are the mainstay of theatrical performers, clowns, jugglers, and that odd looking fellow from the Liberal Arts College in their annual parade. What most people don’t know is that stilts have a long and august history in many cultures, for reasons varying from ceremonial to purely practical. Walk on Stilts Day is the perfect time to learn about this surprisingly useful tools, and maybe try out a pair for yourself!
A Stilt is described as a ‘pillar, post, or pole employed to assist a person or structure in standing above the ground’. While most of us, as mentioned previously, have only seen them employed for the purposes of entertainment, they have also been used in many industries, from shepherding to construction. In some cases stilts are actually employed in the construction of a building as part of the permanent structure. After all, if you find yourself living in a flood plain, upon the beach, or some other area where the ground is less than reliable, what better way to protect yourself than raising yourself above it all?
The process of employing stilts for mobility, however, has been around since as far back as the 6th Century BC. In the Landes region of France, shepherds would use them to watch their flocks from an elevated position, while those who lived in town often used them to traverse the sodden earth in their normal activities. While they fell out of use for such practical uses for many years, recently there has been a resurgence in those industries where there is a need to work at a height further above ground than the worker can reach, and consistently enough where moving a ladder is at best inconvenient. The most common of these is the drywall industry, so commonly used is it, in fact, that a special design, and a name to match, has been put together for them. In Germany they are called Handwerkerstelzen. Or Drywall stilts.
Walk on Stilts Day gives an excellent opportunity for you to join the august ranks of people who have used the stilts for work and play throughout history. If you’re ready for a new hobby that will take you on adventures to new heights, then you’re ready to try out stilts! You can find them at a local supplier, or look online for ready made ones. The truly adventurous can even try looking online to find kits to make them. When you start out walking on stilts, try a shorter stilt to begin with, getting used to having longer legs can be quite the challenge. Then, as you get more and more proficient, start adding height to the stilts! Eventually you’ll be strolling along, with a new perspective on life!
National Scotch Day
National Scotch Day is celebrated annually on July 27 in the United States. While this food holiday (or more accurately beverage holiday) may be limited to those of legal drinking age, it provides an opportunity to honor this much-beloved liquor and spread awareness of the joys of scotch as well as its rich history.
Scotch is typically consumed neat or on the rocks, but is sometimes mixed with simple ingredients such as water or club soda. It is rarely made into complex cocktails, as those who drink the stuff typically like to savor its rich taste. Scotches range from the pedestrian (i.e. cheap) to the fine and pricey varieties, and some are aged for up to 18 years or longer (the older the scotch, the more it is likely to cost).
The exact origins of National Scotch Day are hard to track down, and it is unclear when and by whom this holiday was started. Scotch itself is essentially a whiskey made in Scotland, and nothing that comes from any other country may be labeled as scotch. The history of scotch as we know it dates back to the mid 1800's, when malt liquor was transformed by the invention of the Coffey or Patent Still (created by a man named Aeneas Coffey). With this invention, it became possible to make spirits out of grains rather than malt (as all prior scotches were).
Makers of scotch may promote National Scotch Day by planning events and offering specials on their product, and local bars and restaurants may reduce prices of scotch to celebrate the holiday as well. You can celebrate by sipping on a glass of scotch, and may even hold a scotch tasting with your friends, family and other scotch lovers.
National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
More than six decades ago, courageous Americans joined Korean patriots as they defended their right to decide their own fate. They fought through mud, snow, and heavy fire. As they stood firm against the tide of Communism, nearly 37,000 Americans gave their last full measure of devotion. Thanks to all who served and all who died, allied forces pushed invading armies back across the 38th parallel, and on July 27, 1953, they secured a hard-earned victory. On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor the men and women who sacrificed so a people they had never met would know the blessings of liberty and security.
Yet our gratitude is not enough. As a Nation, we must do more to keep faith with our veterans and the families that stand with them always. Just as they have done their duty, we must do ours. We will never waver in our commitment to fully account for the captured and the missing, nor will we ever stop striving to give our veterans the care and opportunities they have earned.
As we salute the men and women who made this victory possible, we reflect on the open and prosperous society that is their enduring legacy. The Republic of Korea has risen from occupation and ruin to become one of the world's most vibrant democracies. While carefully defending the peace won 61 years ago, the South Korean people have built an advanced, dynamic economy. Today, the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea -- forged in war and fortified by common ideals -- remains as strong as ever.
This progress was not an accident. It reminds us that liberty and democracy do not come easily; we must win them, tend to them constantly, and defend them without fail. As we mark this anniversary, let us show the full care and support of a grateful Nation to every service member who fought on freedom's frontier.