I have the pleasure and privilege of being Auntie to a gorgeous nephew who's nearly 3 and a stunning niece who's just over 4 months. It is a double pleasure spending time with the family because my brother married my best friend and hanging out with them is always special, fun and eye-opening, to the joys and the heartaches of being a parent…
…And the tiredness. The best thing I've found about being an Auntie is that you get to have a rest in between visits. Not that I don't love playing trains, rockets and Fireman Sam very much and always miss my time there as soon as I leave, but you've got to appreciate the sleep that eludes my brother and best friend the majority of the time. Up with my niece until they go to bed and then up with my nephew, if not during the night then at 6am when he wanders down to their room and is ready to play, they are in a permanent state of needing a nap, if not a 48 hour doze.
I've been told you get used to it and I imagine it's different when it's your own children, although I love my nephew and niece more than anything, but it's a tiring day thinking of things to do with them, finding them meals they like to eat (not quite so difficult with the 4-month old... yet), using up their energy (which also uses up yours) and coping with their moods, as well as your own.
There's little time for personal space or your own thoughts when you're a stay-at-home parent of two, or even one. They require entertaining and looking after constantly and, as a parent, you've signed up to that for a good few years. As an Auntie, you're signed up to occupying and taking care of them as often as possible, but also the odd lie-in and recharging your batteries when your body seems to be collapsing on you.
I admire and praise all parents who look after children, either continuously throughout the day or when they get home from work. You must be shattered, but I bet it's worth it. One day I hope to find out what it's like to not go home at the end of the day. But I'm making the most of the breaks while I can