They say that raising a baby takes a village, right? Well, all of our villages are composed of different people. For some, the village might be you and your co-parent and maybe a few best friends. For others, it’s a long line of extended family. For those with highly supportive brothers, the village might very well mean the baby’s uncle. I spoke with a few moms on what quality makes their brother an amazing uncle. For some, it had to do with how they interacted with the kids. For others, it was all in the details.
I have an older brother myself, and while I don’t get to see him much these days, I know he’s a wonderful uncle. The main quality that makes him such a great uncle is the same one that makes him such a fantastic brother: he is always there if and when you really need him. My brother has never once let me down. As a child, he defended me from everyone. If a bully was bothering me, he was the first to settle the score. If I was scared of getting in trouble for breaking something in the house, he would always cover for me. As I got older, he gave me rides to see friends and spotted me the occasional few bucks when I needed it. When my son was born and spent months in the NICU, it was my brother who spent the majority of that first week in the hospital with me. For that, i’ll always be grateful.
But my brother isn’t the only good uncle out there. Listen to what some of these other moms had to say about the best uncles in their lives.
“My best friend is male and he is an uncle to my kiddos because my biological brother has decided not to be. He is an amazing soul who is debilitated by chronic treatment resistant depression. But even though he lives in another state, every birthday he photoshops each kiddo's image into their favorite TV or movie character movie poster. They absolutely love it. It makes them feel like movie stars.”
“My brother is awesome because he has no experience with babies but still knows how to be gentle with my son. He's only 18, but when my son is around him you can see some of his selfishness fade away.”
“(My brother) is a great uncle. I think his best quality as an uncle is how he interacts with the boys. He plays with them and wrestles with them to the point the boys don't stop laughing.”
“My brother is 15 years younger than me. The same age gap he has with my daughter. He gets in there and plays with her like they are the same age. It involves screaming and running around, but (my daughter) loves him and considers him one of her best friends and protectors. She was getting a little bullied by some girls her age and, since he was there, she stood up to them.”
“I don't have brothers, but my husband has three, all younger than him. One, Dave, lived with us for over a year when my son was a baby and would watch him for us so we could get out of the house. Dave and his fiancé offer to babysit at least every six weeks. Sam helps foster my son's interest in music by letting him play with his guitar (for real, guy has no problem with a toddler grabbing at it), and sitting with him at grandma's piano. Sam got him the cutest toy trumpet last Christmas. And finally, Solomon, my son's current favorite, seems to spend every family gathering being pulled around by a little kid, and never complains. They are constantly laughing with each other. When my son was learning to talk and trying to understand family relationships, his word for anyone he loves was ‘Uncle.’ He called my dad ‘Uncle Gramps’ once.”
“My brother, Ian, is super close to my kids, and the best uncle ever because not only does he play with them (flying them around the room and such), but also gives them great advice in such a loving way. They love him!”
“My big brother (Geoff) is always present. Anything my son needs, anything I need, he's there all the time. He makes furniture for me, builds light fixtures, helps me move (A LOT), buys me drinks when I'm sad, sends me news when he knows I would be interested, calls to check in on us, takes us out when we need a pick me up or when we are broke, cooks for me and my friends, is just all around wonderful. It's like having a second dad who is super handy and doesn't mind talking about my love life. (Not in a creepy way.)”
“My 2-year-old daughter has a litany of names she quietly says to herself. My brother is at the top of that list. When I told him about it, he said it makes sense because he walks around saying her name all the time, too.”