Kids, We're Getting a Minivan.
I'm not proud to say that I'm going to be getting a Minivan pretty soon. I mean, sure... they aren't the old steal boxes with fake wood siding that used to crowd the parking lot of my school growing up, but to me there is that stigma attached to them. That stigma that tells the world, "I've given up on my life, and now I drive a Minivan."
First off, let's start with the fact that I in no way think that Motherhood is giving up on life. As we all know it's the hardest job we'll ever have that we love more than anything else in the world. Of course, I'm also not saying that a Minivan is necessarily giving up on life either. But I can't help but think about all of the Moms that drove those in the 80's and 90's that wore knee socks, bermuda shorts, turtle necks, or *gasp* MOM JEANS while driving their family movers proudly from school to extra curricular activities. When I was growing up, my Mom always looked cool. If she wasn't driving a Porsche (I'm dead serious about that), wearing a Tennis Outfit, and sporting Pat Banetar hair then she was dressed at the height of fashion driving a Benz. Sure, I grew up in a world that is different than most. But what my Mom taught me is that just because you are a Mother, that doesn't mean you can't still look cool and feel good about yourself.
She always drove a car she liked that suited her needs, and while some of them were a bit more exotic then I could ever dream of affording, she still stuck true to herself rather then just give up. All this time, when I've had my Mother-in-Law tell me that just because I am a Mom means I can't wear high heels anymore, or that I have to start dressing more like a Mom I've RESISTED her notions and telling myself that I don't have to be like her, because I can be like me. I've fought hard to prove that you can still be "you" while still being "Mommy." I think that with all of that resistance has brought the fight against the Minivan in me.
As I'm pregnant with number three, and my very nice mid-sized SUV will in no way fit three car seats in it, my husband and I have been exploring our options as to what vehicle to purchase with the proceeds of selling his (very tiny) car. Since we are trying to be smart with our finances, we have decided that whatever car we get will be paid for in cash and will have to be inexpensive to maintain for the next few years. We've researched our hearts out, even had arguments over vehicles! Until one day last week when I was at the mall and they had a Volkswagen Routan on display for all of the shopping Moms to see.
I was in love.
Let's get things straight- I'm not in LOVE with the looks. I mean, it's not bad for a van. What I'm in love with is the amount of space that it provides, the fact that there are power sliding doors I can control with my key chain, power hatch assist (just like my more expensive SUV), and (drum roll please) TV SCREENS. Oh, the TV screens that I swore I'd NEVER purchase with a car are now looking better and better as it's necessary for our family to drive to places like Mammoth Lakes and Phoenix to visit loved ones. And as we all know entertained children are happy children, and happy children are quiet children. Happy children mean happy parents. You do not want Mommy to be upset!
The best thing is that we could pay cash for a mid-range model that has the power doors and the TV screens, and it comes with three years of free scheduled maintenance. At this point, I would be crazy to consider anything else. A car with no payment that I wouldn't have to worry about maintenance bills for three years? I'm sold.
I've convinced myself that, "It's just a large Passat." It's just a vehicle. It's just a major convenience factor for my life, which is about to get MUCH more complicated and inconvenient in the coming months with the addition of number three. It gets a weeee bit better gas mileage then a gigantic tank of an SUV, and it has under floor storage!
The more and more I think about it, this seems to be the vehicle with ALL of the answers to my life's needs. Sure, I still feel like I'm giving up on some little part of me that was always fighting to break free from motherhood. But why do I need to have sex appeal in the car that I drive? I'm married... with children (soon to be many children), and perhaps it's just time that I had a car that addressed all of my convenience issues that come with my lifestyle. So we've told the kids (well, at least "Cabana Boy" understands), "We're Getting a Minivan." All of a sudden we are THE COOLEST parents in town, because our car will have "special" TVs in it for when we go to visit Uncle Billy and Auntie Andrea.
I'm desperately trying to reconcile my thoughts on this purchase. It would be smart, yes! Very smart! But is it a Frump Mobile? If there is one thing that I'm not, it's frumpy. Just make sure you don't tell anyone you've seen me driving my new Minivan when I get it though. Please? Seriously, I owe you already!
Original Orange County Moms Blog post.Jennifer is a mother of two little boys, with baby number three arriving in August! Being a Full-Time Mom with a Full-Time Job certainly keeps her busy, and she tries to find the silver lining in every mortifying, embarrassing, and difficult situation she encounters. Just be sure word doesn't get around that she's driving a Minivan when the purchase has been made! You can also follow Jennifer at her personal blog, or tweet with her on Twitter.