More Than My Minivan

I get it. You don’t want a minivan. The entire idea of it is everything you are fighting against. You’ve given your life to your kids. In some cases, your very body for growing said children. You are a parent and, as a result, you are in a dizzy world you never quite imagined when you decided to extend the franchise of your family into multiple humans. Every part of your life is defined by your kids and damned if you are going to let your car define you too. Minivans are the “Mom Jeans” momjeanssnlof automobiles and frankly, you are far too cool for that kind of unstylish, functional comfort. To maintain your sanity, nah your very identity, you have to draw a line in the sand about who you are and say, “No. I will not drive the parent-mobile.

I hear you. I, too, have been railing against the suffocating confines of the parent/mommy label. It’s kinda my thing to rebel against losing myself to the vast void that is parenting. When I was pregnant with my first, I asked a friend with a three year old if she was going to go back to work as a teacher. Her words still haunt me to this day. She smiled vacantly, like she had been abducted by a mommy cult and had been drinking too much Kool-aid, and said, “Well, I’m a mom now.” My eyes widened. What does that mean? What is she even talking about?

I’m a Mom Now.
Those very words sliced through my core and sent me rocking back and forth on the floor in the fetal position. I wondered if once I had my baby I was going to cease being Meredith, a woman, a damn human being even. Would I, from that day forward, only be seen and known as, Mommy: the entity formally known as Meredith? Would “Mom” be my only definable characteristic? No! I refused to believe that my pre-mother soul would slip away quietly during birth, as if it were in the afterbirth itself. scarlett2In that moment, I knew, gripping the metaphorical soil of the Tara that was my soul, that as God was my witness, I would never, ever only identify myself as a mom.

But, I drive a minivan.

Wait. What?

That’s right. Not only do I have a minivan, I’m on my second one. And get this. I like it.

Cool is Overrated
Before you judge me too harshly or start unfollowing me because you thought I was cool, let me just say that…

  1. Cool is overrated.
  2. I never said I was cool. Please. At best I’m cool’s slightly odd, plucky next-door neighbor.
  3. You think it takes guts to rail against the soul identity sucking of parenting? Well, try admitting you like your mommy mobile. Now, that takes courage.

But I do. Damn it to hell. I do. It’s a smooth ride. I have heated, leather-ish seats, a sunroof, howard2and a fully tricked out dashboard where I get my Sirius XM with Howard Stern on two different channels. Yup. Don’t fence me in. I drive a mini-van. I’m a feminist. I wear cool jeans. I listen to Howard Stern. “Good luck trying to define me, world!” She shouted, fist to sky, to her empty kitchen, as her dog rolled her eyes and went back to sleep.

The SUV Option
Look, I know the SUV is the cooler, less dorky answer to the minivan, but I have three kids, which automatically makes the minivan the better option for space and functionality, which basically boils down to less sibling bickering, which, at this point, is sadly my only goal as a parent. I know what you SUV drivers are thinking…that your cars have everything minivans have. Well, that might be somewhat true, but there’s one thing they don’t have…the sliding door. I love, love the sliding doors on my minivan a ridiculous amount. If you have a minivan, you know what I’m talking about, right? I can park in the tightest of spots and never have to worry about my kids dinging my car or another car with their woefully poor door opening spatial relations abilities. If they made an SUV with sliding doors, I’d be listening. But then, wouldn’t it just be a minivan?

The SUV Delusion
And, let’s be honest, the “I’m not a parent” SUV delusion is not fooling anyone. The jig is up the minute the doors open and we hear you mutter “sonofabitch” under your breath when the kids ding the car next to you. We see the stained Graco boosters and the wasteland of snack wrappers and ground-in goldfish littering the floor that looks exactly like our minivans. We recognize the pungent odor of dried milk from that sippy cup you just can’t, for the love of all that is holy, find. We know, all too well, the lingering smell of old, half-assed cleaned up throw-up. We too have the sad stains on the seats and, somehow, inexplicably, on the ceiling, that chart, in crime scene fashion, the scars of parenting. But mostly it’s the exhausted ghostly look in your eyes that tells us, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’re not some carefree, non-parent out in your cool SUV for a joyride, but a weary warrior of slogging kids to and fro endless activities and sporting events unable to complete a thought or finish a sentence, just like us. Comrades!

More Than My Minivan
I could never fault anyone for not being able to surrender to the minivan, and all it implies. I’m certainly holding out on the Mom Jeans front for as long as I’m able to make the distinction. I assume at some point I won’t know I’m wearing Mom Jeans or I just won’t give a shit anymore. But I think the minivan, and her misunderstood drivers have taken an unfair beating on their image. Yes, we drive minivans. Yes, we like them more than we should. But, underneath all those tons of mommy-daddy mobileness, we are something more than parents. We can’t remember what that is at the moment, but we are sure it’s there and we could think of it if we got some sleep.

Minivan or SUV?
It really doesn’t matter. We all love our kids and also want to hold onto our non-parent identities. The only thing that separates us, really, is the sliding door. And I love my sliding door. You probably would too. And, yes, I love my minivan. But if I write a future blog about loving my Mom Jeans, someone please shoot me.

 

© Copyright 2015 Meredith Trotta

18 Comments

  1. Kristin Gimbert on July 30, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    We’re driving our second Honda Odyssey. Not the coolest car, but it has sliding doors, enough space to allow me to place my children as far away from one another as is possible, and a DVD player. My sanity is spared, and coolness is overrated!! I love your writing.

    • M. on August 3, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks for the writing compliment…and we minivan drivers need to stick together!

  2. Jodi on April 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    What’s lamer (or cooler, depending on how you look at it) than a minivan or SUV? My station wagon with a back-back row that looks out and is probably uber dangerous were I ever to get rear ended.

    • M. on April 29, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Nothing, I repeat, nothing is a cool/lame as a wood paneled station wagon. I bow to your retro coolness.

    • M. on April 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Hilarious. I was afraid to click the link and so glad I did. Just posted it on my Facebook…Join me there! http://www.facebook.com/mblazoned. Thanks!! It’s great.

  3. Kris on March 30, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Totally LOVE my Honda Odyssey!! Have had it for 13 years and getting a NEW one next month 🙂

    • M. on April 10, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Righteous. Crank up the tunes and let your inner cool shine.

  4. Karen Scott on March 28, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I love your blog!! You are so funny. And you speak the truth about all kinds of parenting issues. I, too, LOVED my minivan and didn’t apologize for it in the least. I was the happiest mom dork in the world schlepping my kids around in it. The sliding door is definitely the highlight (works well for getting the dog in their, too)! I have since graduated to an SUV (same cargo room, less dork)…but I still have a soft spot in my heart for my old Nissan Quest. In fact, we had TWO of them!

    • M. on April 10, 2015 at 10:21 am

      Hi karen! Loved your comment. Glad to know you are a minivan lover at heart. But stay clear of the mom jeans! xox

  5. Jen on March 27, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Preach fellow mini vaner!! I too said the same thing, and now, I say the same thing as you do. I love me some sliding doors!

    • M. on April 10, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Who know the sliding doors would make us this happy??? Thanks for taking the time to comment. Don’t be a stranger!

  6. Jess on March 27, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    hell ya sister! Who doesn’t want a built in cooler for roadies and a sliding door?? Stay true to yourself. Your next car won’t be an suv it will be a tiny convertible that no one else can fit in because all the things you need for your life and identity are taking up the front seat!!

    • M. on April 10, 2015 at 10:22 am

      We should totally be friends ;-). Love you!

  7. Michelle on March 27, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    You may feel that way now, but it is a delusion. Your vision is clouded with sticky jelly and diaper crème. Once your kids no longer need you to cart them (and the whole scout troop or soccer team) endlessly around town, you will be more than happy to give it to the first one with a driver’s license. You will be giddy picking out the car you want, not the car you have to choose for the duration of your parenting sentence.

    • M. on April 10, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Ha! You are so right. I can’t wait until one of them drives! Of all my jobs, driver is my least favorite!!!

  8. Amy on March 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I heard that some minivans have these cool “in the floor” storage compartments and some have coolers built right in the floors as well! Features like that, as well as the enviable sliding doors… they make me *almost* want to get a minivan… but, no.

    • M. on April 10, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Almost! Ha!!! Love you Amy…and my mini van does have a cooler!!

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