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” of 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. In 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.
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…
- Cool is overrated.
- I never said I was cool. Please. At best I’m cool’s slightly odd, plucky next-door neighbor.
- 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, and 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