Confessions of a MiniVan Mama

Yep, it’s true. I’ve joined the ranks of moms and dads across the nation who’ve cashed in their cool card for practicality.

No longer can I pull into the grocery store parking lot with a spiffy SUV. On kid-free outings, I’ll no longer be able to convince anyone that I’m just a trendy, young professional or a carefree college student.

My cover is blown with my behemoth barge.

Might as well go tug on those mom jeans and grab a bag of soccer balls.

Yep, I’m a minivan mama. Boo.

Hold up.

Scratch that.

What I mean to say is: I’m a MINIVAN MAMA! WAHOOOOO! I couldn’t be more freakin’ excited!!!!

That so-called spiffy SUV I chauffeured my kiddo’s around in? Yeah, I actually didn’t shed one single tear to see it go.

Five years ago, I would have cringed on my behalf. I was the one who swore I would NEVER get a minivan. I would make any other vehicle work. No. Matter. What.

I would not fall prey to the Caravan Carnivore – the beast that devours style, confidence and moxie with one big gulp. No, I would hold on to my individuality, my spirit, my vehicle until it was torn from my hipster hands.

Back when I landed my first “grown-up” job, fresh out of college and itchin’ to get on with real life, I marked my foray into financial independence with a new car: a two-door, pepper-white-with-black roof, super-speedster Mini Cooper.

Zipping in and out of downtown traffic, my Mini and I made the perfect pair. Working at an ad agency with over 600 people, I was easily identified as the Girl With the Mini. We were inseparable.

I named her Molly. Mountain road trips, downtown dalliances, client meetings and romantic getaways, Molly the Mini saw me through it all.

And then came love, marriage and a baby carriage.

And things changed . . .fast.

How was I going to lug a carseat in and out of a two-door? How was I going to fit a diaper bag, a stroller, a pack ‘n play, and the million other necessities I believed as a first-time mom I HAD to have with me?

And so, it was goodbye Molly, and on to a more practical four-door sedan. It’s okay, I reasoned. It wasn’t a minivan, at least. I wasn’t that mom.

But then as our family grew, so did our vehicles. And my first-time mom instincts from way-back-when were on to something.

Even when I tried to cut-back on hauling around the entire house in our truck, inevitably we were always cramming something else into the back. A wooden walking stick from a nature hike, backpacks filled with coloring books and Transformers, a pile of stuffed animals, fifteen million water bottles and books and crayons and snack cups and papers. So. Many. Papers.

But hauling my kids in and out of our SUV was fine, I insisted. So much better than a minivan.

Oh, so someone parked so close to us in the store lot that I have to do the limbo under the passenger door to get to my kids, and then launch my youngest out the back? Yeah, no big deal.

Oh, my hands are full, lugging a child and groceries, and a toddler is tugging at my other hand? It’s totally fun to fumble for my keys in -30 degree weather.

I need to access the third row? No problem, just take a running start and dive on through the middle – you can do it!

Sigh.

I knew I was beginning to cross over when I would pull into parking lots and look longingly at the other minivan moms and dads causally opening their sliding doors, their kids easily hopping in and out.

I watched wistfully as other toddlers got to the back of the van without advanced aerobatics. I sighed glumly as I watched others pile in groceries and double strollers without a second thought.

But I knew I was a goner during an out-of-state family visit. We needed something that would fit all of us, my in-laws, our niece and our luggage. Our only option was to rent. . . you guessed it. . . a minivan.

Oh, how my heart skipped a beat! I tried to temper my enthusiasm, to remind myself of my so-called spunky, off-beat individualism. To remember I was the mom who would never steer a swagger-wagon.

Yet, try as I might, I couldn’t help myself.

The ravishing roomy interior. The snazzy sliding doors. The alluring accessible third row. The delectable storage.

I couldn’t help it. I fell in love with a minivan.

And so here I am. Nope, I might not zip through downtown streets anymore. And I might not pull up to the stores disguised as a cool kid. (But let’s be honest – I never could pass for a trendy millennial, anyway.)

Instead, I’ll roll in with matriarchal authority, dominating the parking lot with deference from dads and moms

who nod in solidarity.

I will become unnoticeable, almost invisible to anyone younger than 30, as their eyes glaze right over my boring buggy.

I will take on the smirks from the newly-minted moms who swear they will never, ever be me.

And that’s just fine.

I fully embrace my MOM identity, and look forward to my soccer-mom, or dance-mom or whatever-they-want-do mom days ahead.

I’m still the spunky girl who jumps at adventures. I’m still the girl who enjoys random road trips, still the girl who’s up for a romantic getaway, even if it now includes a breast pump and hourly check-in’s. I’m still the girl with the Mini.

It’s just now. . . I’m the Girl With the MINIvan.

And I love it!

P.S. For those of you on the edge of your seats, our minivan has a name, too. Savannah! Get it?! Sa-VAN-nah. …..Okay, I guess I lost my cool card a looooong time ago, ha!

Are you a minivan mama or dad? Do you love it as much as me?!

Pssst....it's me, Stina, the mom behind the blog! I love helping area families Find the Fun, And every now and then, I like to share where I'm at on my own parenting journey, my spiritual quest or my personal experience with an area organization, event or activity. Thanks for joining me!

Feel free to reach out to me at any time - I love connecting with others and hearing from you!


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