I was the first of my group of college friends to have kids, and there were plenty of people who would comment without hiding their snark, "So when are you getting a minivan?!". To them, and to me, the minivan signaled that you had given up and given your life over to the kid zone. It was the ultimate "mom car" and there was nothing cool about a minivan. And I said over and over, to my friends and to myself, I was NEVER getting a minivan. Getting a minivan meant death to everything that was ever cool about my persona, and I would hang on to that for dear life no matter what.
And then, years ago, we went on a trip to Palm Springs and rented a minivan for the week, and it turns out, I kind of loved it. There was so much ROOM, and you could actually walk to the back, you could easily buckle kids into car seats and there was so much ROOM. But I still held out. Child number three came, and I still held out. It wasn't until number four was on the way that I got real about the minivan and gave in.
We really explored all the options too. I just could not see myself driving a minivan, could I? I wasn't that mom, was I? But it turned out that most of the vehicles that would fit four kids were like enormous, and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of driving some giant SUV that felt more like a bus than a car (I am "parking challenged" so no giant cars for me please). The siren call of the minivan got stronger and stronger.
I started to wonder why I was so against the idea of a "mom car" anyway. I mean, I was already fully crossed over to the mom side. I am a full time stay at home/work at home mom. My days revolve around nap times and snacks, sippy cups and breastfeeding. My bathtub is full of foam letters and mermaid Barbies, there are approximately 8,000 pairs of tiny underwear in my house. I can tell you all of the characters on the Disney channel and can identify their sidekicks by voice alone and can quickdraw the remote to put on Frozen at the perfect time when my toddler needs to chill. I have an entire cabinet in my kitchen devoted to little plates and tiny cups, BPA free plastic bowls with farm scenes on them and I know which one is for fruit and which one is for cereal and MAN you'd better not mix those two up or you are in for it. I AM MOM.
The thing is, I used to be sad about what I saw as "losing" a part of myself when I had kids. The "old me" that loved travel and could spend an entire weekend day reading by myself. I felt like my pre-kids identity was something that I had somehow given up, when in reality, I was just growing and changing as a person just like I always did. As moms, for some reason we see this line in the sand as our pre-kids and post-kids selves, when really, we are still that person, we have just grown into moms. That pre-kids self never went away, it just evolved. It became stronger, and more resilient, and grew to include a love that I never thought was even possible.
So I embraced the minivan, big time. I not only bought a minivan, I LOVE my minivan, and tell pretty much anyone that asks how awesome it is. Do I care that a minivan is not "cool"? Nope. I'll roll up to the club (McGregor, to the pool, that is) blasting Peppa Pig from the DVD player, slide open that door and let the goldfish crackers fall out, NO SHAME. Rockin' it to lacrosse practice like a BOSS. I've got three car seats and five kids in there, my friends, and I've still got room for all my Target purchases (and that is a LOT of room).
Do I drive a "mom car"? Hell yeah I do, you know why? I'm a mom, and I love being a mom. I've traded my cool handbag for a diaper bag and I've never looked back. Mom life is the best life, and I will proudly cruise this minivan all the way to the playground and back.