I don’t know if this is a US thing or what. But what you drive seems to “say” a lot about you. And if you are a parent and unless you are only planning on having two offspring, you eventually have to have the discussion:
Minivan or SUV?
And as strange as this may seem, this seemingly inocuous decision will propel you into another world of cliques and groupings where the vehicle you drive can lead others to make snap decisions about you.
On the one hand you have the minivan:
Dude. I can haul a whole basketball team, plus their crap and not wrinkle my outfit!
A vehicle that screams “MAMA ON THE ROAD!” (after all it’s no coincidence that the minivan in “Cars” was voiced by a matronly sounding actress,) they are large, kind of cumbersome and despite all of the revamping and restyling by auto designers, they are essentially large boxes on wheels, but oh! The storage! Being able to haul lots and lots of crap around in your vehicle does seem to be a requirement for any mama. And the slidey doors! You know there are some parking lots that have not been repainted to make up for our ever widening vehicles, and there’s something to be said about slidey doors.
On the other hand you have the SUV:
Hey there. I may never go off road, but I guarantee, if I do, I’ll look so much better than you while doing it.
A vehicle that coyly winks and whispers “Yup, I’ve had kids but I’m still as hot as I was in high school and I haven’t given up!” These vehicles too, are large and cumbersome and some of them tend to roll over at inopportune times and are strangely box shaped as well. The storage is not as great as in a minivan, but when you are paying through the nose, who cares about storage? (and I am lumping crossovers in this category as well. Frankly, I don’t quite get the appeal of the crossover, but that’s just me. After all, it’s really an SUV on a car platform, right?)
I’m a car! No, I’m an SUV! So, I’m a car? Someone help me out, please?!
But here’s the thing… ask a young mother her opinion of minivans and you will most likely get the same answer over and over again, “Ugh. I will never drive a minivan!” I know this because I once uttered those same words. In fact, I was seriously looking for an old skool Buick Roadmaster or some other station wagon that could fit more than 5. Yeah, no luck there. But once The Dragonfly was born, things started getting a little cramped in our Passat. Now it wouldn’t be so bad, but we travel to Wisconsin a few times a year and it’s a good 12 hour drive. And if you are going for some time, you have lots of crap with you. Plus, we like to keep the kids rear-facing at least until 2 or close to that, and let’s just say that we were snug.
So we started our research. My in-laws drive a Tahoe (they live in Northern Wisconsin and have dogs) and I had the chance to drive theirs. I won’t lie, it was nice… being up so high, above all of the cars, but the Environmental Science teacher in me had a hard time rectifying the gas guzzler. I had always dreamed about the Volvo XC70, which to me is more of a station wagon than a crossover, and you can get three car seats across in it, but that’s a little out of our price range. And if we have more than three, then we are in the same pickle. So, that left us with the Minivan.
But you want to know what? I could look at myself as a Minivan Pretty Young Thing (MPYT from here on) because my vehicle, to me, is not a status symbol, but sometimes characterizations are cool. It is a mode of transportation for my family. I’m a MPYT in Spin class with all of my SUV hottie counterparts, and I am equal to them in every way, excepting that I most likely didn’t pay as much for my vehicle. Just because I drive a minivan doesn’t mean that I have to give up drinking my Gin and Tonic or my Scotch or my champagne for White Zinfandel or Wine Coolers. It doesn’t mean that I have to exchange my dresses and skirts for high-waist elastic jeans and a Cat Sweater. It doesn’t mean that I will leave my house without a stich of makeup and my hair up in rollers. I know all of this is true because,
I am not defined by my car.
Whatever you drive, don’t obsess over it. Your car does not make you who you are. In fact, unless they are a pedestrian, or parked next to you in the lot, no one should really be looking at you while you are in your car. No one is better or worse because of the vehicle they drive, as every family needs to figure out what transportation strategy is right for them. Sure, the SUV hotties seem to get more head turns as they speed by but you know what? There is only one man’s head I want to turn and it usually does when I make a lane change a little too aggressively.
What do you drive? Do you feel as if there are unspoken cliques surrounding vehicle choice, or is this just another battle in the foolish Mommy War?