Minivan Mamas vs. SUV hotties

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.
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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?

Pax Christi!

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5 Comments

Filed under family, funnies, Tuesday

5 responses to “Minivan Mamas vs. SUV hotties

  1. Wendy

    We drive cars still…there are 5 of us. My son sits between 2 car seats. He is 14. He’s a trooper and is praying for baby #4 to hurry up and get conceived :). When that baby comes, we’ll be switching to a minivan cause I love me the slidey doors!

  2. Raquel

    I just had my first child in February and I swore I would never get a minivan so instead I bought a crossover. Now I wish I would have just gotten the dang minivan. There is barely any more room than a car would offer and we plan on having many more babies. You can only fit two carseats in there so we will have to get a new car in a few years anyway. I could have saved time and money by just jumping right in but nooooo…I had to be stylish with my sunglasses, frap and SUV/crossover. Conned, again by society!

    • I’ll have to admit, I was almost lured to the crossover… they do make them look so stylish. Thankfully, for us, the ones lusted after were way out of our price range (I liked the Volvo and the Cadillac.) Society is a huge influencer on car purchases… and daddies too. My husband wasn’t too keen on driving the Sienna, but he’s gotten over it. But he will readily admit, if he’d have his way, we’d of gotten the Tahoe.

  3. Crunchy Con Mommy

    I have an SUV but it only fits 5 people! Lol. They look so big but aren’t really. The plan is to pass it down to Hubby to be his work car once we have more kids than can fit in the back. We needed a new car though because our old ones didn’t have the necessary hooks & latches to install a booster car seat, and our current SUV is more spacious than a car but cheaper than something with 3 rows.
    I think I’m pretty uncool though despite my SUV 😉

    • Yeah, that’s how my hubs ended up with the Passat Wagon. I am pumped about the hooks and latches in the van, however, I had to buy an additional tether for The Dragonfly’s seat so we could use the LATCH and keep her RFing. I think you’re pretty cool!

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