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Friday, February 15, 2008

Confessions of a Mini-Van Mom

This morning I woke up to the girls asking me if we could go get smoothies and bagels for breakfast.  It was 6:30am.  Even though I was freezing and groggy I said yes.  It's one less meal I have to cook and clean up, and I was in the mood for a bagel.  So I threw on some sweats and off we went.   As we were heading back to the car with our breakfast, I noticed I had left the side sliding door of my mini-van open.   It's only the second time I've done that in the 3 years we've had the car.   I was parked in front of a fancy gym and there was a man getting into his car next to me with his newspaper and his gym bag.   I could tell exactly what he was thinking as he waited for me to pile my kids into the van so he could have better access to his car.  "Another distracted mom with a gaggle of kids and a mini-van."  

I get these looks often when I am out and about in my mini-van.   People make all kinds of assumptions because I drive a mini-van, am followed by three little children and am usually wearing sweats.   Other non mini-van driving moms are sometimes the worst.  It doesn't bother me.  I am not defined by my car.  Would I like to drive something else?  Sure.   Maybe in a couple of years, or when Gloppy out grows this we'll be ready for something different.  But right now, it works for us.  

I can push a button and the side doors slide open, the kids climb in unassisted and the older two buckle themselves.  When I'm in the car line at school, I can open the door from the drivers seat and don't have to worry about anyone smashing their little fingers shutting the door themselves.  On a recent trip to the snow we fit all three kids, me, Mr. Mint, Grandma Nutt and all our gear in the van with no problem.  I don't have to perform yoga moves to get all the kids strapped in when we have a play date.  The girls can easily change into their ballet clothes in the back seat.  If we want to go somewhere for a bike ride, we can fit all three kids and their bikes in the van with room to spare.   I even carry a potty that can be used rather discreetly in my mini-van.

So go ahead and roll your eyes at me when I'm driving too slow or have to pull over to hand someone their snack.    What you don't see is that we listen to everything from Chris Brown to Laurie Berkner to NPR in our van.  I read books while I'm waiting for my kids.  I have interesting conversations with interesting people (some of whom drive mini-vans).  Being a mom is the largest piece of who I am right now, but it's not the only piece.  I'm proud of the young people I am creating.  And I am not embarrassed by our transportation that screams MOM.

Until my mini-van days are over, I'll just put on one of these and hold my head high.


Anonymous said...

What do you mean "pull over to hand the kids thier snacks"? I'd probably just toss them their snack bags from the driver's seat while driving.

I've recently been thinking about getting a larger SUV, to make room for my third child - Sherman the Sheepdog. Now I'm thinking that maybe a mini-van would be a better option...

I'm sold!

Anonymous said...

Wishing I had a mini-van so I could crawl in the back and take a nap!
(friend of Jolly, mom of Princesses Lella and Minnie)

Kirsten said...

I have been known to take nap in the backseat of my minivan. :-)

Anonymous said...

I know I'm totally behind the times in reading this post, but I just found you via some All Mediocre friends....

I just got a minivan about 10 days ago. Four kids. Usually jeans and a white t-shirt. But the same looks. We just got back from vacation and you wouldn't believe the amount of crap we piled into that thing along with seven people. They can glare all the want--I am never turning back.