One of the most common things you start to hear after you become a mom to more than one is "when are you going to buy a minivan?" For some, this might be the epitome of uncool, a nightmare of gargantuan proportion, second only to the pain of having to leave your beloved city to buy a house in the burbs. It is, in a word, "momification." Your whole life becomes momified.
To that, I say: bring it.
Honestly, I get so tired of the essays from women like Salon writer Amy Pennza who had promised herself she'd never get a minivan and then got one anyway. What's the big deal? OK, OK, so I get that the minivan and the suburbs represent a moving along in life. It's a letting go of the old and ushering in the new. It's a goodbye to drinks with friends at 2 a.m. and sports cars that only seat two. Maybe it's because I was never really into either of those things anyway, but I say big whoop.
I am not suggesting we all move to some complacent little suburb in the middle of the country where the nearest "city" is a joke. If that's what makes you happy, then fine. But there are plenty of "cool" suburbs that still grant access to big and exciting cities without the headaches that living in the city can give to parents.
The truth is, the opportunity to live in a house and drive a large car that fits your family is a GOOD thing. These are good problems to have and I have never been a car person anyway. If it's practical, gets good gas mileage, and is roomy enough for everyone to be safe and comfortable, then I am happy. Does it say something about me? I honestly don't care.
At this point in my life, a minivan and my idyllic suburb 20 miles outside of New York City are a much better life than the one I had when I was still living in a cramped condo in the city and driving a two-door compact car that was dangerous for my baby. I am grateful to have a big enough house and a big enough car and plenty of space to park it (no street sweeping! Hooray!).
If you are defined by your zip code and your car, you are probably not leading a very fulfilling life. There is nothing wrong with wanting a nice car, but whether it's a minivan or an SUV, it's really a toss-up.
We will be buying a minivan soon and, personally, I can't wait. Bring it on. I've been waiting for this since the moment my daughter was born seven years ago.
Maybe that means I was never cool, but I actually think it means something else. It means I am too cool to let a car define me. Hello, minivan. Where have you been all my life?
Do you freak out over minivans and the suburbs?
Image via Michael Gil/Flickr