Thursday, October 26, 2006

Minivan Mom

Learning to drive on a minivan would be enough to scar any teenager. Which is why at sixteen I swore I'd never, ever, never drive one again.

Oh how things change. At thirty - with two kids - I've had mine for two years. I will admit I fought the idea at first. Now I absolutely love the thing. In fact, when DH and I began discussing the merits of trading in said minivan for a car - better gas mileage, lower monthly payments, the kids are getting older - I was surprised to find myself disappointed. There are so many things I would miss - most of all the automatic sliding door that makes coralling two children that much more manageable.

But the very fact that we've been discussing the pros and cons of the minivan begs the question, when did I become the minivan mom?

It's definitely not what I had planned for my life. Sure I knew I always wanted to have kids but somehow I thought I'd miss that PTA Mommy factor.

Apparently not. And the fact that I've just spent my entire day tracking down a wooden picnic table in October (I won't mention how many people bit back laughter when I asked if they had one in stock...) proves that I've truly crossed that threshold. I've become my mother.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Mom. She was a really good mom! But I always thought I'd be different. Not better, just different. And yet I'm not. I spend my mornings rushing to get lunches packed, children dressed, permission slips completed. I write checks, dole out milk money and run to Wal-Mart at 7:45 in the morning because we need icing for our homework.

My life has become a merry-go-round. And I wouldn't change it for a thing. Which is why we've decided to keep the van. Please pray that gas prices stay low.

How is your life different than you'd imagined it would be?



Kathy said...

I'm there with you, Instigator! I have said many times, I won't do this or I won't be like that. It never fails to amaze me but 'out of the mouths of babes....'

I love my SUV! It can carry 7 kids who need to be chauffuered back and forth to their activities. It carries lots of groceries, coolers, tables, and luggage (providing I fold up the back seat). It has endless possibilities, the most important being, I get to sit higher than most everyone else on the road. I like being able to see over cars so I know what's coming ahead. Perhaps that reflects my need to control the situations I find myself in. Who knows? What I do know is this. We all say we will not be a certain way sometimes because, frankly, we don't know any better. Events arise, we seem to blink and vuala! Life is.

Don't be so hard on yourself. While gas is high, the benefits far outweigh the price. Relax, your babes are young. You have a little bit of time left. But don't blink. If you do, you'll find out your team Mom! LOL. Been there, am there, done and have been doing that!


Smarty Pants said...

Lets see, if you asked me 10 years ago what I would be doing right now, my answer would be that I would be working in Washington DC as an environmental lobbyist. I would have a law degree, a townhouse in Georgetown, and I would be making $300000 a year pushing environmental legislation on congressmen.

Alas...I got a little sidetracked.

Angel said...

You know, I wanted to be a Mom from the time I was young. It's the writing thing that surprises me! I always thought my sister would be the writer. I was never "good enough".

Yet now she's a teacher and I'm the writer. I love my surprise job, even though it makes life more hectic and pressure filled.

I'm eventually going to have to become a "minivan Mom", though I think I'd rather have the SUV. Actually, I'd love to have a Dodge Durango. Had one before and loved it! And since my kids will outgrow me by the time they are 8 years old, I'm going to need more leg room. :)


Problem Child said...

I wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan (no offense Instigator!) I can't stand the things--they scream "MOMMY MACHINE!"

It's funny though--AC is quite taken by the idea of a sliding door. DG is about to be shopping for a new car, and AC is lobbying hard for a minivan. Can you see DG in a minivan? Makes me laugh just thinking about it. (Course AC loves my Bug, so I'm safe from the minivan requests.)

But AC doesn't like my hair its current color, so I'm being lobbied in that sense....

Smarty Pants said...

Maybe its unpopular, but I LIKE minivans. My mom had a Chrysler Town and Country and if it hadn't been a lemon, she'd driven it into the ground. It had auto doors on both sides and the hatch. It had heated leather seats. The back row and the middle row were both stow and go, so you could keep stuff in the floors or fold the seats down flat to haul furniture or a tv or something. Plus, if a kid in the back needed attention, the passenger can just get up and get back there without crawling over seats or consoles. I never wanted the 1986 Astro van of my parent's generation, but the newer ones are quite nice. If only it had the dvd system...


krissyinva said...

Alas I too am a minivan mom. When did this happen? Well that's easy, when we went from having 3 kids to 4. Our car just didn't fit 6 people. My hubby at the time tried to get me an SUV but I hadn't ever driven anything that big. We've been through a few(3) minivans since then (the first too were used and pretty old). I have to say that I really like my minivan. I LOVE the push button sliding door,great when my hands are full. I am however ready for an SUV when the time comes to replace my van. My mom has one as does my sister and I have driven them one many occasions. I think as my kids get older (they are 11,8,6 and4 now) and bigger that the van will be too small. SUV's give you alot more leg room. I can't imagine going on a road-trip with the kids in 4 years with us all in the minivan without even taking in account the large quanitity of luggage that would accompany us.

Maureen said...

My son is turning 16 and he informed me that the most uncool car in the world that he will absolutely not drive is a minivan.

Rhonda said...

**How is your life different than you'd imagined it would be?**

Well, for starters, I'm not an intergalactic princess. :-)

I never in a million years would have guessed that I would be a writer. I was supposed to be a teacher. (And with virtually no patience, I would have been terrible at it, so all things happen for a reason.)

As for the minivan, I had one and I *loved* it. Unfortunately, the transmission kept going out and when it came time to get a new car, my dh found my SUV. Now it's my new favorite car ever. Next up, I want a Nissan Pathfinder. :-)

Kathy said...

kirssyinva, I can relate. I have 4 kids and when they were younger and we had to travel back and forth to visit family because we were stationed with the Army far away from home, we had to have something big. For 10 years we drove a Ford Arostar, drove it until the engine had to be rebuilt. We've had our SUV for 5 years now and absolutely love it. When #4 child is 5'4 and #3 is over 6 feet tall, you know you need the extra space! Of course, our two older ones are off on their own but when we were all under our roof, it was necessary to have a big car. Upside, being able to see over the other cars. I can't stress that enough, ladies. LOL. There may be some control issues at stake here.


Angel said...

I wonder if I'm the only person in the world who hates leather seats? What's the point? When it is hot out, you stick to them. Yuck! And you can't clean them well. With kids, that's essential.

krissyinva said...

Angel I hate leather seats as well. In the summer they are so hot and yes you stick to them!! In the winter unless you have heated seats you literally freeze your bum off.

Smarty Pants said...

Well, as a rule, I don't like leather seats cause they're always too hot, too cold, too sticky, etc., but the heated ones were really nice last winter. My mom specifically got leather because she thought it was easier to clean with the kids than upholstery. I haven't done much study to know which is easier.


Sheryl M said...

As a mom of 4 a mini van is a neccessity. However, once my oldest starts driving, I have my eye on this Kia Sorneto that is calling my name.......but as for what I saw myself as when I was litle? Honestly, I don't ever remember planning that far ahead.