The Ironic Momstache

Photo 543
Several weeks ago my car had a near-death experience after months of questionable behavior and thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance. (Three volkswagens later, I have come to recognize a certain pattern involving the number 70,000 miles. I'll give you a hint: everything falls apart.)

Overnight, much like with my (silver with phat rims!) Jetta and (white with cow-print cover seats!) convertible Cabriolet, lemon trees began growing from the dashboard of my Passat Wagon.

Long story short (no, really. I swear) after finding myself hysterical and stranded on the mean streets of Beverly Hills, 90211, c/o engine issues, I made a promise to myself to get me a new car within the year! Within the year, by Joe!

That night, after having my car towed to our local mechanic, (who is amazing, LA drivers. Highly recommended) Hal and I spent the evening browser-window shopping for new cars. Our criteria?

A. A bigger car with an extra row of seats just in case we plan on maybe having a baby in the next year or so.
B. A car that won't make me feel like a total vagina.
C. A car that isn't a squillion dollars.

"Why don't you just get a minivan? Who cares?"

"NO! I can't get a minivan! I can't and I won't! I'd rather drive the kids around in a bike with two sidecars!"

And I wasn't joking.

The minivan talk was nothing new for us. My car has experienced some major angst in the last year and I'm totally over dishing out hundreds of dollars a month of maintenance. Might as well be a car payment! Am I right? Am I right?

I recently tweeted about minivans. Specifically:

"I think the time has come for a minivan. Hold me."

The responses ranged from "Do it! Minivans are awesome!" to "DON'T YOU DARE, YOU WHORE" with a few "Soccer mom" digs and a dozen links to the Swagger Wagon spots Toyota did for their new Sienna. (Remember 'Yo GGC Raps from back in the day? Heyyyyaaaa!)

Mostly people asked, "...but why?"

The minivan to me has always represented all that is over and done with in terms of sexuality and "fun" ... Head-turner, minivans are not, let's be honest and although becoming obsolete is indefinite, nothing says "the selfless endeavors of the sacrificial woman" or, if you will, "mom jeans, womp-womp" like a minivan full of babes.

...I mean, my MOTHER drove a minivan! For a thousand years, actually. (She drove a 90' Toyota Previa until last year when she finally bought a Prius, obviously. Duh. She owns composting worms new car.) But ME? Sha! I'm so sure! I would NEVER allow for the same khakification...

Dunt, dunt, duuuuuuuunt!


I'm not going to lie. I'm image-conscious. I care what I'm wearing. How I might be perceived by friends, strangers. Hell, I live in Hollywood! Where people share studio apartments so they can afford to drive Ferraris down Sunset Blvd on the weekends, windows rolled, Joop cologne blasting...

And even though Hal and I drive a green station wagon (with a George Orwell quotation/Moveon.org bumper stickers) and a heavily dented Honda Civic (with gang signs carved in its steering wheel leftover from when Hal was carjacked in front of Paramount studios on Archer's 2nd birthday) respectively, we still adhere to the Los Angeles code of perception when and where we can.

Okay, so I do. Hal could give two fucks.

Anyway. Back on track: It wasn't until I did some serious thinking that I had an epiphany:

All these years I've wanted so desperately to rebel against "motherhood" in all its Khaki-panted, Zales #1 Mom pendent wearing ways. Motherhood with its minivans and its "get whites whiter!" commercials and its PTAs... which is just so... obvious, you know? I mean... how many new mothers want to rebel against the cliches of parenthood? The need for rebellion against what it means to be "mom" might just be a bigger cliche than motherhood itself!

Rebellion. Sweet, adorable little rebellion. Rebellion is the obvious choice... At least it was when I was twenty-three.

These days I'm starting to realize that the ultimate rebellion is REBELLING against ones own rebellion! In other words: IRONY.

My lightbulb moment lead me to self-suggest that the minivan may very well become the ironic mustache of automobiles as far as moms are concerned and why not jump on the bandwagon before it's even been built! Cutting edge!

Because, let's be real, people. The minivan's no Maserati but it's certainly cheaper and a whole lot more practical. I mean... the side doors open FOR YOU. I don't know about you but I'd gladly strap on a pair of high-waisted khaks to experience that kind of craziness.

At least that's what I keep telling myself in between admitting the following truths:

1. I'm almost thirty. I'm no longer "too young" for a minivan.
2. I do fancy my whites whiter, which means, in a way, I kind of am that mom.
3. I'm confident enough in my almost-thirty-mother-of-two-maybe-more-someday skin to rock the shit out of a minivan.
4. Maybe?

Not that we're committing to a minivan just yet. But considering the purchase of one? Indeed we are.

I mean... at the end of the day, I am a mom.

Photo 544

WTF-ever if I look like one sometimes.

GGC

146 comments:

Raz | 1:16 AM

Do you know what? The only minivans I've ever got in have been showered with crumbs and smelled faintly of children's vomit. So as long as you avoid that, it's all cool.

Melissa K | 2:16 AM

Oh, how I commiserate and we don't even have kids yet. We do, however, have two 60-65 pound dogs that travel with us. We make sure that we vacation to pet-friendly locales and have every intention to continue doing so when we have kids. There is no way that everyone will fit in the Forester when we have one car seat, let alone two, and another row seems like the only option. I don't, however, want some monster, gas-guzzling SUV just to get the additional seating. Mini-vans kind of terrify me, though. Such a first world dilemma, I know, but one that I've definitely thought about more than twice.

jessica | 4:56 AM

or a Honda Pilot- it has an extra row and is so dreamy. My friend has one. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that ain't so grand. It has a lap belt in the middle row! so that means when the 5 of us actually make it out the door together, my almost 7 yr old has to sit in her Sunshine Kids Radian carseat with 5 point harness so that the lap belt doesn't crush anyone's internal organs and kill them.

Rock the mini-van. Imagine how many heads will turn when you all step out like a bunch of gansgstas!

The Neck Goddess | 5:10 AM

I get it. And you can walk in the back of the minivan to attend to kids if need be. All of that sounds utterly practical.

I drive an '04 Highlander and I love it. My last car was a VW and I'm much more of a VW kind of gal, but other than a super nice Volvo station wagon, which I'm not going to get and couldn't afford, I can't think of a better car choice for me.

It's big enough, not obnoxious big. I feel safe, but not like I'll squash you if you get in my way. There's a third row. It rides pretty nicely, though doesn't handle like my beloved Acura Integra did.

Martha | 5:27 AM

My husband and I have a Ford Taurus X (It used to be called a Ford Freestyle from 2005-2007). It is a really great car and has two third row seats to allow it to seat seven, but you can fold those seats down for a bigger trunk. It looks like a mash-up between a station wagon and an SUV. Our feelings on SUVs are about the same as many people's on minivans. We didn't want to go there.

Elizabeth | 5:49 AM

My mom never thought she would drive a mini van either... but four kids with hockey, dance, softball, baseball and a car seat later well the "white rocket" definitely came into being. It was also a true test of our driving skills when the time came for our driving tests. (And considering my mom went minivan>suburban>fit I think you'll be okay) also that thing lasted forever, literally the only reason we had to send it to the great car lot in the sky is that two years after my brother rear ended someone I was driving down the highway and the hood blew up and wouldn't go back down (at fault of my dad's awesomely cheap "lets just zip tie it" plan that only barely worked for the time before that). The minivans last forever... and are awesome for lugging luggage/sports bags.

Lisa | 5:56 AM

two things from a non-breeding MINI driver:
1. I once went on a business trip with my boyfriend and selected a minivan from the National Emerald Aisle so that we could run off and make love in the parking lot by the beach. No having to wrangle seats to get that extra space!

2. They are easy to drive, fuel-efficient, well designed, and easy to use. I honestly don't know why anyone who hauls people or stuff would elect to drive anything else.

jlene18 | 5:57 AM

We recently rented a Kia Sorento for a trip home, and it has a third row of seats that folds down as well (plus, the secon row can hold a baby seat, booster seat, and a short-ish adult - all of my 5'4" - if needed). I felt the same way about a minivan, so I was pleased with the Sorento (and, as others said, other brands make similar vehicles). Why not try renting a vehicle for a few hours (even if it IS the 'dreaded' minivan lol) to see how you'd feel driving it around?

Danielle | 6:02 AM

Holy cow, my husband and I are having the EXACT conversation right now. We have two under 3 and we drive a Kia Rio5. That's right, a tiny tiny hatchback. Today we are driving 10 hours to Toronto in our tiny car. We plan on more kids, so we must get a bigger car. I've detested minivans my entire life but I just realized last week that I, too, can rock the minivan. Now I just need to find the money to buy it.

Melinda | 6:06 AM

My husband talked me into a minivan. I was reluctant because I have never driven anything but compact cars before and well it was a minivan! Now that I have had the Dodge Grand Caravan for over a year now I am totally in love with it. It has everything: automatic doors, moonroof, DVD player that drops from the ceiling, stow and go seats (those bins are great for hiding shopping purchases by the way) and best of all I can haul my family, dog and then some anywhere. I will never go back! I can't believe I fought against a van for so long.

famousamy | 6:08 AM

I totally know what you mean! I had the same fight with myself for the last couple of years. I grew up loathing minivans and I swore up and down that I'd NEVER EVER NEVER get one!

But this year we found out we'll be adding a new child to the family. After driving my daughter around in my little Chevy Cavalier for the last 3.5 years I found the need for space and the ability to haul more things/people overwhelming.

So I gave in and started researching vans. And you know what? I was mesmerized by the awesomeness that is the "sto-n-go seating". I started to fall in love with the idea of being able to haul my kids, not get a backache from bending over to lock in their car-seat seatbelts, and be able to put the seats under ground in order to haul bigger things.

In the end I bought a 2007 Chrysler Town & Country just a couple of weeks ago and I LOVE IT! Take that 20-something me, you stupid kid. What did you know? :-)

Em | 6:30 AM

Hello, coming out of lurkdom for this post. Why? Because I could have written it a year ago. Well, some of it, particularly, the "I will NOT drive a minivan" part.

Guess what? Oh yes, I drive a minivan. And it's great. With two large dogs, a daughter and one on the way, well, you just can't beat it.

Sure, it took me awhile to get over the shock of "Holy shit. I drive a minivan," and I also couldn't believe I had become *that* mom, but get over the shock I did, and I can't imagine another vehicle working better for our family.

Acceptance: http://www.littlebitsandmore.com/2009/07/still-in-shock.html

Tara Beara | 6:34 AM

This is why I live in NYC--massive amounts of public transportation and no need for a car!

jive turkey | 6:43 AM

You have made me understand my rage against the soccer mom machine more than anyone else on earth. Thanks.

A minivan can't change how fucking awesome you are. End of story. Do what makes life easier.

Also, minivans are responsible for one of the best lines in Juno: "Did you hit someone with the Previa?"

Kara | 6:48 AM

But But But the ENVIRONMENT! Mini vans are not-so-mini, my friend. And you only have two kids! It was just my sister and myself and we never had a minivan and it was totally fine. (I hope that doesn't sound all "we had to wear metal underwear and trudge up two hills of snow!" grandpa-tastic,) but really. The bike with sidecars sounds like a much better idea.

Naturally Single Mom | 6:56 AM

Hey! I have composting worms, and whenever my car decides to die (it's a 7 year old Camry, but I'm sure it'll live for much, much longer), I SO want to get a Prius. Must be the worm poop that does it to us. ;)

I think if I ever got a minivan, I'd feel the need to wear well-fitted, low-waisted khakis with heels and full-on makeup and hair every time I got out of it. You know, to avoid being THAT kind of mom.

Anonymous | 7:15 AM

I swore I would NEVER drive a minivan. When I got my first 'real' job, they let me know one of the great perks was a company car...minivan! They are super practical and the room is great, and I dont even have kids.

Fernanda | 7:17 AM

I don't understand that!!
I live in Brazil, were minivans don't exist!!!
And me and my husband payed big $$$$$$ to import one from the US!!!
They're big and comfortable and I think that should matter more than what you look like in it!

Chrissy | 7:32 AM

Oh, get whatever floats your boat. We had a 94 Aerostar that looked like a friggin' AT-AT from Episode 5 with four wheel drive that used to haul pilots up to Talkeetna, AK from Palmer, AK. Thing was a tank with decent gas mileage. But guess what? A car or van or truck is just that. It's not an extension of YOU it's what gets you from a to b. I've never gotten the whole car/image/soccer mom/minivan/hotrod/middle aged crisis sports car sh*t.

*Amy Leigh* | 7:34 AM

OOoooh, at the ripe ole age of 25 the hubs and I decided a minivan was the path for us...We have extremely harsh winters and I was having trouble navigating my 2 month old in and out of my SUV (which I loooooooved!!!) I didn't wanna be "that guy" and get a minivan, but I looooove it! I have a white Nissan Quest and it is very sexy, and sooooo fast. Amazing.

And my brother-in-law gave me the best advice ever, he said, "Amy, face facts-- when you are walking away from your car, pushing a stroller and carrying a diaper bag, with snot on your shoulder because your kid just used you as a tissue, it doesn't matter what you're driving, everybody knows you're a mom."

And don't even get me started on their safety features...amazing.

Beth | 7:37 AM

I have to put in my two cents. I am the almost thirty year old mom with two kids and possibly more and I HAVE the mini van. You know that part where you talked about the doors opening for you - um yeah, God send. After having that feature, I could never go back.

I was also in the "Oh Hell NO!" group when it came to minivans but after I had the second kid (and thinking about the third), it was the most practical, honest choice. Good luck with your search.

Dari | 7:39 AM

AHHHH I HATE minivans and I am from Utah for hell's sake. Maybe that is why I hate them so much- you get married, pop out a kid, and buy a damn minivan. I don't judge those who drive them, obviously. I am sure they could be convenient and comfy but there are SO many other options and I choose the other. I think we will stick it out with our cars when the second kid gets here and then at some point we will have to move into a smaller SUV or a Subaru wagon {my dream car!}. If you go with the minivan I will still love you, but just consider your more asthetically pleasing options as well HA HA ;)

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 7:42 AM

Yeah. We have two dogs, too. So it's been a rough two years with two kids in the backseat, two dogs in the trunk and luggage on our laps when we do the monthly San Diego trek to hang with my parentals. We're definitely going to need a bigger car and unless we went with a hybrid SUV (I'd love me a Highlander Hybrid but mucho pricey) minivans have better fuel economy than SUVS and cross-overs. (Unless you go Hybrid, which is what we'd like to do. We'll see where we are money wise in a few months.)

Jenn | 7:43 AM

My husband and I are having the same discussion about replacing our Malibu, except he wants to upsize to a Sorento for the extra room and I want to downsize to the Honda Fit to save the environment. He says we need more cargo space and I say we don't because we'll just end up taking along a bunch of stuff we don't really need when we travel. It's a stalemate.

Dari | 7:45 AM

P.S. Please forgive my spelling error. I guess I was all worked up.... ha

candace | 7:46 AM

I just have to say, the biggest assholes in Brooklyn drive minivans, and normally driven by either a Hasidic dad or a Hispanic dad. I'm not saying that either is an asshole based on his ethnicity or religion but both groups in my hood have enormously large families and need minivans.

Anyway, something happens to a dad when he gets in a minivan, something deranged comes over him. For some reason, the minivan represents a big giant armored penis with automatic doors! It is an excuse to run you off the road (whether you are walking, riding a bike or driving) and drive 500 miles an hour.

I mean, in a way, it makes sense, if you have 10 kids (not exaggerating) then driving around in your minivan is a representation of just have fertile/virile you are. I rarely see moms in khakis, or any other type of pant, driving minivans here. So depending on where you live, you may just be joining the ranks of so many an aggressive, seed-spreading father!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 7:48 AM

Yeah. Trust. I'd drive a SMART car hybrid that ran on bio-diesel if I could. But if we're going for three kids in the near future with two dogs? There's just no way.

And the sad truth is? My station wagon is about as fuel efficient as all the minivans on the market right now. German cars are massively heavy and VW has yet to put out a hybrid or a car that runs well past 70k miles or else I'd totally go VW. They're my favorite LOOKING cars for their price point.

Korinthia Klein | 8:01 AM

I didn't want a minivan either, but there was no good alternative when we had that third child because nothing else could hold three car seats and still leave room for having anyone else along for the ride.

My minivan recently got crunched and has been in the shop for over a week now. Oh my god do I miss the minivan! My oldest is big enough she doesn't have to have a booster seat anymore, so the three kids cram into the back of our tiny Hyundai and their squeaky little games are so much louder right behind my head than they were three feet behind me! I miss being able to get something in the car besides kids. I had to get a giant box from the post office the other day and had to have a friend meet me there with her minivan to get it.

In any case, you can pull off a minivan way cooler than I do, and you won't believe how much easier it is to transport kids and their friends and kid related things around. There is a real freedom to it that is great. Get some way interesting airbrush fantasy painting on the side if it helps, but I don't think you'll regret having it once you get it.

(Damn I can't wait for mine to get out of the shop!)

Baby in Broad | 8:02 AM

Moment of honesty: I want four children someday, but I also don't want to give up my spiffy little (completely paid for!) hybrid car. I'm not proud of this, mind you...

Amber | 8:02 AM

I have a mini-van...but I don't wear mom jeans. I get checked out all the time! So maybe if you continue with your upkeep and awesome wardrobe...you'll still get the looks...and still got lots of sex. I know I do. :) (from the husband, that is...not the dudes waving and winking :) )

Dayle | 8:03 AM

Read your post, went to sympatico to read random news...came across this article! Perfect!

http://autos.sympatico.ca/photos-videos/5266/nine-not-mom-cars/

Therese | 8:05 AM

I live in KY and totally have the same image conscious issues about a minivan. I definitely see how it would make my life easier, but...so uncool! Anyway, if you were to get a minivan, the cool factor might go up for me! :)

Velma | 8:08 AM

My 2004 Toyota Sienna has 105K miles on it and we are thinking about what the next car is going to be, which has led to approximately a million conversations about why DOES NO ONE MAKES A HYBRID MINI-VAN?!?!

Seriously, though - we'll probably get another Sienna. And if you decide to go with the Ironic Mini-Van Plan, why not pimp out your ride a little? I'm thinking flames down the side doors you can open remotely from your keyfob...

Alexis | 8:09 AM

All the doors open by pushing a button!

I mean, that's pretty rad.

brklyn | 8:10 AM

I've got 3 kids and a dog, and married the best mechanic in town. We buy and sell a lot of cars, I've driven a lot of cars. Right now I'm in a 2005 Land Rover LR3. Before that was a Town and Country mini. I hated the way I looked in the mini.
That's the only bad thing that I could say about it. I love the shit outta the Rov with the 3rd row seating and 400 airbags and the (no shit) fridge in the centre console for storing my lunch when I'm doing mum commuting all the live-long day. BUT--the thing is, no matter what car I'm driving, I'm still stuck at the same red lights, still hauling the same stuff to the same places. What matters to me is more function than form these days. I'll take it as a sign of my maturity. I'm 30 now and no longer have to stick it to the man, just get my kids to guitar lessons safely and on time. My vote's for mini.

Anonymous | 8:13 AM

Mazda5. Has a third row of seats. Looks like a compact car. Not the sexiest car but not a minivan. Also easier to find parking spaces for.... I don't drive one, but am considering it for my next car purchase.

Anonymous | 8:13 AM

Mazda5. Has a third row of seats. Looks like a compact car. Not the sexiest car but not a minivan. Also easier to find parking spaces for.... I don't drive one, but am considering it for my next car purchase.

Tanna | 8:21 AM

I second Jessica's suggestion, Honda Pilot. I have one and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I have had it since 2006 and have yet to covet another vehicle. Yes, it is momish, but I don't think as a minivan. The doors don't open for you but you can fit 3 kiddos in the second seat, and their is a fold up/down third row. I've come to use it a bit more with my boys growing and wanting to take friends places. That third row however is NOT adult size friendly. Knee biting if you get what I mean. My cousins have the Honda Odyssey and LOVE it.

jenifer | 8:23 AM

its JUST a car, so really, who the fuck cares what anyone else thinks. Cars are simply about logic- getting to one place to another, being able to hold all our stinky crap including kids and being reliable. I drive a toyota 4 runner- a total mom car and maybe one step up from the stigma of mini van. Thank the lord for that car cause I can hold the world- meaning it functions and is practical for my life and when it comes to a money and time waster like cars- it rocks! plus, after 4 yrs I have never dealt with issues that weren't self inflicted.

our old car was a 1980 mercedes that ran on vegetable oil.
Green in every way but sooooo not comfortable or functional when it comes to family. we keep it even by having a small used honda accord to balance out our damage, ha!

Issas Crazy World | 8:24 AM

Dude. You don't need a mini-van. Not unless you plan on having triplets the next time around. I have three kids. I have a Hyundai Santa Fe. It's a small SUV, not a gas guzzler. There are soooooo many prettier options than a mini-van. Truly. Look at Suburu Forrester, Hyundai Sante Fe or Tuscon, Honda CRV's. All good, all reliable, not out of this world expensive. I looked at Ford Escapes too. But dam those things are pricey. Gas guzzling too.

On the VW? I am so with you. I just traded mine in about 6 weeks ago. 80k Miles and I'd fixed it about 6 times, to the tune of 800 -1000 bucks each time in the past year. So not worth it. I loved it, but it had to go.

Anonymous | 8:25 AM

Where I live, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, all the minivans are tricked out with fancy hubcaps, undercar lights and detailing. I'm not sure that the men who drive them even have kids!

Amanda | 8:28 AM

Totally agree on the Mazda 5 if your going for a semi-mini van. My aunt-in-law bought one after her VW went out and as VW fan she said the Mazda was awesome.

My car, in size, is like the antithesis of a mini van. We're rocking a Hyundai Accent hatchback and let me just say, sometimes, like when I'm all hunched over and lifting the 36lb toddler in his car seat, I wish I had thought of the Mazda. When we went to Ixtapa we found out her Mazda could hold 5 adults, one toddler in his carseat and all of our luggage. It may be the amount of room you're looking for if you don't want to pull up in a behemoth steed.

Nutmeg | 8:32 AM

RE Fuel Efficiency: Most minivans are getting mid-twenties on the highway. In a MPG per person game, they are certainly the most efficient way to go if you are going to have three kids (and can't see yourself putting three carseat/boosterseat/belt positioners lined up across a backseat.)

The biggest problem with MPGs are really Single occupancy vehicles. Me and my son in my prius would be doing no better than Rebecca and three kids in a minivan.

I think it's hard to compare things to when we were kids and what our parents did. Cars were bigger in general (and you could sit four kids across the back bench of a sedan), no one was wearing seat belts, kids could ride in front seats, and we weren't keeping our kids in booster seats or five point harnesses until they are 8. I don't think we SHOULDN'T be doing those things (I hope that is clear, since I kept my kid rearfacing until he was 3), we obviously know better now (not to mention there are many more cars driving much faster now than when we were kids).

So, saying that a family of 7 used to do just fine taking week long camping trips with a station wagon (and I know they did) isn't the same world we are living in now.

I'm just saying, if you need more room than two rows of seats gets you? A mini-van wins over an SUV.

Anonymous | 8:47 AM

Check out the Mazda5. It has a 3rd row that is big enough for kids. But the car is narrow enough to fit in compact spots. Size wise, it's the same length as a Prius. And the price is awesome. Unfortunately the doors don't open for you though - not even on the top of the line edition.

cora d | 8:57 AM

I feel you! My spouse and I just - like two weeks ago - went through this. We looked at the mini-vans, we did. But, we went with the Toyota Highlander. Aw yeah. Granted, where we live, snow is a factor, so AWD is a must. Beyond that, though, it's awesome. Third row seat that folds down flat. Roof rack - hey! Very comfy - lots of space for the kid and dog. Our friends with two kids and a dog also have one. We managed to pile in with them - three car seats, four adults (no dogs) and were all comfortable.

And (drum roll) - spare tire. Minivans, I think, don't come with those. Again, a must when living in a rural area.

We got a 2005 certified used Toyota and it's a limited edition, which means leather seats, which means a cinch to clean-up.

It's my swagger wagon. We're getting a license plate that reads "Team D". Yo.

Jessie-Lee | 9:01 AM

Dude, just say no to the minivan. Don't cave you will totally hate yourself forever. Get a Toyota Highlander, they are just cooler and they have the third row. Again, just say no.

Erin O. | 9:03 AM

Just last month we traded in my beloved Passat wagon for a used Honda minivan. I definitely feel a lot less cool driving it, but the kids love it (we have 2) and the whole "doors open at the push of a button" thing is so so so so so so great. Also great is the AC controls for the kids in the back and the tinted windows with attached sunscreens. I felt like I could never keep the sun off the kids in the VW, especially here in LA.

Anonymous | 9:12 AM

have you written anything about perceptions? Like of you as a mother by others? I ask because I am 28 and just had my second child and I find myself being stared at (i think), and in my mind its from the way I look. I look young, like 5'3" 100lbs., so basically I still shop in the juniors section. I am having some confidence issues assiciated with it, like I find myself lowering my head so 'i think' people can't see me, or avoiding eye contact. I mean, I love my girls and they make me feel whole but I want to get rid of this feeling for their sake if not my own.

ell_soprano | 9:29 AM

Hi Rebecca! I am a long-time lurker, but I just had to comment on this post. First, I want to say that I love your blog and knew that there must be a reason:). You and I are the same age, your daughter and my son are the same age and guess what; we have not one, but two VW Jettas currently. I am so there with you on the VW's not lasting much past 70K miles. They are so hit and miss. My 1.8T is currently sitting in my garage DOA for about the zillionth time since we bought it, but my husband's TDI that is pushing 200K mi. still gets 45+ mpg and runs great. I am totally dreaming of a Minivan now too. Want to have another baby, but it is next to impossible to fit two adults and two car seats in a Jetta (without having everybody’s knees up around their ears anyway). Can't wait to see what you decide to get!

Mars | 9:33 AM

Get a Toyota Highlander/ Hybrid.....
they are snazzier than a minivan but when you drive them they feel kind of small... test drive one!

but also, I grew up with minivans, love minivans, and feel like I am in a rocket ship when I drive them! plus you can pick up cool furniture from the side of the road in them... I am just not sure if there are any hybrid minivans....

Jess | 9:37 AM

I...even with two dogs, don't see your need for a minivan. The gas they chug is crazy. Perhaps a wagon would be a good choice. There are three seatbelts on that back seat. I have 3 children and we've been driving a Ford Taurus. They all fit comfortably. We're getting a minivan just now for our fouth child. I urge you to reconsider getting something that guzzles gas when you can get by with something smaller and more efficient.

Tiffany | 9:39 AM

I've been a mom since I was 18. Three happy kids later, two dogs (one who is 100+), two months from being 30 and I still can't rock the minivan. I love, LOVE my Yukon. And the gas milege isn't so bad. And I literally fill all 8 seats when I'm doing daycare. If I had it to do all over again I would get the suburban. Once they get bigger, they get into sports and all the gear, plus a few friends? The extra room would be nice.

My sister has the minivan and she just turned 25. She loves it. I really think it is just the individual. I would say test drive and research lots.

I was pregnant with number 3 the first time we test drove a minivan. I wouldn't drive it and I cried in the passenger seat the whole way. Of course I was a little emotional ;)

Lolly | 9:43 AM

Sorry Rebecca, but irony isn't rebellious for your generation. Ironic use of things from my generation (Gen X) and your parents' generation, is what twenty-somethings are ALL ABOUT these days. That said, I think your minivan choice is cutting edge because it is honest, not ironic.

Amy | 9:47 AM

I drive a Honda CR-V which I guess is just a minivan masquerading as a compact SUV. I bought it back in the day when I neeeded something to lug around film equipment and now I lug around the toddler and her paraphernalia. I love my car.

Liz | 9:56 AM

Who is your amazing mechanic in LA? I thought I found one, but then it turned out that he wasn't great (read: bad brake pad installation...scary!)

GratefulTwinMom | 10:00 AM

I was in this exact position a couple of weeks ago. So could/would not do the minivan. Opted for the Ford Flex. It's exactly what I wanted. A lot less like "a total vagina!"

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:07 AM

Liz - I linked to them above. It's Pinkys on Melrose/Wilcox.

Anonymous 9:12 - re: identity issues. I wrote an entire book about that! Ha! I suffered from serious "who am I? what is my place as a mother, woman, wife" for years... I think I still struggle with it to be honest, but I'm positive we ALL do. I wish we felt compelled to discuss it more as a community in our day to day.

I think confidence in our choices and who we are comes with experience, time... taking care of ourselves, nourishing our creativity, finding like-minded friends with more in common than "we both have kids the same age!"

I wrote a lot (both here at GGC and in Rockabye) about how frustrating it was being confused as the nanny every day and being treated like a child by my peers who were sometimes a generation older than I was. I no longer feel that way.

Maybe because I'm older. Maybe because I spent the last five years figuring a few things out, but I feel totally secure as a mother. I can say the word "wife" without gagging. I know who I am and what I want and away I go... I don't have time for insincere people or experiences so I avoid them now rather than cower.

Time is magic like that.

dietplaid | 10:23 AM

Hey, nothing wrong with a minivan as long as you pimp that shit out. This means flames painted on the sides or doors that open like a Delorian, NOT those damned stupid stickers of a man, a woman and kids that represent your faaaaaaamily.

Spinning rims will do wonders for a minivan too.

gypsy | 10:25 AM

You can rock a minivan. You really can.

That said, I'm 36 and I still feel too young.

I drive a Jeep Liberty, pretty much a grocery getter.

I don't know what has a third row of seats other than a minivan or a Suburban.

Suburban? What does THAT say in LA??

Cláudia | 10:35 AM

Let me just say, from the beginning, that I’m probably missing the point. I’m not planning on having kids and I live in a totally different place where I think that we don’t depend so much on our cars. The only time our parents had me and my two brothers in the car at the same time was on vacation. On school days, everybody took the bus. I have to say that if you asked me in the first place, before reading your list of pros and cons, I’d say “Hell No!” To minivans, to jeeps, to SUVs. SUVs are not so common around here but I have to say that whenever I see a mother on her Jeep riding around town I can’t help it. I’m judgemental. They’re made for the countryside, for the mountains, for “off-road”. It’s just so aggressive to ride them in town. It looks like a demonstration of power or of a certain class status. If you hit someone while riding an SUV you hit them at a much higher place in the person’s body which is potentially much more dangerous than when you hit someone with a regular car. And I can’t help but think that indeed minivans are not cool. What can I say? Do kids really need all that space? Isn’t yelling at your brother because he’s “obviously crossing the (imaginary) line between my seat and his” the whole point of being in a car with your siblings? I’m just kidding, I can see how 3 kids and 2 dogs can be too much for a regular car. But I think I would go with a station wagon. Even if I also think it’s a bit crazy that so many of my friends buy a station wagon as soon as they have one (one!) kid. It’s like “we’re family now!” It just is what it is and it’s easy for me to talk: no kids and no money!

Anonymous | 10:36 AM

I second (or third or fourth) the Mazda5. I have a Sienna for my four kids, but my mother-in-law just bought a Mazda5 for my wheelchair-bound father-in-law, and it's awesome. It is being redesigned for 2011 and I think it will now offer automatic doors. Also, it gets really good mileage (22/28).

And regarding the image that comes with driving a minivan--gimme a break. You are who you are no matter what you drive.

Summertime | 10:37 AM

I want them to make a hybrid Ford Flex. Three rows of seats, decent room in the back-back (two dogs, two kids, lots of space needed), not toooo ridiculous pricey, and they aren't an f'ing minivan. They're almost cool looking. But-- they only get like, 19 or 20 mpg. Not good enough if I'm going to buy a new car.

Kaitlin | 10:57 AM

My husband and I just had this discussion about 4.5 months (baby is 3.5 months...). I didnt want a minivan and neither did he. I did however want 3 rows of seating...so we got the Dodge Journey. I love it. I recommend it completely, especially if you dont want the soccer mom look...

Dee | 10:57 AM

I too rebel against being one of "Those Moms"! I am not the cliche Mom, but I am a Mom. Embarrassingly enough, I have even claimed publicly that I am not a mommy blogger, only to then realize that close to every post I make, mentions or is all about my 3 boys. I am even against the mini van situation, even if once my boys are older we have to split up and take 2 cars to an event! In other words you are not alone! =)

MollyStar | 10:59 AM

Thank you. I have the same serious anti-minivan-ness, bad. Hmmm...ok. I'll consider this twist. Mayyybe. Just mayyybe. If the van had a few rockin' decals or a pin stripe or something...wow. I've never even taken an itty, bitty, teeny, tiny, microscopic step in the minivan direction... until reading your post. So, thanks, in a way. Because they are pretty practical, eh?

Anna | 11:03 AM

We did it, too. I was a proud owner of a Passat Wagon until the maintenance on said wagon was $3000. I had just paid the loan off.

I thought $3000 was better spent on a newer vehicle, then found myself test-driving a minivan, and falling in love with it. (I was 7 months pregnant at the time.)

My reasons for buying the minivan? Kid #2, possibly kid #3+, and not having such an insanely high cost for maintenance.

Once we strapped the carseats in to the tether points on the seats, I was truly sold. No ill-fitting seats for my kiddos!

Then I cut off all my hair and dyed it orange. No MiniVanMom look for me! Plus, a friend reminded me all the "MiniVanMoms" moved on to SUVs. All the cool moms drive vans now.

leila | 11:18 AM

I'm not American, so I don't quite understand all the baggage that a minivan holds, but we have a small child and LOTS of friends and family coming to stay with us every year. We needed a bigger car than our Pontiac Vibe (aka Toyota Matrix). So we got The Mazda 5.

I am a brand new driver, also nearly thirty, and live in middle-American suburbia, and I love this car. It feels so roomy but it looks about half the size of other minivans (so intimidating).

It's distinctive looking, which makes it easy for me (a total non-car-person) to spot in parking lots, etc.

If you fold down the back two seats, you have a huge boot for the dogs/shopping/stroller/bike.

Second hand (which is how we got ours, obv), you can get one from btwn $12K and $16K, depending on year and mileage and all those other things.

Our Mazda-dealership warranty meant that we haven't paid any money on dealing with some random thing that happened to the oil (or something? something to do with how the car works), and it's just all-round a great small good-looking minivan.

I recommend.

jenifer | 11:36 AM

posting again! but dude, have you seen the mini-van that you can pull up the floor and put a cooler in and store shit underneath? You got me thinking mama!

Laura | 11:44 AM

I begged my husband for 3 years to let me get a minivan. It only took 2 weeks shoving our three children into the back of my teeny tiny Saturn that he finally consented. I LOVE IT! I'll never go back to driving a smaller car. Face it--minivans are built for moms. Everything about them makes traveling with your kids easier. Doors that open for me? BEST FEATURE EVER!!!

The only downside is that I can't park in the compact car spaces anymore. Makes looking for parking a tad bit harder, but the extra walk to the store is good for me, right?

laboriousliving | 12:04 PM

My dad did just fine with three girls and VW Bug. I mean really, do we need that much space? How much stuff do you put in a car? I never understood the whole minivan, SUV thing. Even when I have been in one they seem cramped and roomy at the same time. How is that possible? I rock the public transport (bus/train) And a bike!

Ain't no shame in my game.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 12:15 PM

Yeah, there's no way three carseats would fit in the back of a Bug. Back in the day, sure! These days? I can barely fit a car seat and a booster in my the backseat of my wagon. There's no way I could fit three kids. And when you have animals, too? It's just not possible.

Public transportation? Bikes? All awesome... the best!.... when you don't have kids. And strollers. And dogs.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 12:16 PM

... pardon the typos.

Sara B | 12:17 PM

I grew up (one of three) riding around in my dad's VW mini-bus or VW camper van. Lots of room inside those, if they still make them. Although then your just trading the regular mom-look for the granola-look.

Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas | 12:23 PM

Like you, I railed against a minivan for a long time for many of the same reasons. Then I started to see their benefits and held out - hoping that the hybrid versions that are out in Asia would be released in the US. Eventually necessity (like you) overrode my green consciousness and I got a Honda Odyssey. I love it. Am I less cool? Meh, I don't think so, especially when it's parked outside of a Social Distortion show - car seats and all. If you're worried about not being unique enough, buy a slightly used one (they changed the Odysseys after 2008 -- I like my '08 better anyway) and let the kids paint it. It'll be way easier to find in a parking lot and, when the kids get older and complain that you're embarrassing them, you can point their wagging fingers back at them.

Deb | 12:26 PM

Love, love my Honda Odyssey! We have 2 kids with another on the way, but even with just 2 kids (we got it when we were expecting #2), we've made great use of it. We can lug all our gear when we travel (no roof rack required), we can car pool with my parents, we can give rides to my sister and her hubs, we can drive our neighbor's kids to camp with our own. The kids can stand in the back and change after a day at the beach...it is great! I have to laugh when people say "ugh, a minivan" - I just love it! I want to say "are you jealous?" LOL

Deb | 12:26 PM

Love, love my Honda Odyssey! We have 2 kids with another on the way, but even with just 2 kids (we got it when we were expecting #2), we've made great use of it. We can lug all our gear when we travel (no roof rack required), we can car pool with my parents, we can give rides to my sister and her hubs, we can drive our neighbor's kids to camp with our own. The kids can stand in the back and change after a day at the beach...it is great! I have to laugh when people say "ugh, a minivan" - I just love it! I want to say "are you jealous?" LOL

Manda | 12:27 PM

I have to admit I'm in the same exact boat (do I get a minivan?! Two kids! They seem so convenient! So ... functional! The doors! They open themselves!). But alas, they are not COOL. Not even A LITTLE. My mom summed it up like this to me the other day: "Honey, you're 30 with almost 2 kids. You're over the hump of trying to look cool." She's got a point, I guess. But I refuse to get a mom haircut. EVER. EVAAAHHHH!

Molly | 12:30 PM

I could have written this myself. I got a 2011 Toyota Sienna two weeks ago. And you know what? I love it. I am a mother, and I finally realized that giving in to the minivan would allow me (or make me want) to share so many more cool things with my kids. Long drive to cool beach? Totally doable now, in a way that it just wasn't with the tiny cute car (okay, it was, but we would talk about it and never get it down because it just seemed so hard). Need to climb into back from passenger seat during traffic jam on way to Tahoe to collect pacifiers and distribute snacks and attention? No problem. It's so comfortable for the kids. It's safe. At the end of the day, I'd rather drive a slightly dorky car and be the kind of mom who thinks nothing of driving an hour or two to show my kids something incredible than look cool on 101.

Molly | 12:31 PM

Also, this:

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/07q4/why_buy_a_crossover_-feature

Mandi | 12:51 PM

I did it just a few months ago. And then I hated it and hated my life and refused to take my two kids anywhere and we became home bound hobbits until my husband gave in and let me trade in the (we JUST bought this) mini van for a car I could live with. I had my eyes on a New Ford Taurus X, with the third row (ya know, just in case) but ended up with an 07 Pontiac Vibe that I lovelovelove and am never getting rid of. So, we decided not to have anymore kids because I love my car that much. Or will go with the sunshine kids car seats if we happen to fall pregnant. My point is, there are lots of car choices out there with a third row that are much sexier than a mini van. Good luck!

Heather | 12:54 PM

I say do it. I really love my minivan. When you have a crazy life, how can you not love something that makes your life easier?

Especially with a third baby. When I open the side door by pushing a button on my remote, and Miles and Clara can climb in by themselves while I am holding Ruby, that is so worth it right there.

I know other cars have third rows, but once you put that row up there isn't any room for the stroller(s). Only the minivans can do it all.

Plus, you can order like 15 drinks at starbucks and have a cupholder for each one.

Anonymous | 12:54 PM

We just ditched the van and got a Mazda 5 - it seats 6, side doors slide and way better gas mileage than a minivan. And my coolness factor went up exponentially. :)

Anonymous | 1:11 PM

I drive a 95 Ford Aerostar that my dad passed down to me. Funny it has been my dad who always picked out a minivan and not my mom! I'm 38, no kids, one dog. I LOVE my minivan! I usually drive around with all the seats removed since I use it to camp in - just throw in an air mattress! I do have a bumper sticker that reads "mini-vans are tangible evidence of evil" and one that says "this is not an abandoned vehicle" it is definately about the irony!

gonzovixen | 1:11 PM

I do not have children. I have a road bike and a mountain bike and I travel all the time. And yes, I drive a mini-van bc it's AWESOME!!! DOOOOO IT!!! You will love it! Trips are going to be sooo much easier. Errands will be a breeze. They are comfy. And they have their own certain style. And let's just face it, you make up the rules as you go anyway...so make it cool, Bec.

Anonymous | 1:12 PM

Here's a news flash for ya: No one really gives a shit. There is no way in bloody hell that I would ever drive an expensive car just because of what people think when they see it! That is beyond stupid. Also, try realizing that your kids will be much, much safer in a mini-van than in a small "cute" car. My mini-van days are long over, and I drove one for years; owned four total, and never gave a rat's ass what any idiot thought, and yes, I was once as "hot" a mom as you are.

seekingclarav | 1:35 PM

After 10 years in my trusty Corolla (with rear tinted windows, yeah boyee) we finally traded in (rather begged the dealership to actually take the car off our hands)and got a crossover suv/mini van/station wagon type thing. I freaking love it. And my husband is no longer embarassed and will actually drive this car.

Anticipation of this decision/purchase is much worse than actually owning the large family mobile. There are perks. I still dream about a teeny little hybrid though...some day.

seekingclarav | 1:35 PM

After 10 years in my trusty Corolla (with rear tinted windows, yeah boyee) we finally traded in (rather begged the dealership to actually take the car off our hands)and got a crossover suv/mini van/station wagon type thing. I freaking love it. And my husband is no longer embarassed and will actually drive this car.

Anticipation of this decision/purchase is much worse than actually owning the large family mobile. There are perks. I still dream about a teeny little hybrid though...some day.

lrennie86 | 2:15 PM

My husband and I are 23 w/ no kids, but we bought my parent's 2002 Honda Odyssey last week because one of our cars died. It has leather seats, heated seats, volume control on the steering wheel (LOVE) and will fit future babies, our dog and friends super comfortably. Do I wish I had a cooler car? Sure. But I don't want to be that superficial. YOU define yourself, not your car.

mb | 2:25 PM

Who says that because you have a van that all of a sudden you are that mom? You decide what mom you want to be. I traded in a great passat wagon for a mini van and although I didn't want to, I knew it is just for the time being. There was no way that two carseats and a teenager would fit back there, along with two huge dogs and a stroller. As much as I wanted it to fit, lets face it, not gonna happen. I can rock the van until my stroller days are over. Until then, just because it's full of kids does not mean that I need to put a soccer ball on the back window or be listening to Barney on the radio. If people can not look past the van and see a cool mom, it doesn't really matter because my kids think I am. Good luck and if you do get the van, get a colour you really like.

laura! | 2:56 PM

I have 3 kids ages 4 and under. That is 3 carseats. I bought an SUV with 3rd row seating. Pointless. Not practical, easy or convenient. If I had known then what I know now, I would have bought a minivan.

whoorl | 3:54 PM

DUDE. This post is soooo my life right now.

I'll admit it - I am totally preoccupied with what others will think of me if I drive a minivan. I AM SO VAIN. D thinks that I'm crazy. He says driving a minivan is actually bucking the system - you know, like we have no need nor time for the stereotypes...that kind of thing.

We've been shopping around and I have to say, minivans kind of rule. Can you imagine how RAD road trips would be with a minivan? Black Honda Odyssey, YOU WILL BE MINE!

lacy | 4:31 PM

Around here (Portland, Oregon) its subaru's. Everyone has them....and so do we.

DirtDontHurtMom | 4:45 PM

Dude. Yes.

I don't own one yet but when my car takes a shit in the next year or two, I'm in it to win it in my minivan.
Did you know SUNSHADES slide up from inside the door of the Odyssey and the windows roll down all the way...they don't slide open or pop out the way they did when we were babes.

I even secretly want a cooler in the floor. That would be dope for trips to the grocery store. (Dd I seriously just say that? I did.
Yes YES YES!

alyce | 5:36 PM

I helped my friend shuttle her kids around this week and drove her Honda Odyssey (his name is Homer). I loved it. I am 36 and have no kids, but I was seriously scoping the newspaper for a used one. Who am I?

Haley | 5:43 PM

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I sometimes drive a mini when I babysit, and it isn't all that bad. It drives really, really well. They have 3 boys, and the comfort level is astonishing. Sometimes we even bring the dog along, and there is still enough room for everyone to happily spread out.

I say go for it. Hell, you might as well be a comfortably cool parent.

Elle Vee | 5:47 PM

I couldn't do the minivan. We have two huge dogs and a baby (and hopefully will have more) and needed not only the seats but also quite a bit of room in the back. Also couldn't do station wagon. We've been Honda owners all along and LOVE them, so we got a Pilot and let me tell you... it is the best car ever. We live in the Great White North, so 4 wheel drive is essential, but it has 3 rows of seats or two rows plus a HUGE back for the ridiculously large dogs. Win/win. Plus, it looks badass. Same gas mileage as the CRV.
(Jessica- I see you mention the Pilot too! It is rad.)

Helen | 6:09 PM

I have three kids, and found quite a few cars will fit the appropriate number of seats. I fit three across in my Ford Falcon (which I don't think is available in America) and in my Toyota Rav4 and Camry. I have six seats in one of my cars with no front airbag for the occasional extra kid, and briefly considered putting a set of 'dickie' seats (which are probably called something else stateside) in the back. I had a minivan in the past, but I'm finding a station wagon is actually better - it has room in the boot and is more economical, and it doesn't drive like a pregnant whale.

Monica | 6:13 PM

NOOOOOOOOOOO. I've never posted here before but minivan! OMG. I've got friend who drank the kool aid and love theirs....but eh.

I've got a honda fit and i miss my vw golf every day. It died at 100,000 miles, transmission totally crapped out in the middle of the ghetto on my drive home. But i'm stopping with only 1 kid.

I just wish there were better options for mom's with more than 1 kid. Its 2010 for pete's sake you think they would have come up with something better by now!

Helen | 6:44 PM

I live in Australia, and I have to say, I am totally jealous of how fancy pants the minivans you can get in America are! Here we have only about 4 to choose from - I'd totally buy one that had automatic opening doors!!

Lauren Knight | 7:22 PM

If a woman like you (read: a very hip mama) were to get a minivan, there is a very good chance that you could rock the hell out of it and make it look cool.
If you make minivans look cool, I will worship you. Seriously. Get one. Then I can get one too and be cool. And then every single one of my neighbors with their Lexus SUVs will be sooooooo jealous of my hot van. Do it.

Cave Momma | 7:57 PM

I have 2 kids (toddlers, I should say). I will be 30 next year and my car could take a crap anytime between now and then. So this is right on target for my recent conversations with the husband. And yes, I want a damn minivan if only for the convenience of the double open-by-themselves doors!! THAT is heaven for this here mom. My girlfriend recently got one and she loves it. I have been not-so-secretly admiring it and am anxiously awaiting the death of my car.

I think this generation of moms can totally rock the mini-van.

chayna rae | 8:35 PM

Ok so I'm a little out there I guess because even when I was in college I longed for a minivan! What an amazing vehicle... you can cram all your friends into it and just go. Freakin' awesome. But I instead opted for a Grand Am, that recently sh*t out on me. I replaced it with a Honda CR-V which I completely love, but the sales guy did see me eying the minivan. My boyfriend talked me out of it, but he did say the top selling cars from Honda are the CR-V & the minivan. (Maybe it was just a sales pitch, but I totally believed him:)

A Serious Girl | 8:55 PM

omg I Love you so much right now.

AndreaB | 9:31 PM

No matter what you get, just really get a car that you love. There is nothing worse that making car payments on a car that you don't feel great about.

If you are on the fence with the minivan, maybe wait. Or even consider renting a minivan for a week to see how you really feel driving it, and if the "ugh" feeling is outweighed by the convenience. You probably cant be sure until you've driven one for like 3 or 4 days.

Im not there yet, when it comes to the minivan. I got a Subaru Forester, and love it. There is no third row, because we are set on two children.

Honda Pilot (maybe one used, but in good condition, since hondas are so reliable). It might make it more affordable. Or the Mazda 5 with the 3rd row of seats.

Margie | 9:51 PM

Go the minivan. With four children in my family my parents got a minivan when my youngest sister came along.
I learnt to drive in a 9 seater column shift car. Sooo daggy. But there was always lots of room to stay away from my brothers and drive the grandparents around if they needed it.

GingerB | 11:13 PM

You put your dogs in the trunk to go to San Diego?? Obviously you need the minivan. I love my sienna, I love my stow and go seating that accomodates stuff or standard poodles or kids' friends. And I bought the mid range version, so only one door opens for me, but when it does whilst I wrangle an infant and a fiesty four year old, I am quite pleased with myself. Kind of sucks in the snow but that is hardly your problem, Miss Lemon Trees. But I gave up on my image, so, no worries.

Anonymous | 4:33 AM

I think it just makes the most sense to be practical and who cares what other people think about you driving a 'minivan!'

Anonymous | 6:00 AM

Seriously? It's only a verhicle. It's probably one of the worst investments you can make anyway.

I don't think anyone really cares what you drive. If they do, that's pretty freaking shallow.

Lots of room with kids and dogs is a must. Everyone will be happier.

Good luck.

Karen Chatters | 6:05 AM

I got rid of my Acura which I LOVED for an SUV. I would have kept the Acura forever if I could have put car seats in it and people in the front seat But really, I wish I'd gotten a minivan. I thought they weren't "cool" enough, now I'm just bitter.

Kendra | 6:45 AM

I understand, and you're absolutely right that it's really easy to go so far into rebelling against the stereotype that you've inadvertently become another stereotype. The only true rebellion comes with doing exactly what feels right to you, forgetting what everyone else thinks. That really shows them; nothings stings like someone else's confidence!

Although I can't exactly say I don't care what anyone thinks (I admit it, I do), I've never had much identity wrapped up in my car. We have three kids and a camper we need to haul a few times a year. The minivan holds all of us and all of our stuff, and there's enough room that there's not all that much fighting about whose feet are in whose space. It's a great, practical choice for us. If you want the ironic car, go for it. If you want the practical car, absolutely. If you want to make sure that everyone knows you don't wear mom jeans just because you're a mom, go nuts. But remember to do it for your life, not for the people who like to tell you what your life ought to be like.

julie forkner | 7:44 AM

I know the feeling. I'm 26 & feel much too young for a minivan, but we purchased one 2 weeks ago. We sold my old college car - a Honda Accord Coupe - & after test driving about 10 (seriously) different SUV's, we fell in love with a Toyota Sienna. Well, I did. Yes, it is decidedly uncool, but(!) the sliding doors open with the push of a button, it has more compartments than I have things to put in them (ahh, organizational bliss) & it's much, much easier getting kids in & out of. Much easier. My husband still refuses to drive it by himself, but I don't mind it at all. Minivans get great gas mileage (as compared to a regular SUV) & they go FOREVER. Plus, *if* you have another babe, you don't have to worry about needing to upgrade again. Oh, and stow & go seating is my favorite! It got to the point that I needed to realistic - yes, I love the idea of being hip & trendy (I live in north Atlanta), but there's no real cool way to sweat buckets while attempting to wrangle children out of a vehicle. It's about what's practical. AND(!) IF** you decide to get a minivan, you'll have that 'wow' factor when you're walking to/from it. More cool moms like you (& me) need to drive minivans, so we can get rid of the stigma that they're gross & only for the out-of-touch.

Beth | 8:08 AM

Oh - How I used to covet a Passat Wagon! Had a cute mazda wagon instead. When it wouldn't hold all our baby stuff, we got a Hyundai Santa Fe - didn't think much of it, but my bf bought one and loved hers. I LOVE this car - drives great, has a million airbags, and isn't remotely suv tank-like. Also available with a rear seat (although that would seriously cut storage...) I feel my Hyundai is way cooler than a mini-van I must say and waaayyy cheaper!

robin | 8:19 AM

Okay, this post is so funny, because? *I felt exactly like you!* Only I included station wagons along with minivans. My oath went something like this; "I will NEVERNEVERNEVER own a minivan or a station wagon, or I may as well declare my life is over!" And then? 2 years ago, I got myself a toyota sienna. And I LOVE IT. Lovelovelove. It's comfy, convenient, drives nice. Perfection in the shape of the word MOM. Whatever. So maybe my "life" is over. But I would do it again!

Anonymous | 8:49 AM

This was so our house in March we brought home baby #3 and I was so committed to keeping my small hybrid suv that I went and found the combo of 3 car seats I could fit across the back, my husband on the other hand was not committed. I make some off hand comment about not being a gangster so an escalade was not an option and at least with a van you can have 8 seats and put the stroller and groceries in the trunk. Next thing I know we are meeting at the honda dealership and trading in my lexus for an oddesey and it is just as nice and comfortable and incredibly functional and practical. I do have fantasies about when the baby goes to kindergarten and my car will only have 2 doors with more horsepower than I need

Mrs. Hanna | 9:47 AM

I've driven a '96 Corrolla for EVER! When we found out that I was preggers we decided to start looking for something baby friendly, and stumbled upon the Chrysler Pacifica. It's got fold-down 3rd row seats and is perfect! It fit all of our (my husband's) criteria- 1)Not a Minivan 2)American Made 3)Decent Gas Milage 4)Good Side Impact Rating. Bottom line- there are other options out there!

Glenda | 9:54 AM

I feel you! Same situation here. We always traveled and hubby wanted a minivan to make it more convenient for the kiddos.. I did NOT. So we settled for an SUV :)

Alex | 10:06 AM

I am {almost} 23 years old and although I am a mom I think I am a long way off from a mini-van. My cool & sexy youth has already disappeared by being saddled with a 2 year old, stretch marks, and a THIRTY-FIVE year old husband. BUT the last shred of youth left will not be swallowed by a mini. It just won't, ain't happen...Right now I drive a BMW sedan but we are in need of another car and I plan on getting one of those Rovers or other smaller luxury SUV's.

But hell no I won't go to no mini van (not yet at least)

Lauren | 12:14 PM

It was my 16th birthday. My parents REFUSED to allow me drive my Dad's brand new Volvo, so I got to go on my first "joy ride" on the way home from the DMV in my Mom's Ford Windstar. Scarred for life, man.

I totally get how practical a minivan is for big families though, so we've just decided to not have kids instead! Crisis averted! :)

Lou | 2:00 PM

We have a Prius and a Sienna. Love them both. (Got a three year old Sienna in awesome shape for a good price.)

Twwly | 2:04 PM

I think unless you have so many children that every seat is occupied, that they are an unjustifiable waste of gas.

In my Focus hatchback I can fit both of my children in their GIANT Britax Boulevard car seat and +550 pounds of livestock feed and/or 3 bales of hay.

If desperate (like ferreting Amish neighbours to hospital) we can cram in yet 1 more car seat in the back.

My husband can easily fit all hockey equipment in the back. Ditto golf bag and accoutrement. I am not much of a shopper, but I can fit plenty of anything, and should I shop for furniture, we use someone's TRUCK for that special occasion.

It's not like you have wild winters to contend with that would justify an SUV or even the need for AWD. I would capitalize truly on your glorious weather and get something with fuel economy that you can flaunt.

Trend, schmend on this one. There's just no need to throw that much gas out.

Twwly Again | 2:08 PM

If I got to pick out a brand new car off the lot RIGHT NOW, I would buy a Toyota Matrix for me & my fam. (Just my $0.02).

Also, PS look where Volks sits on reliability ratings!
http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/the-most-reliable-cars-20100319-qjc6.html

Karen | 2:18 PM

I drove minivans for years before I had kids. I don't anymore but I never really thought about the fact that people maybe thought I wasn't cool for driving one. Someone gave me one (actually, two) and who was I to refuse a free van? And people were always borrowing it when they were moving.

You know, since becoming a mum, I have never once run into a high-waisted khaki's wearing stereotype soccer mom. I don't think this person really exists outside of paper towel commercials. If you look beyond the surface, most people are pretty interesting even if their vehicles aren't.

If minivans were marketed as the hallmark of quirky fashion, would you be happier to drive one? Because it's all just marketing, right? Minivans are marketed to families, sportscars and stupid oversized SUVs are marketed as fun. I say, Who cares? Drive whatever works. There are a lot more important things to worry about.

Cocktail Jen | 4:31 PM

Might I suggest the Mazda5?

Good mileage, third row even though it's tiny, and isn't technically a minivan.

You can also get a good deal on late-model used ones from Hertz Rent-to-buy. That's how I bought mine.

Amanda | 7:50 PM

I don't own a mini van but I drive one at work. And at first it pained me to admit this... but I love it!!! I like that I'm up higher then most of the other cars, lots of room (I can split up fighting siblings between 2 rows!!)and it is a really comfortable ride. Get whatever feels good to you!

Anonymous | 8:26 PM

I am a cool mom like you. And I got a minivan (Honda Odyssey) and it has been wonderful. My kids talk about the "magic doors" because of the button that opens the doors, etc. With two kids and finding I often have a third along for a playdate, it is just so much more convenient. I also have a bad back and it is just so much easier on me. - Missy

Heather | 8:54 PM

I share your previous distaste in mini vans. It always seemed to be that vans are somewhat unnecessarily large given the availability of roomy hatchbacks and sedans AND they have crap gas mileage in comparison. And don't let the propaganda fool you- there is NO SWAGGER in a mini van. None. It is proven to suck out the mojo. I'm not being dramatic. Dead. serious.
My husband, on the other hand, is a grandpa in disguise and is dreaming of the day he can talk me into it. Until then...I'm rocking the old malibu with the scratched bumper. With swagger.

Chantelle {fat mum slim} | 1:09 AM

I hope someone gives you a free one. Heck. The fridge happened. Perhaps tell the Universe and it will send you a sexy minivan.

Jessi | 7:23 AM

So, I always thought there was no possible way that I could ever, EVER drive a minivan, but now that I have one, I don't ever think I'll go back. Ever. Because I don't have to get in the car to get Maren out of the carseat. Because there's space for everyone. Because we can go to the fireworks and pop open the back hatch and watch like we're in our own living room. Because there's 97 cupholders. And also, have you been introduced to the car seat mirror? I have a mirror specifically designed to help me see what's going on in the back seats without running myself off the road. I love my minivan, and I'll probably still drive one when I'm carting my grandkids.

kristin in phoenix | 9:26 AM

I am a Honday Odessey owner and have never looked back. I know that one day I will nor NEED the function of a moni-van and I'm sure I'll mourn it. Driving my mini-van full of my kids, their gear, their friends, their laughter (and arguments) is my life. My sweet, fleeting life as a "Mommy". Go For It Rebecca. You won't regret it! xoxo

Ashley Parker, 2008 Class Reporter | 10:08 AM

What about a Subaru? They are roomy and not minivans. My mom has an Outback and I'm not even kidding, I'm 24 years old and I would take her car in heartbeat!
Also, they last FOREVER.

Stef | 12:28 PM

Can someone explain the automatic doors to me, 'cause I just don't get it. On a trip back to visit family this month, my husband and I borrowed my brother-in-law's minivan (a Nissan something) that had automatic doors. And we both found them so annoying! We'd go to close them by sliding them and they'd stall and sputter. Then we'd remember to push the little button and wait for the door to close itself. It just seemed like it'd be easier for us to close it ourselves, the old way, if only the van would've let us.

Maybe I'm clueless and childfree, but is it that hard to manage doors and kids? Or are all these bells and whistles just gratuitous gadgets?

mommymae | 5:02 PM

i felt the same way about minivans...my MOM drove the original white plymouth voyager with the woody sides! i would NEVER drive one!

then, i had MY epiphany...if i want 4 kids, i have to drive a minivan. and until they come out with a hybrid/electric/better-fuel-efficient car for 6 people, i'll drive my odyssey.

p.s. the automatic doors are awesome.

Lauren | 7:49 PM

Rebecca, SERIOUSLY, OMG, you are IN MY BRAAIIIINNNNN.

Ok, so. I read a lot of baby blogs. Many of them make me want to go out in a field and put myself down. Harbingers of doom, all of them. One of these doom-spelling blogs recently posted about this, all about how she went out and bought a Minivan, and how we can all SUCK IT, and I was despairing to my friend over dinner tonight about how sad it made me. SAD. I wailed over the ways she was trying to convince us, her anonymous readers, about what a good decision it was ultimately, how she can fit everything in the car, etc, etc... well, the whole thing just reeked of defeat with a wedge of lame. Back from whence you came, Minivans! Back into the technicolor sludge of America!

Right, so tonight I said to my friend (TONIGHT, LITERALLY) "there's this one blog I read; that I cling to, in fact, where this girl is ROCKING it day-to-day. It's called Girl's Gone Child. You won't catch her in a minivan" And then my friend was all, "that blog name rocks" and I was all, "yeah, duh." Anyways, my point: Sweet Jesus, please get a Honda Pilot.

You know what though? I don't know anything better than anyone else, and everyone has a different journey, and if yours is more comfortable in a minivan then heaven's sake Get You One. We aren't the cars we drive. It's a skin you can shed, right?

And maybe that's what you've taught me on this very topical day. Rock on with your bad self. I suppose my knee-jerk reaction is a hearty "NOOOOO!" but anyone who gets truly upset about a car is a crazy person. Amiright?

Anonymous | 12:25 PM

A short while ago, we were listening to Car Talk on NPR and they dealt with a question from a woman who wanted a minivan, BUT... wanted it to be sexier than it is. The Car talk gang advised a custom paint job... they specifically recommended getting the sides of the van painted to resemble a motorcycle... the wheels are in place as is the rider.. all you need is the motorcycle's body painted on the van's side. There were other ideas that would make the van sexier - we thought the entire idea worth pursuing... consder it!

Eva | 9:27 PM

dude, embrace the minivan. All the cool kids are doing it.

paperfairies | 10:42 PM

Do not buy a minivan!!! It will suck your mojo out through its exhaust. I have two boys and cart other kids in a Nissan cube for God's sake! I adore my car. There is no need to drive a walrus just because one has kids.

Meemo | 11:04 PM

I love my mini-van. I rock it. They also make date night car sex much easier. What?

Anonymous | 7:41 AM

I have two friends in different towns who got the Mazda 5 and love them. They're not so bad, methinks. Check them out.

hydrogeek | 1:55 PM

Two words you will never regret: Toyota Sienna.

Anonymous | 8:37 PM

We drive a Ford Taurus X. It's American made and a crossover. It's a GREAT car. And I won't drive a minivan! It seats SIX.

Hope you find what you're looking for!

Anonymous | 8:39 PM

Get a Suburban! I love mine! I only have two kids, but we have two dogs and lots of equipment to tote around. :)

Kim Tracy Prince | 9:44 AM

DeLIGHTful post. This is the best rationalizing, talking-self-into-a-minivan stream of consciousness I've ever read. Okay, it's the only one but whatev.

Stefanie put flame decals on hers to make it cooler. I envision something equally cool from you.

ashleyD | 7:28 AM

BUY TOYOTA!!!! i think your mom driving the previa since 90 is a good enough sign. don't make me go into detail of how much we LOVE LOVE our toyotas! vw's are money pits!

EMQ | 7:25 PM

I'm a little late to this conversation, but I have to say, if you're feeling the minivan, rock it. I have a slightly different perspective as I've had a minivan since I was in my mid twenties, way pre-kid. My husband turned me onto the beauty that is the elegantly practical minivan. In fact, we were a two minivan family for years before we procreated.

We're both musicians, so minivans make sense gear-hauling wise. And now we can haul gear and a19 month old (practically) worry free.

I know you care about appearances, but minivans are like that peice of clothing that most people would consider ugly, but that looks awesome on you purely because you rock the look without fear of negative feedback.

At least I think so.

Anonymous | 3:34 PM

It's all about marketing. Your whole life is directed by marketing and product placement. This cereal is hip because it's "organic." These jeans make you feel young because the print ads show bored-looking teenagers wearing them.
As long as you buy ANY new, mass-produced item you are being guided by marketing. Nothing is truly original unless you refuse to be a lab rat and make your own decisions based on the rejection of mass market consumerism.

Siouxsie_Sue | 9:18 AM

I finally traded in my Jetta Wagon for a minivan. I am on my third child so it was time. I put my Aphex Twin sticker on the back and MST3K sticker on the side. But I still feel like a tool. But you can't beat those awesome doors. While it is kind of punk rock to have the kids dent every single car I park next to, its kind of nice to not have to worry about any more nasty notes left on my windshield.