Recently, my mini van was in the body shop after I was backed into at school pick-up. I had a rental car for about two weeks, and it was a very nice little SUV, definitely worked for that time, but oh how I missed my van! I kept forgetting to open the doors to get my kids out…kept reaching up to open the lift gate with a button…you mean I actually have to get out and use a handle?
In the past, I was always very adamant that I would NEVER be the mini van mom: No way in hell would I jeopardize my cool factor and give in to the mommy van club! When we had our first son, I drove a Ford Focus, and it was such a pain in the ass with a car seat. I was so excited to upgrade to an SUV — absolutely loved my Hyundai Sante Fe! It was zippy, had way more room than my tiny Focus, and drove awesome in the winter weather.
Enter kid #2, another car seat, more “stuff”,and less space in my roomy SUV. Why do kids come with so much stuff???
In the fall of 2015, we planned a trip to Apple Hill with a few friends. Instead of driving two cars, we decided to rent a van for the day so we could all ride together. My husband picked it up and brought it to the house, and we loaded up. I was blown away! The kids had so much room; they couldn’t touch each other and fight the whole road trip. We could fit our dear friends in the back and enjoy spending the driving time with them. The front passenger seat felt like a first class seat — so much leg room! I was able to tilt my seat into a super comfortable position without the person behind me feeling completely cramped. I fell in love, and my husband could tell I wouldn’t let it go. That road trip changed me, totally converting me to the mini van fan club!
A year later, almost to the day, we went shopping. We test drove a few different models, finally deciding on a 2012 Chrysler Town and Country. Oh the upgrades! Two DVD screens with surround sound and theater lighting, heated seats (even the rear seats) and steering wheel, all the back seats were able to be stowed, creating a completely flat cargo area, navigation and back up cameras, and soft leather seats that could be easily wiped down. All the back doors and the lift gate can be opened from the front control panel or from the keys. The boys can get in and out by themselves, have enough room to not be in each other’s space which always caused stupid arguments, and they can watch movies with the wireless headphones while I listen to the music of MY CHOICE. It was love at first test drive! I named her Betty White and planned our first family road trip!
We have a ton of family in Las Vegas and make multiple trips every year, so for our family, this van was AMAZING! My boys have always been road warriors, because we have done these trips since they were newborns, but making this first trip on our van was eye opening. We could fit all of us, all our luggage, have a roomy spot for our fur baby Delilah (who used to be shoved in the trunk area with all our luggage and no space to lay down…horrible, I know!) and no one complained or fought or said they were bored every five minutes! We filled all the cup holders with various drinks, had snack bags to pass around, and a huge selection of movies to pass the 8-hour time. I actually got to relax, read my book, get a few naps, and not be asked for everything every five minutes! If I wasn’t sold before, after this first road trip, I was hooked for life!
My dad (Grandpa) was also very excited because he could now ride with us to various activities around town, or come with us on our Vegas trips and be able to visit my brother and his family. Another perk of the van is that I can help out with school pick up for our friends. I hated saying no because we didn’t have room for other kiddos. Now we have a carpool with my son’s best friend and his siblings, and everyone fits safely! I also volunteer to drive for fun girls trips. In January, I drove myself and a few ladies from my networking group to our leadership retreat in San Francisco: cost efficient and FUN!
A lot of people think that the mini van wipes out their “cool” factor, but I disagree! I love my mini van swagger, throwin on some old school gangster rap, and I am definitely not the “slow” mini van driver (ha ha!). I can’t wait until my boys are embarrassed of me and I can bust out the car dance parties and annoy them. Right now they think I am awesome, but I know the day is coming when my antics will make them cringe, and I honestly cannot wait!
I was so happy to pick up my van from the body shop yesterday, knowing we had another Vegas trip to drive, and I think the body shop guy thought I was a little crazy as I rubbed Betty White’s hood and told her how much I missed her. I have absolutely no regrets in choosing to drive a mini van. If you are completely against it like I was, or on the fence about the van club, I can say with no doubts that you will not regret it. Who else is totally in love with their van? Let’s start a local club and do some cruises!