Hello Minivan, Goodbye Self-Identity


hello minivan, goodbye self-identity

Well, it happened. After nearly 20 years of having a driver’s license and announcing no less than 2,384 times, “I will NEVER drive one of those,” I went to the dark side. I’m officially a minivan mom.

It was somewhat of a forced decision. You see, my cute little mid-size SUV, with nearly 100,000 miles on it, was starting to give us trouble. Lots of trouble. Thousands of dollars’ worth of trouble. So much trouble that, quite frankly, we couldn’t afford another problem. In addition to that, it was pretty much a miserable car to take road trips in when you factored in two parents, two kids, a stroller, suitcases, baby and toddler crap AND a dog. And sometimes, a cat.

In fact, we had gotten to the point where we rented large SUVs for road trips. That small fortune we paid during each adventure hurt our bank account, but it was money well spent so we didn’t murder each other on the road.

With all that said, we needed a new vehicle. We test drove mostly mid-size SUVs, either the same size or slightly larger than my current car. Didn’t make much sense, I know, since we really needed something larger.

It was my own parents who suggested we try a minivan. My dad, the same guy who responded, “Then don’t!” when I wailed several years before that I didn’t EVER want to drive one, now sounded like a bonafide minivan salesman. “It’ll make your life so much easier,” my parents said. “Try it.”

We had a minivan growing up, a black Mazda. I remember riding in the back row, making my two brothers cram together in the middle. I tend to be sentimental, so with this in mind, I agreed to test drive one.

With two kids under the age of 3 and a husband who travels frequently for work, I’m all about finding ways to make my life easier and everyday tasks more efficient. So when I started taking these test drives, I thought about solo trips to the grocery store. How lovely it would be to have automatic sliding doors. How helpful it would be for my toddler to be able to crawl into her seat on her own. And how awesome it would be to actually have room in the trunk for groceries.

Also, if we have more kids, the only other options would be a Suburban or a bus, and both of those models are out of our price range.

So, I stopped fighting it. And a couple of weeks after that epiphany, I drove home in my new Chrysler Pacifica, which we have since named “Bonnie Blue.”

Since that day, I admit, errands with the kids have been easier. Pickup and dropoff at daycare is a little less stressful. And it’s pretty sweet to be able to toss my double stroller in the trunk without a fight.

However, as soon as I waved goodbye to my old car, I felt my level of cool points sink into single-digit status. Now, I look at other moms — cool moms — in their sleek, sporty SUVs. I also look at the young 20-somethings in their fun little sports cars. That used to be me. But not now.

No, I am a minivan mom.

“It’s not a forever car,” my dad tells me. “It’s just a ‘this-stage-of-your-life’ car.”

Ok, that helps the sting a little. And I know that if we have another little one anytime soon, I’ll thank myself for taking the leap.

But for now, I’m still adjusting. And I’m tempted to purchase a perfectly appropriate bumper sticker I saw on the internet the other day.

It simply says, “I used to be cool.”


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A North Carolina native, Jennifer has called Colorado Springs, CO, Lynchburg, VA, New Orleans, LA, and Charleston, SC home since graduating from Elon University in 2003. She has spent time as a journalist, event planner, and sports information director. Now, the Hoover resident is a full-time sales & marketing professional for an outdoor furniture company and an independent rep for Zyia Active. Of all the hats Jennifer wears, her most important roles are as a wife, mother, daughter, and sister. She has been married to her husband Mike since 2011, and together they have three daughters ages 5, 4 and 2, and a sweet eight-year-old beagle, Cooper.


  1. You are still totally cool!!! But I love the article! I have the same emotional struggle. Maybe one day minivans will be a symbol of adult hip sexiness. Maybe if we put racing stripes on them and wear expensive sunglasses.

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