why i couldn’t buy a minivan

I have spent the last few years trying to visualize myself driving a minivan thinking it would be the ultimate solution to backseat politics: a car where no ones seat touches another and the hitting, biting, pinching, pulling hair and fighting over who gets the middle subsides.

When I mentioned to friends that I was considering buying a minivan, I was met with very strong and differing views:

The Anti-Minivan Mom:

One girlfriend brutally rebuffed me, told me not to beĀ ridiculous and that I could certainly have three kids without having to buy a minivan. Then she showed me how easy it was for her to just hop in the trunk when her mother comes to town.

The Better-You-Than-Me Minivan Mom:

These are the friends who tell you how much they looooove minivans and wish they had one and then pull up in their new Tahoe.

The Once-You-Go-Minivan-You-Never-Go-Back Minivan Mom:

We all know this mom. She loves her minivan, can’t imagine life before her minivan, speaks of automatic doors, and reminds you that there have been studies that show moms who drive minivans are more secure with themselves.

I can appreciate all of these moms.

We were down to the wire with the old VW Passat Wag, a trusty gal but in need of a little cosmetic surgery and some fine tuning. I didn’t feel comfortable with her driving all of us to Austin for spring break so I decided to rent a minivan — the ultimate test drive.

The car was loaded with navigation and an entertainment system – yay! Despite two out of the three crying nonstop from New Orleans to Lafayette (three hours), things were pretty good. The ride was smooth, comfortable and it seemed to get good gas milage. But as the trip went on… and on… and on (11 hours), the honeymoon phase began to fade:

  • With lots of potty breaks along the way, I found myself having to climb in and out of this damn minivan to buckle, unbuckle, catch and wrangle children all while hunched over. F-ing car seats.
  • The children became obsessed with the DVD player. OB-SESSED.
  • New politics over who got to sit in the very back ensued.
  • The entire floor of the minivan became one big trash heap. The bigger the car, the bigger the mess.
  • The rear view mirror popped off and dangled from the windshield for the last 5 hours because the electrical tape I used to secure it could’t hold the weight.

By the end of the trip, I felt like I was living in an episode of Honey Boo Boo.

While I realize this trip was more about the animal kingdom I traveled with and less about the car, it made me realize that this just isn’t the right time for a minivan. A third row, yes. A minivan, no. I opted for the Toyota Highlander, which gives everyone a little more space, takes our New Orleans streets like a champ and gives us the option of additional seating without having to take a second car or hitch a ride in the trunk.

Happy travels!

Written by Ashley Bond

Ashley Bond

Founder of parenting blog, entrepreneur, underestimated disorganized overachiever.

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