It wasn’t just a hair. It was an omen.
The other day, I went to bed feeling young, fun, and passably cute and woke up the next morning positively geriatric.
I found a grey hair—my very first. Well, it was actually more of a winter white, but you get the picture.
It might not seem like a very big deal—I’m a mom, I’m in my 30s, I like Downton Abbey, I wear eye cream, and I don’t (openly) shop at Urban Outfitters anymore. I’m entitled to the odd frosty brow strand. A hair can be plucked, dyed, or straight up burned off—so no reason to worry, right?
It was what happened AFTER the hair that truly sealed my fate:
I WENT MINI VAN SHOPPING.
I knew this day would come. I had it written on my iCal. In CAPS. It would have been great if it didn’t happen the exact day I began transforming into a Golden Girl, but it wasn’t exactly a surprise. With a 2 year old and twins on the way, we’d basically decided we needed a van at our 8-week ultrasound. But I’ll tell ya what…shopping for an official “Mom Car” can make a girl feel about a hip as ordering the Early Bird Special. While wearing pantyhose. I spent the entire afternoon bouncing from lot to lot sulking and lamenting the loss of my precious Jeep (ok, and my youth).
That is, until I actually climbed into the driver’s seat of a Kia Sedona and realized that mini vans are positively baller.
Yup. You read that right—BALLER (God, I hope I’m using that kid slang correctly). You might think it’s those fast, furious little Hot Wheels zipping around that have all of the fun on the road, but you are dead wrong. It’s the van, people. Behold!
FOUR WAYS MY MINI VAN TOTALLY DESTROYS YOUR LAMBO:
Firstly, it’s not really a minivan, it’s a Sharper Image store with wheels. It may not be the designated champagne soaked ride in the next 2 Chainz video, but at it’s core, a minivan is just a couple of missile launchers away from Batmobile status.
Can your Lambo entertain itself and keep itself clean? No? Well, the 2015 Honda Odyssey can! After careful consideration, I have concluded that this vehicle is more self- sufficient than I was in in my 20s. The upscale Touring Elite comes with it’s very own built in vacuum in the rear of the vehicle which means—no more trying to shove your wheezing dust buster down the sides of the seat and pretending it makes a difference.
Like many other vans on the market, it also has an (optional) HD entertainment system in the back. That’s right. 16.2 inches of shiny screen to keep those rapscallions you birthed from practicing Krav Maga on each other on the way to Grandma’s house. This means, you can actually LOOK at the road while you’re driving for once.
If the vac and the DVD player don’t have you positively foaming at the mouth, perhaps the built in cooler will?
Or the fancy schmancy navigation system with voice recognition?
What about the USB audio interface (I don’t even know what that means!!)?
Or the fact that the entire front seat looks like the cockpit of the Starship Enterprise!?!?!
This van even smells like the future, I swear!
But maybe you’re the kind of person who’d rather go trotting off to your local luxury Italian sports car depot and drop half a mil on that growling road steed you’ve always dreamed of. Hey, I get it. It’s got a cigarette lighter, and the roof falls off in the summer sometimes.
2. Keeping the Peace
I do not come from a road tripping family. I come from a family that knew better than to cram three tiny, insufferable varmints into the station wagon for any meaningful length of time. I can practically remember the sounds of my own ear-splitting harpy cry as I attempted to pluck my sister’s eyes out on our way to the Olive Garden. I’m told the fringe of her shorts was touching me. Needless to say, I’d like to avoid regular incidences of roadside Shakespearean violence with my own brood.
If you’re beginning to tire of cleaning the bloodstains out of your sedan and happen to be in the market for a new set of wheels, most mini vans offer a brilliant divide-and-conquer approach to territorial disputes. If you can possibly spare it, go for the seven-seat rather than eight-seat configuration in the back. That’s two spacious captain’s chairs with a wide, tranquil gulf between them. You’ll still have the traditional bench in the back, but if you have fewer than five kiddos, a folding console or divider should still stave off any serious battles. If you have more than five children, buy one of these:
Your sweet little gremlins are still terrorizing each other? Consider options like personalized climate control and dual viewing on the onboard DVD player if you’ve got some extra pocket change.
3. S P A C E
Let’s take a wondrous, hypothetical journey to Costco:
Should we drive this adorable little trinket and buy three toothpicks and an egg?
Or shall we take this?
Sorry, Porche-y looking thing—you lose.
True, the mini-van may not have the sleek Teutonic lines of your precious Jetta. Even all souped up, it still looks like a Malayan Tapir.
BUT what it does have is SPACE. ALL. THE. SPACE.
As somebody whose current automobile cargo situation is a confusing and precarious Jenga conglomeration of garbage, children, grocery, and stale air, more space sounds like a really good idea. Unless your initials are R.V., it’s pretty tough to beat the mini van when it comes to sheer square footage.
Aside from the obvious luxury this kind of area affords a passenger, it’s also just plain great for transporting things! Even really giant things! If you’re looking for something user friendly that will save you U-Haul dollars, the Chrysler vans (Town & Country and Dodge Caravan) are tops. Their patented Super Stow ‘n Go® seating system folds everything into the floor for all of your furniture/mastodon skeleton/science project transportation needs, no clumsily removing the middle seats or anything. The process could not be easier.
Mom Tip: If you start to feel anxious, if the of sheer mass of life starts burning upon your shoulders, go to the Chrysler Town and Country webpage, and virtually stow all seven seats. Pure serenity, I tell ya.
I’m going to be totally honest. It was easier to get my son out of my, ahem, Southern Belle than it was to get him out of the car this morning. It might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but I assure you—the cumulative psychological effects of dealing with a writhing toddler, perpetually twisted car seat straps, and regular-sized vehicle doors are straight up devastating. And I know I’m not suffering alone here. I see you other mamas out there, inadvertently bashing your kiddos noggins, flashing your plumber’s cracks, and cursing at the Britax as you collapse into a steaming puddle of post-Target fatigue. I feel you, I really do. Trying to fit all of the kids and things and feelings into a door the size of a small doghouse is kind of ridiculous. Especially for a pregnant broad like me.
Even if I didn’t have the circumference of a small moon right now, I’d still be ready to sacrifice my cool and say goodbye to this hip popping, bag crushing, disc slipping “kid-in-the-car” ritual in favour of a gigantic set of sliding doors.
While even the pedestrian version of sliding door seems black magic to me, every van owner I’ve needled has confessed that the power doors are positively life changing. Aside from the fact that they save the driver from having to make any concentrated effort at all, their slow motion prevents nasty finger squishes, and the relatively hands-free approach makes it easier to hold onto your little people/things when things are getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot. I’m going to use my reserved door-opening energy to take a shower later. Score.
Also, how great would it be to not have to deal with THIS situation ever again. Ugh.
I guess you could always get something a little sportier like this.
But then you’d look ridiculous.
See what I mean? Lambo be darned! Long live the Minivan! Buying a ”Mom Car” doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a future of Sunsweet spritzers and Matlock. It just means you have a really awesome vehicle that’s big enough for the really awesome passengers in your life. (Plus, if you get bored with it, you can always paint some flames on the side.)