Van life

Minivan Moms Are My People

Black SUVs? White SUVs? My people are the minivan moms.

Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Shutterstock

When I started shopping for my “mom car” for my growing family of four, I pictured myself buying an SUV — large but still stylish in white. An SUV would give me enough space for a couple of kids, but it would still give me a coolness factor. I pictured myself driving around town, windows down, jamming out to the Kidz Bop versions of all my favorite songs.

And then I came across a used minivan that I knew was too good of deal to not at least consider. My childhood was marked by our family’s turd-brown 2002 Astro Van. My older sister would beg my parents to park as far away as possible when picking us up at school. I was too young to be truly embarrassed by it, and I remember thinking it was roomy and high-tech because we could plug a DVD player in on long car rides. But I knew, even then, that it was decidedly not cool.

I might have mixed feelings about my childhood van, but once I slid into the seat of this updated beauty, I was genuinely amazed. Truthfully, I fell in love immediately. I couldn’t believe how comfortable I felt. There was room for all my stuff. And it had so many high-end features, like a backup camera, blind spot protection, and cup holders large enough to fit my tumbler (to be fair, I’d had my old car since high school). I had to have it.

The trunk fits our WonderFold wagon, as well as a traditional stroller, luggage, and an entire Costco run of groceries. My two boys have plenty of space between them, so we never have to worry about them fighting on long car rides. There is a 3rd row of seats for nieces, nephews, friends and whoever is small enough to crawl back there and ride with us. I sat there and pictured family vacations, grocery store runs and truly blissing out. Could all this function and ease even be possible?

I have buttons up front that control everything, so I can roll up to grocery pickup and open my trunk without ever having to walk outside. My van has storage compartments galore and plenty of room for snacks, books, and sippy cups. It’s awesome.

Plus, the clincher of this whole story is that I snagged a deal on my van! Not only was it listed at a great price with just a few thousand miles on it but it also came with about $2 in loose change still in the cup holder and a copy of Scooby Doo 2 in the DVD player. Total score!

Judging by the oldies preset radio station favorites still saved on Sirius XM, I can only assume the person who owned my car before me was a grandparent. (Thank you for taking such good care of her!)

The only catch: I feel judged by other drivers for driving one.

I live in the rural South, and most of our roads are one-lane highways. I can’t think of a time another car cut me off and another driver drove around me before I bought my van. But now it seems like I get cut off by other drivers all the time, usually by men driving anything other than a minivan. I thought I might have just been imagining this, and so I said something to my husband.

“You were probably just going too slow,” he remarked.

“You’re probably right.”

Well, a couple of weeks after this conversation, my husband took my van to get the oil changed, and he came home flustered and informed me:

“Madison, you were right about what you said about being treated differently in your van.”

Apparently, a man had tailed him for three or four miles, then sped up around him and cut him off (despite my husband going well above the speed limit). And that other guy seemed surprised to see it was a man driving the van, too.

This was one of my husband’s first times driving the van, too; it didn’t take weeks of him driving it to have this experience. Now, I firmly believe there’s some bias against us minivan drivers. And it’s bogus!

Since then, I’ve made an intentional effort to smile at my fellow minivan drivers — old, young, and everywhere in between. I feel like we make up our own little community. And for the people who cut me off or drive around I say: Drive around me. I’m calm, living a life of sheer comfort, function, and ease. You ain’t intimating my girl (the van).

I’m here to tell you that the space, comfort and features that come with minivans make minivans cool.

Even if not everyone is on board with that just yet.

Madison is a teacher, a firefighter wife, and a mom of two young boys. An INFJ, she is obsessed with Myers-Briggs and probably wants to know your type, although she might be too awkward to ask. When Madison isn’t working, writing for Scary Mommy, or taking care of her boys, you can find her traveling, reading, and trying out new recipes.