Until 2016 I had never owned a mini-van. Thinking back, I hardly remember even riding in one. My parents never owned one. In fact, my mom used to refer to them as “goober-mobiles.”
I had always driven a car or an SUV, and I liked it that way. SUVs seemed like the “cool” mom option: sporty and roomy, but still youthful. However, after my third child was born, I began to loathe my Ford Expedition. I could climb into it without much effort, but my kids sure couldn’t. This didn’t bother me too much until I had THREE children who were all 4 and under. My 4 year old could mostly climb in by himself, but I felt like I needed to “spot” him. And my 2 year old and newborn certainly had to be lifted in, which was not only exhausting, but also a safety hazard to have them all standing waiting to be loaded out in a busy parking lot. Not to mention the door issues with an SUV in a parking lot. If the vehicle next to you isn’t perfectly centered its soooo hard to squeeze in and still have enough room to lift your child in and out. Plus, if I had the third row of seats up I felt like I had ZERO cargo space. How could a vehicle feel so big to drive but yet so small on the inside??
At this point I really started disliking my SUV and wondering what better options were out there.
In the preschool parking lot I started noticing a lot of mini-vans. I would watch moms opening up their mini-van doors with one click of a button and ALL the kids climbed in on their own. No unsafe waiting in the parking lot, no hoisting them each in. And no issues squeezing in open doors because mini-van doors slide open all the way. After awhile I was green with envy and suuuuper annoyed everyday when it was time to load the kids in the car.
It was at this point that I decided that I wanted, no I NEEDED a mini-van.
I brought it up to my husband and he couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. I went through the logic and the reasons why I felt it was time, but he was still quite resistant. He just couldn’t wrap his head around the idea. “Mini-vans are so un-cool babe. You don’t really want one of those. How about just a different or bigger SUV? Maybe a Suburban?” was his response. I quickly reminded him that we had three kids and that we had been “un-cool” for a long time. But I agreed that if he would be willing to consider a mini-van, then I would be willing to go look at Suburbans.
So off we went (kids in tow) to go car shopping. Our first stop was the Chrysler dealership to look at minivans. The moment I laid eyes on the Pacifica, I was smitten. I pointed out to my husband all the “mom” features like a dvd player, an extra rear view mirror, and all the hidden storage. My kids happily demonstrated how easily they could get in and out ON THEIR OWN! And of course all the cargo room even with all 3 rows of seats up was awesome. My husband was impressed but he was still hopeful that he could win this dispute. He thought that climbing into a new Suburban would still be so much better. Boy, was he wrong.
As soon as we approached the Suburban even HE could instantly see the benefits of the mini-van when you have very young children. They were undeniable. Now, I’m not knocking Suburbans. They are great vehicles, just not as practical for the current life stage my family is in. When my kids are teenagers, there is a good chance that I will own one. But not now.
Now is the era of the minivan.
So we traded in my SUV for the much anticipated mini-van, and boy was I excited!
We have a tradition in our family of naming our vehicles. Our first ever mini-van, we decided to name “Pearl the Pacifica” for her iridescent off white paint color. Since buying Pearl, our entire family has fallen in love with her. She has been every bit as practical as I had hoped she would be. Plus, she’s surprisingly zippy! My husband has since nick-named her the “racing van” after he once beat an unsuspecting Corvette from one stop light to the next in what was one of the funniest moments of our lives! And of course our kids love Pearl. My oldest became known to his teacher at school for calling it his “mini-ban,” lol.
We have now owned Pearl for almost 2 years. She’s been a part of many adventures in our family and I hope she will continue her awesomeness for many more to come!
So moms out there, don’t be afraid to make the switch to a mini-van! They are not cool, but for my family, owning a mini-van has been awesome! Having a practical, appropriate vehicle for your family can make such a big difference in one’s life.