Welcome to Suburbia: You Get What You Ask For

I love Kristen Howerton’s blog, Rage Against the Minivan. I especially love the title. The way she married a fun play on words to the mommy-blog culture is fantastically creative. For the record, Kristen now drives a minivan, although begrudgingly.

We all know that raging against minivans is popular in our culture. When my husband and I first bought our minivan, his friends teased him mercilessly. Buying a minivan is seen as the end of youth, fun, and everything good. It’s a symbol of suburbia, boredom, soccer-momming, and schlepping. All that aside, as soon as I became pregnant with my daughter, I knew we had to buy a minivan. At the time, my oldest son was playing lots and lots of baseball, and we had to lug equipment and kids around every weekend. Adding a car seat, diaper bag, and stroller to that mix just wouldn’t work in a “regular” car. And now, with a six-person family, the minivan is even more of a necessity.

I don’t begrudge this necessity, I embrace it.

I am not oblivious to the cultural reasoning behind anti-minivan rhetoric. I understand why many swear up and down they will never drive a minivan, and why they curse the bleary-eyed moms who swerve into the wrong lane and sit too long at green lights. (tip: neither of those things are caused by the minivan. They are instead caused by trying to find the Dora doll that rolled under the seat while simultaneously trying to dig Cheerios out of a diaper bag and shove them into the mouth of a baby who is facing away from the driver’s seat. But I digress.)

Minivans mean marriage, kids, the end of bar hopping and world travel. They mean a regular job, a 401k, and wearing uncomfortable clothes five days a week.

In other words, the owner of a minivan has reached the pinnacle that the vast majority of people spend the first three decades of life trying to attain: spouse, kids, career. All societal markers of success.

So why the bad rep?

The universal “we” tend to do that. We long for marriage, but once married, feel tied down. We want children, yet once they are born, we long for an unhindered lifestyle. We work our hinnies off to get the job of our dreams, then count down the days to the next vacation. We shun domesticity while at the same time struggling hard to achieve it.

This is, of course, nonsensical.

So my suggestion is that the next time you see a harried mom (badly) driving a minivan down the road, instead of being scornful, be awed. You are in the presence of a woman who has everything she’s always wanted, and who wouldn’t give up the minivan life—schlepping, boredom, and Cheerios included—for all the convertibles in the world.


Bringing baby home, safe, in the middle row.

Related post: Why This Almost 35-Year-Old Mama Doesn’t Mind Wearing Beige