You are not your fucking minivan

by renegademama

We needed a new car. We drove a 2007 Expedition until it had 193,000 miles, a giant dent in the back, 159 smaller dents, ripped interior seats, broken visors, and an overwhelming scent of something. At this point, your guess is as good as mine.

Our decision to buy the Expedition was mostly about two things: Money and my ego. It was affordable, and it wasn’t a minivan.

But now, with four kids (we had three when we bought the Expedition), it makes about zero sense that we would attempt to shove our gaggle into anything OTHER than a minivan.

And yet, my guts retaliated. My whole self raged. I damn near bought a car that would require back-row kids to keep their knees at their chins. 

Wait. Would that have stopped them from talking? Shiiiiiit.

Seriously though, lemme just say that I am damn grateful to have the chance to buy a car, and even have a choice in which car to buy, and this is not lost on me, and there is a good chance I will sound like a whiney-ass douche while writing about OMG WHICH CAR SHOULD I BUYYYYYYY THIS IS SO HARDDDDDDD.

It’s not that hard. I’m fucking fortunate. Hashtag blessed.

 

Now let’s get back to my whining.

My intellect knew a minivan made more sense than any other car. The fucking doors open with a button. A BUTTON PEOPLE.

And there’s all kinds of space. And it gets way better gas mileage than a damn SUV. All reason and logic and decency point to minivan. And honestly, I wanted it. I wanted the comfort, but I was almost ashamed for wanting it.

Something about it felt a little like dying. Like giving up. Like surrendering to middle-aged obscurity.

I hate myself. I’m better than this! I am more than my car. I AM NOT MY FUCKING MINIVAN.

Except it kind of feels like I am.

 

But when I sat in the thing and pushed buttons to do all kinds of fancy shit and saw the backing-up camera and rear trunk space and DVD player I was like this ride is fucking sweet – fuck your fucking sexist car assumptions.

And we got it. And I love it.

But I’ve been thinking about the way I fought against it. What was it exactly?

I realized that in my head, a minivan says, “Welp you’re old and fat and unfuckable now. You’re all washed up. You wear ‘mom jeans’ and dress like it’s 1999 and your main purpose in life now is carpool-punctuality and getting those squeeze-apple things on clearance at Target.”

First of all: I fucking hate those squeezy food things. If I got that shit on my hands, I might actually throw up. No judgment though. I’m just saying.

And second: “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

Thank you, Tyler.

I AM THE ALL-SINGING, ALL-DANCING CRAP OF THE WORLD.

Do you ever think about the sexist shit you’ve internalized and allow to inhabit space in your brain? Do you ever shake your head in awe at how many jacked-up things we believe about ourselves?

It’s a car. Not an identity. It’s a convenient-ass car that opens like a space-shuttle.

It does not open like a space-shuttle. I made that up. It does however feel a little like a rocketship with all those windows.

Meanwhile, while I’m worried about losing my sex appeal via turning into a wide-girth automobile, salespeople are assessing my value based on my gender. Meanwhile, while I’m trying to please the patriarchy, the patriarchy is giving me another “fuck you.”

While I’m internalizing sexism, sexism is leveling me and I’m still worried about pleasing it. Goooooo team!

Specifically, at the first car dealership we visited, a salesman walked up to my husband and I, shook both our hands, but when he shook my husband’s, said: “Hello, BOSS.”

Yes, he’s the boss. Boss man. Good ol’ bossy Mcbosserson.

While test-driving, the salesman asked Mac what he did for a living and asked me how many kids we have, assuming a washed-up broad with 4 kids clearly does not work. I felt erased, and yet money I earn was helping buy that fucking space-shuttle. (We did not buy it from him.)

I was erased from decisions and erased from the economics. Within 15 minutes.

I wanted to tell salesdude that he should try joining the rest of us in 2016 (come on in, the air is fine), but I only speak when my boss gives me permission. The rest of the time I try to stand there and look cute and grateful and sexy if at all possible.

I JEST I NEVER ACTUALLY STOP FUCKING TALKING AND RUNNING THINGS.

Anywho, here’s the thing: How the hell did they convince us that buying a convenient, utilitarian vehicle is somehow a diminishment of our character? And how the fuck did I buy into it?

And how come nobody looks at a dad driving a minivan and thinks, “Well he’s clearly lost his will to live.”

No, we think: HOT DEVOTED DAD OMG MAYBE HE EVEN HAS DAD BOD.

Wait. Is that his wife? Oh how sad she’s clearly let herself go.

You know what? I’m not my fucking minivan. I’m not even my “mom jeans.” What are those? Do I have those? Seriously. WHAT ARE THOSE?

I’m not yoga pants or my “mommy blog” (DIE IN A FIRE FUCKERS).

I’m a 37-year-old woman who has four kids, an intellect, interests, and a relatively smokin’ writing career if I may say so myself and even IF my whole life was carpools and squeeze-food things, capitalist patriarchy can kiss my mom ass.

Also, Tyler is hot.

Thank you, Tyler.

Tyler-durden-1

38 Comments | Posted in feminist AF | August 16, 2016
  • kristin

    Thank you! I adore my minivan, and driving my beasts around with us all comfortable and happy (and spaced out, god, there is nothing worse than kids right next to each other in the car) is soooo much better than worrying about what men think of my sex appeal. I’m hot, the car is sweet, and fuck them.

  • Sofia Bruck

    Yes…But I still hate my minivan. And yes, I am grateful…But when I had two kids, I had a very sexy car…now I have a minivan. I’ll tell you what, my kid’s LOVE the minivan. Vomit.

    • Rachel Romano

      My minivan is sexy.

  • Martha

    Yes!!! I love my minivan. And the buttons. It’s amazing. BUT, even though I am the one who went to see it, went to test drive it ALONE, negotiated the price down ALONE, etc., every FUCKING piece of paper that comes from the dealership is addressed to my husband and my husband only. It enrages me.

    • Angie

      The same thing happened to me when we bought our first house a few months ago. I hired the realtor, did all of the paperwork and correspondence with the bank, set up the closing appointment and signed my name first, but still I am the woman so I don’t matter. We continue to get mail addressed to my husband or the “current owner” of the property. Even more infuriating was setting up utilities. I couldn’t set up the trash service until the deed was transferred to us. After closing I called and they had already started the account but had taken only my husband’s name from the deed (even though our previous account was in my name only) and were going to deny me access until he called and gave “permission” for me to use it. And car dealerships are the worst, they seriously are about 50 years behind the times on professionalism and understanding the modern family. Go fuck yourself, Patriarchy.

  • Sam C

    YES! All of this. Just had twins. Already have a toddler. Had to upgrade to a minivan to fit all of the children I have that need car seats. EVERYONE NEEDS CARSEATS. How do you get so many children into car seats at one time? HOW???

    I can’t believe how much pregnancy advice (read: judgment), twin advice (read: judgment) and car buying advice (read: judgment) I had to endure during this pregnancy. “A minivan means your life is over!”, “A minivan is the best thing ever! Now wear these mom jeans and buy a minivan organizer from QVC!” Really, people: I am just trying to survive this whole thing. I got an entirely extra person in this pregnancy that I didn’t mean to have – please don’t judge how I am handling it. My strategy is Do Whatever the Fuck You Have to Do to Survive. If that means buying a minivan because the doors open automatically and I want to cry every time I think about the fact that I don’t have enough hands to take care of all of these humans, then please, keep your opinions to yourself about what it MEANS that I have a minivan and how it DEFINES me.

    So, once again, Janelle – thanks for saying so well what I wish I could put into words myself. And thanks for the dose of Tyler, too.

  • branjo

    OMG, yes!

    Got in, pushed the cool buttons. Um hello heated steering wheel…I’m from Canada. This ride is sweeeeeeet.

    Big, gas guzzling, suvs are nothing but minivan avoidance machines. Why waste the money on that when you can have sliding doors that open with a button?

    And um, yeah, Tyler is hot!

    • Mary

      “minivan avoidance machines”. HA!

  • Vero

    I’m 49 with a 10 and 15 year old. Both play sports and have friends. We drove around in a 2001 ford sports trac till may of 2016. Because I refused to drive a mini-van! I can totally relate and lol because it’s all true.

    I love my mini van! I’m actually happy I have it now because it’s so luxurious that I think I would actually cry if there were goldfish and bottles of milk, and juice cups. Now I only have to worry about slurpees and dust from baseball fields.

    I call it my mini LIMO

  • Nieves

    Totally! All of this. I had the moments of despair and over the hillishness when I got my mini-van but now I love it and could give a fuck what anybody thinks.

    Also, how the fuck did Soccer Mom become a put down?

  • jnl

    im a 36 year old single female with NO KIDS (!) and i proudly drive a minivan. i had a sedan and i was always annoyed i couldnt fit anything in it. so i got a minivan and i love it. except that it needs a new transmission. and tires.

    i will always have a big ass vehicle cause its useful. tho one day when im rich (HAHAHAHHAHAHA) i will also have a nice small car (a TESLA!) so i dont have to drive a minivan when its empty.

    my motto in life has always been “i dont give a shit what other people think” so it didnt even cross my mind that driving a minivan might not be cool. im so uncool that i am cooler than everyone.

  • Carli N.

    My minivan and I are one. It appreciates my blaring Snoop Dog with the windows rolled down, almost as much as the tattoo sticker I have on the back next to my oldest kid’s high school mascot sticker. And it’s white! I’m a 38 yr-old soccer mom of 3, who drives a white minivan! And that is A-OK. I am still cool me with an identity of my own. As my boyfriend recently told me (I’m also getting divorced and love the ego boost), and I believe this with every bit of me, “That minivan makes you even more of a MILF than you already were.” Amen, baby. I’ll live up to that role.

  • Jennifer

    If I see you driving your mini van around town I promise to smile and wave. I like the way you look at life!

  • Daphne

    I proudly went out and bought a minivan five years ago – no husband, no male companion. Just little old me. Everyone at work thought I was crazy. My response: “I can drive 2 kids around squashed into the back of an suv – fighting and scraching and picking at each other – or I can drive my kids, and their friends, around in a family room on wheels where everyone has their own space and enough distance to keep them happy.” I think a ‘sweet’ ride depends on your defintion of sweet. Happy, quiet, non-bickering kids?????? SWEET!

  • Amy

    Fuck, yeah! To hell with disdain for mommy blogs, soccer moms, etc. Why does being responsible for the care of the human future equate to put downs?? We are using our multi-tasking, very efficient brains at warp speed every day.

  • Susan

    Wait. I thought we weren’t supposed to be talking about fight club 😉

    But seriously, I have the same dilemma. Love my minivan, but hate that I love it.

    • Frankie Gonzalez

      That’s great! The first rule of fight club!

  • Natasha Garcia

    We need a minivan wave. One that says “I’m with you. I support you. And we are all fucking amazing!”

    • Lisa

      Maybe we should all get Jack Daniels stickers? I don’t drive a mini van yet, but I can still have a sticker, right?

  • Sarah

    Capitalist patriarchy can kiss my mom ass! Fuck yes. I’m getting a mini van now. Thank you.

  • Gloria

    “Hello boss.” Really??!? Boggles the mind.

  • Jessica

    I actually never had an issue with getting a minivan. However, I have to also admit that Im someone who ALLLLL I used to want was the be a mom and wife and live that white picket fence life. Now that I have two kids, reality has slammed me in the face laughing hysterically. I guess I’m just a wicked practical person too though so I also heart my minivan! Hell yes to those sliding second row captain seats baby! I can also law down in the third row and nap while my kdis nap in the car lol

  • Vicky

    I loved my minivan. Sadly, it died a terrible death of head gasket failure shortly before the birth of my son. As in, I had no kids, and a minivan. I bought that bitch on purpose, out of pure, bed-in-the-back-for-camping/sex/roadtrips/whatever desire. I LOVED it. Now I want a minivan. Damn you.

  • Frankie Gonzalez

    Wow. I’m actually going through this right now. I want a Jeep. Not a Jeep Cherokee,a real fucking Jeep that the top comes off of and big ass tires and all the shit. And then my kids say, but, mom, how are you going to take 6 grandkids to the drive-in, in a Jeep! I had my kids really young and I had 3 of them so now at a pretty young 46 years old, I have 6 grandkids. And I think this blog just made me realize that I might need to get a cool ass minivan. After all, good times are way more important in the long run than having some 23 year old hottie in a Mustang salivate over me at the red light because I’m sitting in a Jeep. Because to be honest, I don’t want some 23 year old hottie. I’m perfectly fine with my hottie husband and 6 grandkids. So let’s go buy a minivan!

  • Lori Ownby

    The other day we passed a man driving a minivan and in the back window there was a sticker that said “I used to be cool”. It made me and my husband laugh. I thought of that sticker when I read your story. Let that shit go and enjoy the rocket ship!

  • Amy DuBois

    Bahahahahahaha! I absolutely adored this blog! I swore off EVER EVER EVER (did I say EVER?) driving a minivan. I did the SUV thing, then I had a quarter life crisis and bought a 2 door coupe (against the sales lady’s recommendation, what with a carseat…). Then my sister called in crisis mode, needing to pawn off a vehicle…THE MINIVAN. Against everything inside of me, I helped her – I put on my dark sunglasses, a baseball cap, and I took on the Mom-Mobile. I actually started to ENJOY the Mom-Mobile and how we could fold all the seats down and turn it into a bed at the drive-in theater. My enjoyment quickly returned to horror and humiliation when I heard my then 4-year-old son call it the Loser Cruiser while talking to his sister. Now I’m cramming a hockey bag into the hatch back of a Mitsubishi Mirage :/

  • Tania L

    I fuckin’ love you. That is all.

  • Heather

    Giant ditto. Went through this experience about 10 years ago. Kicking and screaming. But I love my minivan. It’s super functional and still a smooth ride.

    But… looking back, I think the hardest part for me was that it was the final step in transforming from “young, childless” me into MOM. A big, fat, tangible, public announcement that I was gone and only MOM remained.

    When we got our minivan, it was MY car that was traded in. Never mind that the AC was broken and it was older and in worse shape than my husband’s. HE wasn’t losing his car, his youthful identity. Never mind that he now drives it as often as I do. He never minded driving it, never felt emasculated. I took strength from that and would think about how silly I was being letting a stupid car define me (way easier said than done).

    If cars were colors, minivan would be khaki.

    You’re right, Tyler. I am not my fucking khakis.

  • Kara

    I LOVE you Janelle!

    I would like to add that minivans are HOT!

    In addition to the driving the kids around to a zillion activities, they can me expertly utilized for DATES. Yep, dates!

    Get a sitter for a couple of hours or (I’m serious here) over night. Pull those seats out and dump ’em in the driveway. Sweep out the crumbs and goo, or use a tarp ;-

    Fold down the back. Add sleeping pads, a comforter, and pillows.

    Drive to your favorite in the middle of no where date location. Open bottle of wine, play nice tunes. Watch the stars, giggle, talk, chat about how the kids are so cute and you shouldn’t be talking about them on date night.

    Then close that door and MAKE OUT!! Super sweet sexy space of your own. You can drive back home and kiss them while they sleep with a sweet smile on your face that you had some sexy time of your own.

    If you’re brave, hire an overnight sitter. Instead of paying by the hour we strike a deal for overnights at $100 or $150 depending on how long we are gone for. Its a ton. But we’re not paying for food or a hotel because we are in the van. There’s nothing like a short and sweet trip to a hot springs with my sweetie to make me a BETTER MOM.

    Love you guys.

  • Mary Drew Powers

    I never understood this minivan issue except in one way: I have an issue with SUVs which is just as silly.
    SUV drivers have a “Sport Utility Vehicle” that is supposed to be a bad-ass, I-can-do-anything-go-anywhere and I-am-recreating-the-hell-out-of-life type of vehicle, but most of them are used for commuting, daily errands, or maybe driving out to a farm stand. I was in one a few weeks ago and the owner was all freaked out about driving on a dirt road. Egad – it’s a SPORT UTILITY vehicle.
    So to me, owners of SUVs who use them in the above-mentioned way seen somewhat false. People in minivans are genuine. They’ve got the car they need for their real-life tasks, not a car bought to make a (false) statement to the world.

  • Carrie

    I have had minivans for the past 12 years. There is no way I could fit my five kids in a SUV nor would I want to. One of them has a 36″ inseam and can barely fold his legs in anything anyway. I don’t like the minivan life but I love my kids, my life and the space the minivan provides. Welcome to the club.

  • daniel pelfrey

    You know how much shit dads get for our cargo shorts? They are the utilitarian storage container for everything and everybody. Function over form. Just like the minivan.

    We bought the Ford 12 seater a few years ago because we outgrew the minivan. OUTGREW THE FUCKING MINIVAN!!!

  • Steph D

    I swore I would never be a stay at home mom, swore I would never live in the burbs, swore I would never have a doodle, swore I would never have a mini van. Well that is all me and I am oh so grateful and have learned to love it all. I still faught that mini van. My family joked about how we should have taken a photo of my “surprise” baby bump in the driveway of our suburban home in front of the mini van with the kids in their sports garb and me holding the mini golden doodle.

    Thanks for being awesome and keep being you!

  • Pam

    I love my minivan, I hate the term mommy blogger, and I love you even more now for having written this gem.

  • Lauren

    Word. Trying to buying a car while female is the most frustrating thing imaginable. Even moreso buying a car while young female. Last time I did it I was 21 and made more money than the dude and he still treated me like I was a little girl who fell off her bike and scraped her knee.

  • Jennifer

    I needed a van – was dead set against having a mini van. Oh, so against the mini van. I was a poor single mom living in a rich WASP town having grown up a poor daughter of a single mom in a rich WASP town. The last thing I wanted was a mini van but I had twins and a singleton all in car seats. I bought a Chevy So Not A Mini Van. I loved that thing and drove it till it died at 250K miles. I still refuse to drive a Mom-mobile. Some parts of this Mommy Myth I refuse to buy into.

  • Tammi

    Good ol Bossy Mcbosserson!!!! Too fkn funny!

  • Cheryl S.

    I am SO with you. I want my SUV back, dammit! The mini van is great. It’s practical, my daughter loves it, the big-ass German Shepherd fits in the back, I can haul SO MUCH STUFF. Like you, I’m grateful I can afford it. BUT STILL.