minivanI haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks, partly due to the fact that school let out. Did you know that kids are very demanding? Over the school year, I had apparently forgotten that little fact, so it’s been difficult for me to carve out some time to write. It’s also due to the fact that my beloved minivan got hit two weeks ago. While it was getting fixed I had to drive a rental car, which threw me off my game a little bit. And let me tell you, not having my minivan has made me realize just how much I appreciate it.

The poor minivan. It gets such a bad rap, always being associated with “soccer Moms” and suburbia. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things, but there has always seemed to be a stigma about the minivan, preventing many people from purchasing one once they have a family.

My husband, who is an “all or nothing” kind of guy, also happens be to a “car guy.” Before we had children, he loved his fast, little, zoom-y sports cars. But when we were expecting our first child, it was he who suggested we buy a minivan, and I was the one who was a little hesitant. Me? Driving a minivan? Ugh! It just didn’t feel right.

But, we did it. We purchased our first minivan a full six months before our first child was even born! And I have to say, I love minivans! They are the most practical type of vehicle I have ever driven. They’re big, they’re comfy, and they can fit all the crap that comes along with having kids.

Fast-forward to the present. There we were, summer vacation about to begin, and I was suddenly without my minivan. I had to empty it of all the summer and beach gear I had already stocked it with. But where did all of it go, you ask? Not in the rental car, I can assure you, because nothing fits in a car!

Anyway, in the nearly two weeks I drove around in this rental car, I had a some time to think of all the reasons I love having a minivan.

  1. Visibility. When I drive around in my van, I feel like I can see everything. The windows go from front to back without much in between, so there aren’t any blind spots. This gives me much more confidence that I’m not going to hit someone when backing up or changing lanes (of course it didn’t help in the case of my accident where someone else hit me. Shockingly, that driver was in a tiny car!) In any case, driving a little car around in a world full of enormous vehicles makes me nervous, especially when trying to back out of a parking spot and I can’t see because the vehicles parked on either side of me are twice as big as mine!
  2. Being Visible to Others. I don’t know if I was just a little paranoid since I had just gotten in an accident, but while I drove around in the rental car, I got cut-off by other drivers every single day! I know the car was on the small side, but I’m pretty sure it was big enough for other people to see. Now that I’m back in my minivan, I know that other drivers can see me (again, barring the other driver who “didn’t see me” and hit my giant vehicle).
  3. Storage Space. I know I already covered this, but I think it warrants another mention. I only have two kids, but having a van allows me to put all the stuff I think I might need when we’re out and about. Boogie boards, beach chairs, sand toys, basketballs, baseball bats, etc. in the summer, and sleds, extra coats, hats, gloves, and mittens in the winter. If we’re ever out and someone needs an extra anything, there’s a 98% chance I’ve got it in the minivan. You just can’t do that with a car, unless you don’t also need to fit actual people in your car.
  4. Proximity to Children. In a minivan, even when the kids are in the middle row, they just aren’t quite as close to you as they are in the back seat of a car. And if they aren’t as close it means they aren’t quite as loud.
  5. Ease of Maneuverability Within the Vehicle. That one is a mouthful, but that’s the only way I could think to describe it. Even in an SUV, getting to the back row involves climbing over people and seats, or moving seats out of the way. In the minivan, all you have to do is walk (if you’re a kid) or crouch/crawl (if you’re an adult).

Of course, not everything about minivans is great, so there is something to be said about having a car.

  1. Parallel Parking. I don’t have to parallel park very often, but in a van, it’s something I only attempt if I absolutely have to. In a car (especially a tiny car) it’s super easy and not nerve-wracking or stressful at all.
  2. Gas Mileage. Obviously you’ll spend more money on  gas driving a minivan than a little car, but since gas prices have dropped so significantly over the last year, it doesn’t affect me as much as it used to.

This also happens. I can’t decide on which list it belongs, though.

And that’s it. That’s all I could come up with for the good things about cars. Naturally, if I didn’t have children, I wouldn’t need a minivan. But since this is where life has taken me, it’s minivan or bust!

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