Hot Wheels

As if I needed further confirmation.

As if a third pregnancy, a third dive into the bin of maternity clothes, and a third round of biweekly OB appointments weren’t reminder enough.

I now have a very large, somewhat aerodynamic memento sitting in the garage symbolizing our growing family and the fact that I am a suburban mom of two-and-a-half.

My friends, I am now the (proud?) owner of a minivan.

What has been the most obvious outward symbol of transition in your own life?

Image: 2010-Honda-Odyssey-EX_091 by bhoecht via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

58 responses to “Hot Wheels

  1. Aiee! The ubiquitous minivan! At least tell me that it has a dvd player in it? Those things are awesome.

    When I got preggers with Miss M., we had to buy a new house, so I guess a bigger car is not such a big hurdle. Moving while pregnant really, really sucks. Enjoy your new ride!

    • Nope, no DVD player. I decided that I didn’t want to be subjected to the begging for a DVD during every five minute drive. (Believe me, the salesman did his darndest to convince us that it was a must-have item!)

  2. Could it be the ever dirty right shoulder of all my shirts? The ugly diaper bag? I wish I could be that trendy Park Slope mom, but I feel more like a Blue Light Special at times.

    We bought a RAV4- only I think it is the smallest SUV on the road. It’s definately a “one-kid car”. My neighbor downstairs has three boys and a minivan with a remote door opener, which I find pretty snazzy.

  3. Same here. The MINIVAN I thought I’d never have. I mean, we’ve had it since before I was pregnant with the third…but yes, it was a BIG deal for the shift in my mind…the “I’m actually a grown woman mom” shift 🙂

    I love my friend Kristen’s bio…(her blog is Rage Against the Minivan because she was SO anti-minivan). Then they had 4 kiddos. Part of that bio says, “In the spring of 2010, Kristen lost her long and passionate battle against the minivan. It now sits in her driveway covered in crushed cheerios and remnants of her self-esteem. ”

    Cracks me up. All that NOT to say that YOU are ashamed…I just say it because it’s funny and true of so many of us. 🙂

  4. Our family managed to avoid the minivan since we only have two kids. But I’ve got to admit that those vehicle have some really cool features! I hope your new ride is fully loaded.

    I don’t know if this is an outward symbol… I knew I was offically a parent when I started using the kids’ ages as measurements on the timeline of our family’s events instead of the actual year. Rather than say we moved into our house in 1998 I would say that we moved in when G-Man was 2 years old.

    • I know exactly what you mean. Just this weekend I told someone I had just met that we’ve lived here since right before Big Boy was born. And, because he had never met Big Boy, he didn’t know that that translated into “just over three years.” 🙂

  5. Ditching the minivan and getting the cool sedan I always wanted. Teens are so cool.

  6. I am VERY anti-mini-van. I refuse to capitulate. Should we decide to have 3, I may have to revisit this. Sigh…
    For me the most obvious was losing my home office. It’s now a nursery. I’m not sure I’ll ever get it back.

    • I loved our compact cars and never thought I’d have a minivan. But then I realized that cars – even SUVs – that can hold three carseats are few and far between. And therein the deal was sealed. 🙂

  7. It is so very funny this mockery of the mini-van. A Mom friend of mine capitulated and got one recently and honestly, it is really very nice and far more luxurious inside than my Murano!

    What is the most significant outward symbol for me? I think now we are past the stage of stair gates, potties, strollers and all of that then it has to be my wardrobe – no heels, skirts, pant and dress suits any more, just jeans and shorts and flat shoes 🙂

    • Let me tell you, Jane, the souped-up minivan that we test drove was definitely a luxury vehicle. Sadly, we opted for a slightly less fabulous model, but so far I’m impressed. Very comfortable and no more doing higher math in order to get all of our stuff into the trunk of a compact car.

  8. Hehe, I remember the moment we relented and got a minivan. Dark day. 🙂

    The most obvious sign of which season of motherhood I’m currently engaged in now is the number of backpacks sitting in the entryway, the pile of soccer cleats cluttering the closet, and the video games crowding the holiday wish list.

  9. Too funny!

    I have never had a minivan. I have never had a station wagon (remember those?). I am, however, the (not-so-proud) owner of jeans, with an elastic waist, and the frequent visitor to a coiffeuse who paints the teen-injected gray…

    A different stage entirely.

  10. Rock it, Kristen!
    So far, we’re squeezing into our Versa hatchback – but I already find it hard to imagine getting a car seat and a booster into the back of that little ride. I’m not sure we have as iconic a family symbol as a minivan…we just have a fledgling social life (though that has more to do with the house baby even than the real one!) and lots of toys.

    • We did fine with two carseats in our little car. The only trouble we ever had was going on trips. I don’t think the average compact car was made to handle all of the accoutrement that accompany a baby and a toddler on an overnight trip.

  11. I think for me was actually being able to ditch the diaper bag. The transition from diaper-bag carrying mommy to non-diaper-bag carrying mommy was less traumatic than I thought it would be. I just woke up one day and realized I was carrying a small purse with absolutely no diapers in it. I honestly thought it would never happen. Heaven, absolute heaven, I tell you!

    • We recently went away for a long weekend and, although I was traveling with both boys, I insisted on carrying a separate purse in addition to the diaper bag. For some reason I needed to feel that sanity of having a special, designated place for my own stuff.

      • I got My Guy a dude’s diaper bag so when we’re out, I can carry my own purse and he can carry the diaper bag and not be uneasy with its girlieness. After all, it’s not like he has a purse himself, so why not we each carry something right?

  12. The family utility vehicle. Got it. But, I grew up driven in an old VW bus. Cars are nit self defining. Get what works.

    • Oh, man. Do they still make the VW bus? That would have been a great option.

      I grew up as one of three kids and my parents always drove big American sedans (almost always Buicks) so my brothers and I would just sort of drape ourselves over each other when we were on long car rides. I think concerns for safety were different then. I don’t remember carseats and booster seats and seat belts playing the role that they do now.

  13. I remember the fight about the minivan- I was told that I didn’t care because I wasn’t driving it. Truth is that I really didn’t care- could drive the Odyssey every day and not be bothered by it.

    But it didn’t make sense for me to do that so it didn’t happen. Now many years later she doesn’t care. It is really convenient for carpool, vacations and lugging around sports equipment.

    Doesn’t hurt that it feels relatively luxurious inside, well it used to. Those kids have done a number on it but still. It is nice not to have to worry about car seats anymore, no more boosters of 5 point harnesses to worry about.

    • A friend of mine in college drove his family’s old minivan and it boasted a terrible smell. I suspect that one of his siblings had spilled some sort of dairy product and it was never quite wiped up.

  14. Congratulations ?! This made me laugh. We bought our van like 5 months before Andrew was born. Of course, it is old like the rest of our stuff (google Toyota Previa ’91 and you will see what I mean), but we love it. Ben and I both agree it is our favorite car ever. Hopefully you do too!

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  16. I’m giggling at the comments so far — the anti-minivan camp (or its former members) are out in force! I have not yet had to decide whether we will be minivan owners or not, but I think my primary aversion to the vehicle in question used to lie in the sheer size of it. (I was afraid I’d never be able to judge how much room I had around me.) Then I had to borrow a minivan for a small move and found it wasn’t so bad.

    Hope the perks of your new wheels are plentiful!

  17. Yay – congratulations! There are plenty of jokes about suburban moms with minivans, but they are just so darn practical – how can you refuse? A few years ago, Husband and I rented a minivan for a road trip – and HE LOVED IT! They’re so spacious and roomy, and it’s kind of nice to ride high on the road, compared to our low-profile little sedan.

    Have fun!

  18. That’s a living room on wheels – such a great thing for your growing family. I will admit, we upgraded our SUV from big to really big with the addition of our third child. Oh, we had to buy a new house too. Otherwise, I am certain, I would be insane right now.

    • Hi Cathy – We live in a three bedroom house so the arrival of Baby #3 is definitely making us think more creatively about how we use our space. Luckily our boys already share a bedroom so they won’t have to make any adjustments room-wise. It’s my big boy (aka my husband) who is going to lose his home office once the wee one arrives.

  19. Oh no the minivan – Kristen, you didn’t! I am not so much anti-minivan, but just have a a problem who haven’t managed to learn to park with them. A parking class should be a prerequisite for driving them.
    Have fun with your new set of wheels!

    • I think you’re onto something, Rudri. I’ve never driven a big car before and I can’t believe how much bigger my “footprint” is with this minivan. So far I’ve done okay in the parking lots, but I’ve seen enough wacky parking jobs to know exactly what you mean.

  20. I’ve remarked to many of my friends and family that this second little one is going to enter into our lives with much less fanfare than the first. Already at 24 weeks and so little has been done. Clothes haven’t been bought. Nothing has been set up. I suspect that may not change.

    We have, however, started looking for a larger vehicle of our own as well. Though with our location/lifestyle we’ve been looking at things with three wheels, rather than two.

    Either way, new vehicles are fun! Enjoy yours!

    • Hi, Danielle – Thanks so much for stopping by Motherese. I completely relate to how you’re feeling with the impeding arrival of a second child. I’m 24 weeks pregnant with my third and, if it weren’t for the back pain and that tell-tale belly, I think I would forget I’m pregnant half the time.

      I look forward to checking out your site!

  21. I would have to agree that a minivan with three kids is a must. There is just so much crap that goes along with the kids, you know?

    As for signs of motherhood, besides the extra skin, gray hair and crow feet that have taken residence near my eyes, are teh rapidly multiplying bookbags, assignments and extra curricular activities. Never a dull moment…

  22. I agree the minivan is a very practical option but I hope to never have one myself… We had one growing up and they are SO practical especially when your kids have friends with them. I am hoping by the time we need one, they have some new crossover that looks like a VW GTI that somehow holds eight people inside.

    Signs of motherhood…house always feels littered with random clutter from our little 18-month clutter creating gnome.

  23. I had to laugh at this. We went to test drive a bigger vehicle yesterday too! My Guy and I are both car enthusiasts so we agreed a minivan is definitely not in the cards for us. However, there are many seven-passenger SUVs or even crossovers that would be close and still give us the performance we like in our day-to-day driving.

    I actually have a post in my head for this, but not until we actually purchase the vehicle. We’re still shopping now but I can hear his heart breaking at the thought of having to lose our sporty drive now. But he at least found other great alternatives that would give us the room for our family to grow and at the same time provide us the performance and handling we need for a fun drive.

    I do understand the appeal of a minivan though. With all that cargo space and perks that come with the Odyssey, it’s going to be hard to miss the car (or your previous life as not-quite-soccer-mom). Soccer mom image or not, it’s important that YOU are comfortable and you did what makes sense for your family. Enjoy your sweet new ride!

  24. Ahhhh, the joys of the minivan. I’m still driving my station wagon. But when it was in the shop we rented a minivan and the ease of getting in, getting out, storing all of our crap with three kids? Heaven! It almost made me want to make the switch. Almost.

  25. I drove a minivan for twelve years, I think, though since it was the Odyssey, and it wasn’t really “mini” was it? How I loved it! I mean, yes, it was ugly, but it had automatic side doors! And plenty of space for my kids and others, safely! And it rode up high.

    Finally, in 2007, I realized that my van was no longer needed since my daughter was already 8 and son 12 and that was it. It’s a whole new world when the kids can jump in and out by themselves and you’re in and out like a flash! But there’s a time for everything, right? I figured I am no more defined by my car as “van” than I was when I drove a broken down Pinto just out of college or, even now, with my really pretty SUV! It’s a car, it’s not my soul!

  26. I think mini vans are contagious! I have a friend who just bought one. She only has 1 kid, so I’m not sure what they are going to do with all of those empty seats.

    I imagine when it’s time to replace my Saturn Vue, we’ll be going the mini van route too. It’s just a matter of time.

  27. By far our best–and most expensive–purchase to accommodate three kids. Oh, wait, there was also the house. 🙂

    And so it starts…the land of three kids. The concrete proof that there will indeed be another beautiful Motherese offspring. You know how happy I am for you! Wheeee!!!

  28. My friend with 3 kids has a minivan, and we can fit my 2 kids and her 3 kids and all the carseats, snacks, etc..with no problem. It’s awesome.

    I think my transition to motherhood is marked by the fact that
    a. I need afternoon coffee
    b. I can’t stay up past 10pm (even with that afternoon coffee)

  29. I think my attire…hair up in a quick bun and lots of sweatsuits.:)

  30. Oh, and congrats on the new car! 🙂

  31. Oh God. Oh God. No. Tell me it ain’t so. It’s the one thing I REFUSE to give into. Hubby keeps telling me he’s gonna get one and “deck it out”…bike racks, surfboard racks, kayak racks….rack it up all you want, I say…I ain’t gettin’ in that thing.
    I have to get back to you on the question….gotta give it some thought!

  32. We’ve have yet to buy a minivan… but we have rented them for road trips when our 3rd kid (the farting boxer bulldog) is in tow, and wow, they really grow on you (until you have to pay to fill them up again).

    For me, like Pietra and Wendy, it had to be the diaper bag that signified the parenting shift, that sudden-onset sack of Sisyphus to cramp every style and squelch all hopes of sudden spontaneous egress.

    Enjoy the ride 🙂

  33. I am not ashamed to say that my minivan, going on 6 months now, has changed my life. In a good way. Sounds dramatic. But it was a dramatic road to get to this point. Welcome!

  34. Hahahaha! This totally reminds me of the swagger wagon song. I posted the link for you, just in case you haven’t watched it before. 🙂

  35. Ha, welcome to the uncool club. I became a member just before our twins were born with no end in sight.

  36. I drive the same car I bought when my daughter was in a rear facing car seat. She’s graduating high school this year. I painted hippy flowers on it last year to give myself a pick-me-up. Does that count as a sign of transition…One Happy Mommy Focused On Herself As Well As Her Family???

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