Thursday, January 28, 2010
War Of The Wheels
Ah, the Mommy Wars. There are all of the standard battles: Breast vs. Bottle, Co-sleeping Attachment Parenting vs. Terrible Horrible Parent Neglect, Spanking vs. Time Outs, and the ever popular Working Mom vs. Stay At Home Mom. But this week my eyes were opened to a whole new mommy war: The Minivan Conflict. A friend of mine is the proud owner of a shiny new minivan, which was a surprise from her husband. In her excitement she posted the news as her status on Facebook, and the commenting ensued. There were proclamations of "How wonderful, I LOVE MY MINIVAN!" and there were statements such as "Oh, you're crossing over to the dark side?!" It seemed that the commenters each fell squarely in one camp or another: Minivan Moms or, um, Not Minivan Moms. Let me just say right this minute that I do not care if you choose to drive a 1989 Cutlass with rainbows and unicorns painted on it. I just do not care and do not really have the time to sit and ponder why people choose the cars they choose. That is maybe why I don't understand what happened next. Another friend commented: "Oh, watch out, Abby's next. Before you know it she'll have the stick-figure family and a soccer ball decal on the back window." And I may have replied with something to the effect of, "When hell freezes over I will!" Which led to the inevitable, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH STICK-FIGURE DECALS OF YOUR FAMILY ON THE BACK OF YOUR MINIVAN?!?!1! RAWR!!!" To which I said nothing, obviously, because I had just pissed off someone with plenty of trunk space and probably some rope in those under-the-floorboard-storage things. No no no, picturing myself bound and thrown in the back of a Toyota Sienna with a stick-figure decal slapped tightly over my mouth was enough to make me go WHOA. STOP. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered WHY someone would care if I like their stick-figure decals and their minivan. I do not drive my Jeep down the road fretting about what it says about me as a person, and I certainly do not feel the need to defend my choice of vehicle to anyone. I like my car, just as I'm sure millions of moms love their minivans, but you will rarely find an SUV driver Mommy defending their cars to the death. Maybe I'm naive and I will be eating my words in five years when I am rolling into the carpool lane in my hot new Dodge Caravan. But I doubt it. For as much as I do not care one iota what other people drive (although, come on. The stick-figure people on the back? THIS MUST STOP. NOW. These to me are just as bad as the yellow "Baby On Board" stickers, and nearly as bad as the "My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student" bumper stickers.), driving a minivan is the ONE thing about parenthood that I just cannot make myself embrace. I have never looked at a mom driving one and thought anything negative (except for when aforementioned stickers are involved), yet I can't do it. I just CAN'T. I feel allergic to minivans. I don't hate them, I don't think they're ugly, and yes I KNOW they drive like a dream and all the storage! and room! and dvd players! But...I can't. I do occasionally, you know, have a life outside of my family, and go out somewhere with friends. And I have a recurring nightmare of valet parking my minivan at some trendy new restaurant and slinking inside before anyone sees which car I got out of. Silly? Maybe. But I feel like there is a list twelve miles long of things that I have given up to be a mother (sleep, sanity, and the ability to pee alone are just a few), and while there is also a list a thousand miles long of things I have gained with parenthood, I cannot, will not, put "driving a minivan" onto the latter list. I will forever make my children actually open the doors instead of using one of those door opener clicky things that vans come with these days, and I do not have seventy-five cubic feet of storage space under the backseats. But I don't care. Viva la resistance.