Mini Van Convert

Opening Doors with the Push of a Button? Sign. Me. Up.

Around this time last year, my husband and I had the discussion of wanting to expand our family from a family of 4 to a family of 5. This meant it was time to upgrade from our Prius  to something that a family of 3 kids under the age of 4 would fit into. And so our car hunt began.

We started our hunt as most families do: eliminating what we knew wouldn’t work. For us that meant anything with only one row. This brought us two options: an SUV or a van. I was strongly in the camp of not wanting a van. I grew up with a suburban, that was where my heart went. My husband’s family had a van, he knew they were practical and would fit our needs and were a much easier price tag to swallow. It was clear we would need advice from outside our household. And because it was 2021, I went looking for advice in a mom related Facebook group.

Upon asking for advice from moms around the country, I realized that everyone loves their vehicle and mini vans are divisive. You either love them or you hate them. One comment struck a nerve with me so much that I remember it nearly word for word over a year later, “if you’re just a stay at home mom or work as a teacher or something similar, get the mini van. If you work a professional job, you’ll need an SUV to be taken seriously.” WHAT? We live in a time when women are told they can be anything, we are encouraging a love for STEM subjects in girls starting in preschool and holding up women as they gain positions in politics and corporate jobs, but we’re going to draw the line at taking women seriously based off the fact that they might drive a van?! I was floored.

mini vanThis did give me a chance to reflect on my own resistance towards a van. What reason did I have to not even test drive one? Nothing concrete, I simply didn’t want someone to see me pulling up into a parking lot and identify me as a mom right away, as if the three car seats and finger smudges on the windows wouldn’t be a dead giveaway. I was harboring some internalized dislike for a vehicle that I had never even sat in. So we compromised: we would test drive one van for every SUV until we decided which would be the most practical for our family.

For various reasons, we decided Honda was the make for us. We drove the Pilot and loved it. The ride was smooth, the cab was nice and big, and there was plenty of room to grow our family. Then we sat in the Odyssey. It drove smoothly, albeit not quite as smooth as the Pilot. It had space in the cab. But the real money maker was the back. We sat at a stoplight and looked in the back seat. The space is amazing, we can rearrange the seats, and we can fold down a row for even more trunk space. It hit all of our boxes.

The winner was clear. We got the mini van and never looked back. Are there approximately 100 others like it when we pull up to the playground? Yes. Does it easily identify me as a mom when I drive down the street? Absolutely. Does it stop me from being able to lead a meeting? Not at all. We live in a time when we’re telling women they can be anything. Let’s not let something as silly as the vehicle they drive be what stops us from seeing women as powerful.

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