I thought a minivan was inevitable when I learned I was pregnant with twins and I already had an 18 month old toddler at home. Short answer: NOPE.
To be fair, I have an SUV with optional third row seating. I purchased my SUV when my oldest daughter was 16 months old because my little sedan was rear-ended and totaled (may she rest in peace, I loved her so). I knew I was destined for the “mom car,” but with 1 kiddo I did not feel pressure to minivan myself. Then when telling folks I was pregnant with twins, one of the more frequent comments I received was, “So you’re going to get a minivan, right?” Uhhh… NOPE.
People sing the praises of the “stow and go” and doors sliding open. My husband says, “The doors on our cars open on both sides too, I don’t see the advantage.” I was prepared to begrudgingly fall in love with the minivan experience during our family vacation to California (when I rented a minivan for the duration of our 8-day trip).
Low and behold, I learned I love my car more than the minivan! Here’s why:
- The minivan’s third row was not easier to get to than my SUV’s third row. In the minivan, my 4 year old had to crawl beneath her twin sisters’ rear-facing car seats (which will be rear-facing for as long as possible) to get to the third row. She would often hit her head. To buckle her in to her seat in the third row, I either had to balance myself on the edge of the car and lean over one of the twins in their car seat, or I would climb into the trunk to buckle her. It’s easier in my car with 3 seats all in one row.
- Having double sliding doors does not mean my kids get themselves in and out on their own. I had visions of them climbing in all by themselves, but the twins are too small to climb into their rear-facing seats. So I had to place one baby on one side, and then walk around to the other side to get the other twin in her seat. In my SUV, I can lift both babies into their seats from one side of my car while my oldest climbs into her seat (which is behind the driver) on the other side.
- My SUV has more storage options than the minivan. My third row is optional, so I can keep the seats down and get a lot more trunk space. The minivan had a lot less storage space, comparatively, when piling in our 3 pieces of luggage, stroller, pack and play, etc.
- Minivans are bigger, but I’m not getting more use or comfort. It was a hassle getting everyone in and out by walking to both sides of the car, and then climb into the trunk to buckle my oldest in her third row seat. I thought there would be so much more space, but the dimensions are bigger, so this meant it was more difficult to park and maneuver. It did not mean I suddenly had a living room on wheels. Also, if my oldest daughter dropped something in the third row, we couldn’t reach back there and hand it to her. She was just too far away. MAJOR FAIL.
- Bells and whistles aren’t necessary. I noticed there were at least 2 screens attached to the ceiling, which I’m assuming is meant for the kids to watch videos on. My husband and I never even touched them. We try to keep screen time to a minimum (this means no iPads and no TV time besides DVDs we own or check out from the library), so all the fancy features are not necessary for me. We entertain ourselves with the radio and family sing-a-longs (how very Von Trapp of us)!
Lesson learned: I’m actually happy with my SUV and I made the right choice for my family’s needs. If you love your minivan and want to share your minivan mom love, please comment! I want to hear from you!