Oh yeah, I see you lookin' my way. Don't pretend not to notice it. You think it's too big? Nah, just admit it, you like it big. You think it's not your type? Nah, deep down you know it's just right. Look at what you got and ask yourself if it's time for a change. I can tell you, my friend, it is.
It's time for a minivan.
I was you, three months ago. No way would I ever drive one. Not because I thought I was too cool for a minivan (by the way, that's a stupid theory because minivan drivers care so little about being cool, that we are the coolest....we are the hipsters of car owners). And not because I didn't understand how convenient minivans are (although you can't appreciate the full extent of the convenience until you have one. Have you ever tried to open a regular car door with your arms full of groceries, two kids, and an umbrella in the pouring rain? Yeah, I have a button that does that for me now). No, I would never drive a minivan because it might rip apart the very fabric of my soul.
Okay, that sounds super dramatic, but little kids already change a lot about you. They make you gross - you smell your fingers when there's a solid chance they will smell like poop, you wipe their snot on the underside of your shirt, you turn a blind eye when they hold public toilet seats with their entire hands. They make you forget how to do anything at a leisurely pace - eat a meal, shop, walk, shower, speak. Even when I'm out without my kids, I gulp down wine quickly, as if at any moment I will get a call that I need to get home. I've never gotten that call, but even a remote risk of having to leave an unfinished drink is just too much to bear. They make you forget how to dance, order a drink or just generally "be" in a bar. They make you wash your hair half as much, wear yoga pants twice as much, and you might as well just burn those stilettos.
Perhaps you're reading this and you're thinking, No, I'm a lot cooler than this, I'm rested, I'm pretty cute. But I'm telling you, you're probably not. Maybe you are all caught up on Game of Thrones and find time to meditate every morning. But, let's be honest, it's taken you three months to finish GoT because you can't get through more than 1.5 episodes without passing out and, while it may be equally therapeutic, hiding in your bathroom with a People magazine on a Sunday morning while your kids watch Paw Patrol downstairs doesn't exactly count as quiet reflection. You probably still clean up real nice and go out among adult humans every once in a while, but at your core, you're a total squirrel now. And if you're not yet, I promise that you will be by the time you have your second kid. (And if you're not at that point, well, you may be doing something wrong.)
So, back to the soul ripping. When talks of a minivan started flowing through the air, I was resolute. Nope, that would be the last straw. The nail in the coffin. I don't need to be cool, but for the love of God, I do need to be ME. The more we looked at the insanely big SUVs that my kids and I would need a ladder to get into, and the sleek luxury SUVs that I would feel bad throwing muddy boots into, it became clear to me. A minivan might not have been me a few years ago, and it may not be me a few years from now, but right now, it certainly is. And I'm sort of thrilled about it.
I'm a me with two itty bitty kids, who I happily revolve my life around. Mostly because they do the same. For a small fraction of time, they need us and like us so much that they can't even let us pee by ourselves. They want us with them all the time, they tell us every detail of every thought they have, we are the only real thing they have in this world. They trust and depend on us with their whole hearts. They are utterly innocent, and relentlessly needy. This can be exhausting, and before you realize it, you start doing things you never thought you'd do, like breastfeeding your kid while he is riding in a car seat (it can be done).
But, as most life phases, this one is temporary. Look around and you'll notice that the parents with kids who are even just a little bit older are giving you wistful smiles when they see you out with yours. They no longer need built-in vacuums in their cars and they look like they get regular manicures, but you can see it on their faces, they sorta miss it, maybe. One day, probably sooner than we think, our kids will go straight to the living room when they wake up instead of to our rooms, they'll tell us to leave them alone, they'll keep secrets, and we'll beg them to stay in on the weekends. One day we'll have more time to shop off-line, eat sitting down and get back in touch with that sacred part of ourselves that could shoot tequila. But for now, we should probably just surrender to it all. Wear pj's to the store, eat dinner at 5pm, get the minivan, do whatever it takes to make your life easier. You can still rock leather pants every once in a while. Your soul won't be the same, it's true, but it hasn't been since the day your first kid was born. So just own that, and don't worry about it too much.
I promise, the sliding doors are worth it.
Guest post written by Mimi Marks. Mimi is a lawyer by day, a mom of two rambunctious toddlers by night, and an aspiring writer by 4a.m. Other than her family, her passions include cooking, eating, writing and traveling, but these days she’s primarily focused on trying to stay awake through an entire movie. To read more about her musings on parenthood, life as a 30-something, and women ruling the world, visit her blog at www.themsmanifesto.blogspot.com.