By Emily Spence of sweetnsourmom.com
Dana Bell, mother of three living outside Baltimore, Maryland, recently made a purchase of something most moms are adamant about never buying.
Before she had her first daughter, Dana drove around a sporty Hyundai Tiburon. Once motherhood became a part of her life, the Tiburon was traded in for an SUV. In her interview for the magazine Mom Life, Dana explained, “I loved my SUV. I felt as if it was still sporty, yet more spacious.”
After her second daughter was born, the SUV still felt roomy but a tad more compact. It continued holding a trunk-load of bags from Target and all of the crap that accompanies essential items for the kids.
“My friends and I always joked about minivans. There’s nothing ‘mini’ about them! We’d say how we wouldn’t be caught dead owning one,” Dana told Mom Life, stressing the phrase “wouldn’t be caught dead owning one.”
During a play date last fall, Dana said to a friend, “Look at these yoga pants. I’m such a stereotypical mom. Watch, next you’ll see me driving around a van with my three rows. Just kidding!” Shortly after that conversation, her life changed direction. On a drive home from vacation, Dana realized her family, in the once vast SUV, were now crammed inside, alongside their bags, like sardines.
“That was after my parents had to drive their own car, following us everywhere on our trip since there wasn’t any room for them in our vehicle. Enough was enough,” Dana explained.
The day following their return home, the SUV was gone. A minivan replaced it in the garage. Excitement soon turned into perplexity. How would Dana face her friends? What would they say when she showed up at the next GNO, driving the colossal tank? Would they suggest she now get a “Soccer Mom” window decal, alongside family stick figures? In case the van wasn’t enough of a clue about her single days being long over.
After confiding in a neighbor, also the owner of a bus minivan, Dana knew she wasn’t alone. Her neighbor had the same apprehension before transitioning to the “dark side of driving.”
It was at that moment, as soon as Dana asked her friend, “Did I give up?” when the two neighbors began formulating a plan to create a support group — a support group for other parents reluctant to buy a MV.
A week after their initial conversation, the group “I Used to be Cool; I Now Own a Minivan and I’m STILL Cool” was born. Since launching on the web and social media in early 2016, the group now has 589,439 followers and counting.
“I think the quick following proves there are so many parents out there struggling with the negative perspective on minivans, which a lot of people have,” says Dana. “Our group is to support you through your internal conflict as you make the final decision and then encourage you to embrace the MV. We’re right there, alongside you, cheering, ‘You’re still cool! You’re still you! The van doesn’t define you as a person!'”
On the group’s website, you can visit the store and purchase items, such as bumper stickers and shirts. One shirt has the saying, “Go ahead and talk smack! I <3 my minivan, and I’m not going back!” Another has, “Minivan owner and still cool.” Their most popular bumper sticker is, “This van is carrying around precious cargo. Just kidding! They’re probably screaming their heads off and throwing things at me. Stay back!”
Visit their website today for more information or support if you’re ready to take the minivan plunge.
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About the Author
Once a middle school teacher, Emily is now the CEO of the Looney Bin, where she diffuses meltdowns, changes diapers, can microwave an amazing mac n’ cheese, is an expert on drinking wine, and tries to find time to write when she’s not doing any of those things. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her two girls, supportive, yet sometimes frustrating husband, and obnoxious Westie. You can read more at www.sweetnsourmom.com. She’s also on Facebook and Twitter.