Van Beat: Van or No Van. It’s a Throw Down of Epic Proportion (with a Giveaway!)

Compiled and edited by Emily

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What’s the only thing hotter than Miley Cyrus twerking on the new iPhone? What’s the only thing sicker than a JT and Jimmy Fallon #hashtag hip-hop marathon? The answer to the question on the minds and lips of the most in-the-know: What are celebs driving?

Not only do we have the skinny on famous rides, we’ve got the deets from the mouths of the hottest hotties to dance their fingers across their keyboards and grace the internet with humor, smarts and mommy know-how.

It’s a throw down between two camps: van and not-driving-a-van-if-you-paid-me-get-away-from-me-with-that-van.

Mama knows best…

Notsosupermom

Stephanie of Mommy, for Real what are the first three adjectives that come to mind when you think of your van?

Odiferous. Cluttered. Noisy. Can I add a fourth one? Sexy.

MommyForReal

Ms. Shitastrophy, may I call you that? You needed time for your van love to grow. Tell us how you evolved from van-hater to van-lover.

It was definitely not love at first sight. My first tryst with the van ended badly. Sure, we had some good times and shared some special moments, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Maybe I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate the van? Once I kicked my van to the curb and moved onto to that new, sleek, no-key needed Mazda I had no intention of ever going back. I was smitten. It was everything I wanted – fast, cool, hot. But like a relationship built on lust, it fizzled. I should have known it couldn’t last – that Mazda didn’t have the conveniences my van had. Automatic doors (oh yeah), lift gate (uh huh – you know it, baby), enough cup holders to hold my 2-a-day coffee habit (yes! Yes! Yes!)…I knew deep down inside I had to go back. The pull was too strong. We needed the van, and NOW.

You and your van go way back, Lisa of Notes from the Shallow End. What is one of your fondest memories in your luxury ride?

Heh. Luxury ride. I like that. As far as fondest memories, I’d say bringing my son home from the hospital, but I can’t actually remember it, because Percoset. But all I have to do is look around at the various dings and damage and the memories come flooding back. The dent in the back bumper, for example, is from when my husband backed into a tree. That was a really fun night, though, so it’s actually a great memory. The cut seat belt? My daughter was bored on a trip to the Cape and took a pair of kid scissors to it. But hey, trip to the Cape = great memory. Ditto the crayon all over the way-back seat. And the sand wedged in every crack and crevice. More fun road trips with the kids. My minivan is beat all to heck, which is the sign of a life well-lived, amiright?

Kathy, you have a storied history of love affairs with mini-vans: Me and My Minivan: A Love Story.What features make your van scream: “Coolest Mom in the Parking Lot!”?

Well, I can’t say too much about this because I am currently in talks with a high-end French designer on a cross endorsement deal, but I can say that it has something to do with the very chic, barely-can-see-it-so-why-be-without-my-wheels-for-even-a-day-to-get-it-fixed dent on the side of my minivan that I got in the supermarket parking lot screaming, I mean using my playground voice, at my three little dears two years ago. There is also my car’s ability to reproduce pencils and leak them as the door slides open, but I don’t want anyone to get too jealous.

dishwasherpossessed

Mommy, for Real, you chose a Sienna over other models after hedging on a van. What makes the Sienna the best choice for you? In other words, what makes it “vantastic”?

Not gonna lie, the Sienna was the only minivan I tried, and it’s a miracle I ever got behind the wheel. Due to my unbelievable coolness, I was determined to never become the minivan-driving mama. I was pregnant with my second child when I took the Sienna for a test drive, and as soon as those automatic doors glided open with the push of a button, I was hooked. That, and the fact that my kids’ irritating feet couldn’t reach the back of my chair like they could in my Camry.

SoberSara

SoberSara, you’ve clearly experienced minivan trauma, can you elaborate on that?

I think it all goes back to junior high. I was IN. LOVE. with a boy named Jesse. He was my soulmate; he just didn’t know it. Anyway, Jesse’s mom drove a very distinctive teal minivan; I believe it was a Ford Aerostar Sport. Every time I saw that van, I got a thrill of excitement. “SQUEEEE!!! It’s my future mother-in-law!! AAAHHH HE’S IN THE FRONT SEAT!!!!” You get the idea. Anyway, he spurned my affections time and time again, so those minivan-induced thrills of excitement quickly turned into bitter fits of rage. Then there was the time I had no choice but to ride in a friend’s (mom’s) minivan. I hopped into the middle seat and became incensed when the van shook. I mean, where does this van get off acting like the impact of my butt on its seat was worth a small earthquake? So I guess it boils down to the fact that minivans make me feel fat and unloved.

You have a 12-passenger van Jeannine of Eubanks Eutopia. That’s no joke! What made you embrace the “Go big or go home” mantra in a van?

Well, since we have 5 kids of varying ethnicities, we didn’t feel we really stood out in a crowd very well. The Eu-Bus makes sure nobody misses us. Besides, when we had 4 kids in car seats at the same time, the MINI van suddenly felt surprisingly small and crowded. There was no room for all the luggage, presents and winter gear we tote up to Minnesota for Christmas every other year, and we couldn’t tolerate the dirty looks we were getting from our 13-year-old when she had to squish her poor pubescent hips in between two booster seats. We knew it was time to upgrade.

To the creators of Science of Parenthood, what makes you question the minivan’s luxury status?

scienceofparenthood

Norine: I simply don’t have the luxury of being able to pay for all of the damage I’d cause if I drove a minivan. I’m a pretty small person and a minivan is LARGE. Too large for me to accurately judge where I am in space … and the parking garage. When I was 16 and learning to drive in my mom’s Mercury Brougham (it sat nine comfortably for Hebrew school carpool), I used to hit stuff all the time — walls, other cars, that unfortunate guy on a bicycle (sorry!). Now that I pay for my own car insurance, I can’t afford to keep incurring that kind of damage. Really, the best car for me would be a Smart Car. Driving that, even if I did hit something, I’d probably just bounce right off it.

You have 4 boys but no van, Momopolize! What made you turn your back on comfort and style?

Size!  With 4 set of football pads and gear, I need all the space I can get…to keep the stench as far away as possible!!  With our Chevy Suburban they are almost riding in another zip code.

For other moms like you, why should they steer clear of the minivan aisle and choose an SUV?

4 Wheel Drive!  While the minivan Moms are stuck in their driveways on snow days, I can drop the kids off at the neighborhood sledding hill and head to the mall.

Traverse

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Yoga pants, pencil skirt or pajama jeans? It doesn’t matter–it’s all about how you rock it!

What makes your ride the hippest in the carpool lane? Your comment just might win you a Science of Parenthood bumper sticker, giving you just enough bumper bling to seal the deal. Thanks so much to SOP! Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.  

The winner will be announced Monday, October 7.

16 comments for “Van Beat: Van or No Van. It’s a Throw Down of Epic Proportion (with a Giveaway!)

  1. September 30, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This format is great, Emily. Good reporting skillz 😉

    • September 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Thanks! My mad skillz know no bounds 😉 Will there be a minivan in your future to roll around the suburbs of Chi-town?

  2. September 30, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Greatness! That’s wonderful reporting! I love mini-vans, they are so cool, so spacious and have cubbies for everything! I am so upset that I never had a legitimate reason to get one! Then there is my sister that hates that she has to drive one. She’s on her 2nd mini-van, but teenage twins, a 3 yr old and a 3 mo old, well, she doesn’t have many options any more!

    P.S. I have no desire to have more kids just to give me the ability to drive the mini-van. I’ll stick with my little compact car!

    • September 30, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Enjoy your compact car, Kate! We’ll need to transition to a van, soon, but I can hardly park my SUV!

  3. September 30, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Another great one Em. By the way, I loved the mini vans we had over the years! Separating kids is the way to travel. My vote is definitely for the van.

    • Catherine Pasierb
      September 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      Tiny person loves big vehicle! (Also big houses!)

  4. September 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I just sat in a dealership to get my suv’s oil changed and a minivan stared at me the whole time. The mini is the unrequited lover who just waits around until I’m ready to finally give in. I’m almost there. I need a few more years with my suv who just doesn’t love me the way I deserve.

    • September 30, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Hilarious! They keep staring me down, too. I’m with you! Eventually I will get my husband to cave, so I can experience the luxury of sliding doors. *Sigh*

  5. Catherine Pasierb
    September 30, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Speaking from the point of view of the Grammy who has to squeeze her behind between two car seats, peel soggy crackers from her clothes, and then attempt to somehow extricate herself from said seat with some vestige of decency, “Get a van!” Please!

  6. September 30, 2013 at 10:09 am

    This is amazing. I can’t stop laughing. Maybe we should all start gangs. You know, like West Side Story gangs where we snap and dance

  7. September 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    This is hysterical!!!! You did such a great job on it and I am so honored to be a part of it!!! Just perfect!!!

  8. September 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    This is awesome! I am fully entrenched in the minivan camp as we are on our second Honda Odyssey. I like the space and the convenience but it is less expensive and gets better gas mileage than an SUV. I am also chronically uncool anyway! 🙂

  9. mamarabia
    September 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    My doors aren’t automatic, but they also don’t fly out like mini-throwing stars, determined to ding any car that dares park next to us. I like my minivan because it keeps *your* car safe!

  10. September 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    This is hilarious!! I have a minivan taking up space in our driveway as I type. For the past four years, I have been the most popular mom in the pick-up line, driving my 12-passenger ex-airport shuttle. Kids (besides my own) actually get excited for the opportunity to take a spin in the party mobile. The bumps are bigger in the back of the bus, don’t you know.

  11. Jen
    October 1, 2013 at 12:06 am

    This is high-sterical! I drive a mini-van. I was so against it until the day I sat in my Sienna. Wow. It was like sitting in a living room, and I pushed a button to open a door with a hugemongus diaper bag on one arm and a baby carrier on the other?! JACKPOT!
    7 years later I got mice in the minivan thanks to a year of goldfish, french fries and who knows what else being spilled on the floors. I caught 4 mice before I finally paid the 100 bucks to get it detailed. I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat this winter. That would suck.
    But I still love my mini-van!

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