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6 Ways My Life Forever Changed When I Became a Minivan Mom

Photograph by Twenty20

There are times in my day-to-day life when I forget that I'm a 30-year-old mother of four. I may feel like a more attractive, former version of myself when I cruise through the streets with the driver's window down and sing a little song to myself with my over-sized, discount sunglasses on. Or I may pull up to a light and happen to the catch the eye of a stranger next to me and smile a bit too flirtatiously, flipping my hair with what I imagine is a very sexy and glamorous move.

It's also about the same time I remember I can't flip my hair because it's in a bun and I haven't washed it in a few days, so it probably wouldn't even move anyways. And I can't look sexy or glamorous because I'm perched in the front seat of a minivan that is filled to the brim with sucker wrappers and stale french fries. Dang nab it.

Needless to say, converting into the #minivan mom lifestyle after four kids and nine years of parenting, and after a whole lot of resistance, has changed my life in a lot of ways for better and worse. But either way, I've crossed over the other side and will never look back at all the ways minivan life has changed me.

1. I no longer care about looking "cool"

Before I had kids, and even four kids in, I swore up and down I would never stoop to the minivan life. I laughed at all the other moms who did, thinking that I was somewhat superior to them for at least holding onto some semblance of the child-free life. But you know what? I'll trade coolness for the ability to open my van doors a mile away with my arms full of children and groceries any day. Nothing can top that, my friends.

2. My idea of sexiness has changed drastically

Also gone forever? My ability to look sexy in my vehicle. But holy crap, the image of that door sliding open all on its own as a I squeeze my tantruming toddler into her car seat for the 50th billion time is probably the most attractive thing I've ever seen in my life.

3. Fun looks a little different

You know what's fun to me these days? Brainstorming all of the things I can fit into my gently used minivan. Backpacks? Don't make me laugh. Sporting equipment? Bring it on. An entire kayak? Why not? (Side note: My husband actually got me a kayak for some inexplicable reason for Mother's Day, despite the fact that we do not live near the water, so I will have the opportunity to test this IRL very soon. Squeeze together, kids!)

4. My expectations of what makes a car "clean" have changed

BML (before minivan life) my standard of cleanliness was just too darn rigid. I thought a car should be vacuumed religiously and shining at all times. But now? I perform what is officially known as the "sniff test." If I don't gag, we're good to go.

5. I'm genuinely fascinated by the contents of my van

I think the world should get rid of all those pimple-popping videos and start publishing videos of moms cleaning out their minivans, because the things we find will genuinely shock you. I've found actual chicken bones in our backseat, which is about the time I officially stopped asking my children, "What are you doing back there?!"

6. I've never been happier

Every morning, when I cruise through the drop-off lane at my kids' school, I wave happily to the other mothers walking their children in, while I sit bra-less in the comfort of my front seat and sip my coffee. I smile a little to myself at the beautiful silence, as my two littlest kids watch a movie courtesy of our in-van entertainment system. Oh, the person I've become!

And then, just because the coffee is still hot and the movie is still playing and I'm hoping to avoid the mountains of laundry waiting for me at home, I might just drive a few extra times around the block in the ol' minivan. It's just me and the minivan against the world...

And I've never been happier.

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