Hello fellow working moms! My name is Angela Curtis, and I am super excited to join Working Moms Against Guilt as a contributor. I live in Michigan with my husband and two daughters. Besides being a wife and mother of two, I work full time as an attorney. As my first post, I have a confession to make: I traded in my minivan.
In July, 2010, while waiting to turn left down a quiet country road, some idiot teenage kid driving way too fast slammed into the rear of my SUV, pushing my entire family into the path of oncoming traffic. Thankfully, we weren’t hit by any oncoming traffic, and my SUV came to a stop on the shoulder of the road. With me in the SUV was my husband, E, my two year old daughter, MC, and my eight week old baby girl, G.
We were all perfectly fine, thank God.
Our wonderful, steadfast SUV was totaled. We were forced to buy a new vehicle within 7 days, before we had to return the rental car. Originally, we wanted to get the new version of our totaled SUV, but the manufacturer had completely overhauled the design, in a bad way. So we had 7 days to research, test drive and buy a new vehicle.
For some reason, I decided that I was ready to drive a minivan (slowly shakes head). After all, I had two kids, we needed to get a new car, more kids may be in the future, so, it was time, right?
So we got the van. Now, to be clear, I am not knocking all minivans or minivan drivers. Perhaps if I hadn’t selected the “crystal blue” (translation: bright turquoise) model, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But, for some reason, I selected the crystal blue model, because, well, blue is my favorite color. So it just made sense. Sort of.
So not only was I driving a minivan, I was driving a bright blue minivan. And there are things people do not tell you before you buy a minivan, like: (1) You will feel ridiculous when you volunteer to drive your colleagues to lunch, and they climb into your van, taking care not to step on the industrial sized hand sanitizer, empty wipes dispenser that serves as a garbage can (obviously!), and various other detritus on the floor including fossilized french fries and empty fruit snack wrappers; (2) You will feel approximately 100 years old driving your 23 year old sister and her friends around in your van the night of her bachelorette party; (3) Driving a van is akin to becoming invisible. Every a-hole on the planet pulls out in front of you, all day every day, because, hey, you’re just a mom, and you won’t mind! You’re just on your way to soccer practice anyway!; And (4) While driving a minivan, at least in my opinion, you become a woman who is seen by everyone as a “mom”, and only a “mom”.
Now, I love being a mom. It is my number one calling, top priority, the reason I get up every morning, and on and on. However, what got to me (and I should point out that I was the sole driver of the van) was that no matter where I went, I was seen as “mom”- as in: “look at that mom over there in that bright blue minivan”. Whether I was getting out of the van at a courthouse before trial, a restaurant to meet friends for dinner, or Target to spend way too much money-even if I was alone, I was a “mom”. I was never just me.
Maybe these issues are mine and mine alone. I know that no one really cares what kind of car I or anyone else drives. But for some reason, it got to me.
So I traded it in. Just a few months ago, I swapped the crystal blue monster for a crossover SUV (which just happens to not be blue). And I am so happy to once again proudly drive coworkers to lunch, drive to court, and just be me. A woman who just happens to love being a mom. Maybe one day, in the far, far distant future, I will decide that it’s time for another minivan. But I can promise one thing: it won’t be crystal blue.