**Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Toyota and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.**
The thought of becoming a #minivanmom has always seemed “uncool” to me. I'm not exactly sure why I have this preconceived notion of vans, but it always made me feel like I would be giving up on my youth, my independence, my edge... or something like that.
The reality is that I am a mom to three beautiful, active children and we are always out and about, in and out of the car rushing here, there and everywhere. The demands on our family vehicle are high - from the countless rides to all the after-school activities, long family road trips, all the extra space needed for all the excessive equipment - the list goes on and on.
So the question in our family as of late has been: Should we trade in our 7-seater SUV for what people deem to be the ultimate in family driving pleasure? Maybe its about time I put my big girl panties on and not only accept the life stage I’m in, but embrace it and become a cool minivan mom!
So, I did it. For seven days, when I had the opportunity to test drive a brand new, top of the range, fully loaded and immaculate Toyota Sienna. I must admit, I was impressed.
It got me thinking about what features this minivan has, that my SUV doesn't.
Here are my top six signs that I might be ready for a minivan. Now, who's with me?
Automatic doors - This needs no explanation. I feel like a broken record on a daily basis when we arrive somewhere and I remind my kids with an anxious tone "be careful not to bump the other cars when you open the door!". Enough said.
Strapping three kids in a row - Yes, I have seven seats in my SUV, but often my kids either want to, or have to sit three in a row to fit everything else in. The space in the minivan for everyone and everything was simply marvelous.
Safety, safety, safety - I feel safe in my SUV, but do I safe like its the safest car I could have for my family? Probably not. Apparently, the new Toyota Sienna is equipped with Toyota's Safety Sense which is an industry-leading suite of advanced safety technologies. Safety should be first - always.
All the stuff - It's a wonder to me how much "stuff" kids need and accumulate for their extra-murals, weekend trips, local park visits and even just the ride to and from school (and only one of my kids plays hockey, so far). Just trying to maneuver getting the two boy's bikes, and baby girl's trike in the car is enough to make me want to crawl up into a little ball and cry.
Road Tripping - Since flying places as a family of 5 has its challenges, road tripping is often our mode of travel these days. Going on a road trip in this minivan, with the dual-screen TV screen, space galore, microphone to talk to the kids right at the back (all the way from the driver's seat) - really sounds like the ultimate vacation.
Opening your trunk with no hands - Picture the scene: You have your hands, arms, shoulders (and even mouth) overflowing with groceries, school bags, your handbag, water bottles, hockey sticks, swimming bags and the car keys. How on earth are you meant to close the trunk? Simply swipe your foot underneath the car, and voila. Its genius.
So, have I turned from being an SUV-loving “cool” mom to a minivan-obsessed, comfort-seeking mama? I am thinking yes. (There, I said it out loud).
And now for the big question... What color minivan to choose?