From the January 2018 issue

The Car Connection

Metro Parent's editor-in-chief discusses this month's minivan cover story.

I have always been one of those people who said, “I don’t care about nice cars. I just want something safe that gets me from point A to point B.”

But I realized about a year and a half ago that I was totally lying to myself.

That’s when I got a loaner from the Chevy dealership. It was a top-of-the-line Chevy Volt – a hybrid, gunmetal gray with a fin-like antenna and mean grill that made it look like a road shark. I was smitten from the start. But after a few days of averaging more than 200 miles per gallon of gas, I was in love.

But here’s the thing … it’s not a very family-friendly car – and it’s not really intended to be. There is a reason why moms and dads start to see cars way differently as their family grows. Practical features – like space for car seats and built-in vacuums – suddenly have more appeal than sleek, shark-like sedans or cute little coupes.

And yet, most moms and dads want to retain some sense of four-wheel flair.

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When our senior editor, Stacey, had her baby last April, she swore up and down that she’d never be a “minivan mom.” I told her about all of my friends who have them and how that sliding door really does come in handy. She stood her ground and upgraded to a larger SUV a few months ago. It’s practical but she still feels like it’s a good reflection of who she is. And that really is the bottom line when it comes to parenting. There are all sorts of trade-offs when you take that role of raising a child. Great rewards, but sacrifices too. And so often, those sacrifices make us feel a little less like ourselves – or who we always thought we were.

“Before I had kids, I used to shave my legs every day.”

“Before I had kids, I used to go to the bathroom alone.”

“Before I had kids, I used to read books. Actual books. Not just magazines.”

“Before I had kids, … ” You fill in the blank. I don’t know a single mom who hasn’t uttered a version of that sentence at some time.

In this month’s cover story, “Minivan Makeover,” we offer some advice for parents looking to spruce up their wheels – whether you’re in the market for new ones, want more features in what you have or are struggling to keep your home away from home neat and winter-ready.

The truth is, being a parent means you are forever changed – and that may be reflected in your clothes and car. But it doesn’t mean you still aren’t you. When you’re driving your kids around town, like a part-time chauffeur, and you start to lose track of that, do this: Turn up the music with your high school jams and drive that minivan or mom mobile with some gleeful pride.