Vanity and Motherhood

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Chris and I have just about decided that my next car is going to have to be a mini van.  I have mixed feelings about that.  I know we need it.  Right now I have a small SUV and with two car seats in the back and a stroller in the way back, there’s just no room for anything else.  When I go grocery shopping now, I have to stack my bags all around the stroller and, when I am really desperate, around the kids.  We have run out of room already and as the kids get bigger, we’re just going to add more junk and a mini van is the obvious solution.

On the other hand, I’m 28 years old.  I’m supposed to be wearing short skirts and driving convertible Mustangs and staying out past my bedtime on a school night, right?  I’m too young to drive a mini van.  Mini vans are for moms.

To pump myself up for the mini van that is in my inevitable future, I have decided to conquer my greatest fear as a mother of two.  The double stroller.

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My parents gave this to me for Christmas and I was horrified (sorry, Mom and Dad). Horrified. Single strollers and travel systems were for hip, 20-something mom’s with tiny babies and toned calves. They were for mom’s who wore wedge platform sandals while changing diapers and had their nails done once a week. Single strollers were the sleek SUV’s of child transportation.

But double strollers? Double strollers were for moms of multiple kids. Old moms. Moms who wore mom jeans and 80s hair. Moms who said things like, “Because I said so!” Moms whose children had temper tantrums in front of nice restaurants. Double strollers were the clunky mini vans of child transportation.

Clearly, I was a single stroller person. Or, at least I aspired to be a single stroller person. When given the choice, who wouldn’t choose toned calves over 80s hair?

But things have been getting hairy around here on outings. I called my mom after the dreaded sushi catastrophe and complained that I had lost all control. She was very helpful and gave me some good advice on handling Bean right now and then she said, “You really need to be using that double stroller. At his age, containment is your best option.”

So, yesterday I had to run some errands and before we left the house, I took my single stroller out of my sleek SUV and loaded up my mini van sized double stroller. When we got to our first stop, I hauled out the big stroller and spent the next 15 minutes in the parking lot cursing and huffing and puffing while I tried to figure out how to get the darn thing to open. See? Already this stroller was big and inconvenient. I loaded up the kids and headed into the mall. And you know what?

IT WAS AWESOME!

Both kids were secure. Bean couldn’t bolt away or lay down in the middle of the floor. I was able to move around much easier without Gracie in her sling. And we were in and out in record time. True, the double stroller is longer, but it is actually just as slim as my single stroller, so I wasn’t bumping into things like I worried I would be. I fit in small aisles and could maneuver it really well. Why I hadn’t been using this the whole time!

I’m 28 years old and I’m a mom to two beautiful kiddies. I’m a young mom. And that means that I might have to drive a mini van and push a double stroller. But I’m learning that that doesn’t have to be ALL that I am. The car I drive or the stroller I push or the 80s hair that I have, all of that is just part of my life. It’s not who I am.

I’m 28 years old and I’m a mom of two beautiful kiddies. I love reading and writing. I am married to my favorite person. I burn things when I bake. I love my family and wish my sister lived closer. I like cold watermelon and warm swimming pools. I don’t know or care much about music. I get my joy from my faith. I love bookstores.  I’m a happy person.

Strollers and mini vans are just the accessories.

(Having said all of this, I should confess that I did wear wedge sandals while pushing my double stroller. Vanity is a hard habit to break.)

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40 Thoughts to “Vanity and Motherhood”

  1. Amy

    Katie, I just wanted to give you a glimpse of the other side…. I had my 2 kids at 26 and 28–sound familiar? I’m now 35, and my kids are just-turned 9 and 6. We can go places where everyone walks, everyone can take themselves to the bathroom, everyone can feed themselves, and there are (almost) no tantrums! (Even 6 year olds have their moments.) I also wanted to cry when we got our minivan, but I loved it. When it was time to get a newer car, the kids were old enough to not be dragging around strollers and stuff, and we ended up with a small SUV. Guess what? I miss my minivan!

    I know that freedom from baby stuff and kids who can function sorta on their own seems a long way away, but it’s not! It goes by in a flash. And BTW, I think turning 35 was worse than getting a minivan. I makes me cringe knowing if I were to have another baby I would be considered “advanced maternal age.” Bleh.

    CHEERS!

  2. Yes! We just welcomed our second (a boy) nine weeks ago, and I couldn’t agree more. The double stroller is absolutely a mom stroller. But it works, so I’m becoming okay with it.

    I drive a station wagon and thought for sure that we’d have plenty of room…but we don’t. Outloud I’ll always say how uncool a minivan is, but inside, I’m secretly coveting wide, sliding doors and enough space to contain both kids and all of their gear.

  3. That’s hilarious. I am so envious of the sleek and cool double strollers. It’s amazing what’s out there for mom’s these days. I think the best my mom had was an umbrella stroller.

  4. I think its sweet and humbling that you get to use that double stroller. I’d kill for a chance just to use a single stroller but that’s evidently not in our medical cards right now. Plus you could be like this other couple I know where the husband is relegated to the mini-van except on days when Mom needs it. 😀

  5. You crack me up! I don’t know who put these ideas into your head 🙂 The double stroller is the sanity saver of moms everywhere. Mine even fits into the back of my Camry. Just a warning about minivans, because of all the space between you and the kiddos, you can’t reach back to hand them a snack or grab a dropped bottle or pacifier. We’ve borrowed my MIL’s van a couple of times and had to stop on the side of the road to help one of the kids reach something. My advice is to rent or borrow a minivan before making the leap to buy one. If you’re used to a sedan, it’s way different when you’re driving by yourself with the kids.

  6. I don’t have 2 kids, but I do have a gigantic dog, and (hopefully) 1 kid as of this week…and we ended up with a Chevy Traverse (which we love). Big SVU, so I avoid the minivan for now, but should be (hopefully) big enough for everything.

  7. Rock those wedges, girl! You are a beautiful, smart, and funny woman who is the mom to two great kids. The woman that you are makes you the great mom, and you won’t lose that by buying a minivan or pushing a double stroller! You go!

  8. I used to have a clean car. Until I had my daughter. Now my car is full of sippy cups and diapers and the Ergo and the shopping cart cover and the snack cups and cherrios. Sometimes when I get into my car and see the mess, I think, this is my life, how sad…and messy! But, I know there will be an end to carting around baby crap-ola and I will probably miss it. Oh, motherhood, you are cruel and wonderful at the same time.

  9. I got my minivan when I was 24, maybe 25, can’t remember (you know, because I have kids and they suck your memory clear out of your head). I love my minivan! My husband refused to drive it for a long time until he discovered how useful it is for not only hauling multiple kids to and from the grocery store, but for hauling drunk buddies to and from the bar!

  10. Jennifer

    Wedge sandals make everything better!

  11. Yep, my first two are the same distance apart as yours and the double stroller was the answer. As for the mini-van though . . . I got an Acadia which looks like a minivan on the inside but from the outside looks like and SUV. I believe it’s classified as a “cross-over” vehicle. I’m just not a mini-van person. I drove one for about two years and never did feel comfortable in the dang thing.

  12. Suzanne

    Let me suggest the new Honda Pilot (or slightly used since they are very expensive). The new style came out in 2009 which means you could find a new style used one for a good price, I’d bet. They are huge! 3 rows of seats but the backseat folds down for hauling stuff.
    My Mom has a Honda Odyssey (minivan)and she loves it…both doors have push button open and close, plus you could get one with a DVD player to entertain Bean man whilst driving. Just some thoughts 🙂

    P.S. Rock those wedge sandals! Tis okay to be the cute mama you are!

  13. Peggy

    Beware of “Because I said so” – I SWORE I would NEVER say that to my kids (now 19 and 16) but sometimes it is the best answer! No wiggle room for the little politician in a child.

  14. I am 28 and REFUSE the mini van! but at times it would be sooooooooooooo much easier with sooo much kid stuff to lug around. But i have a Pacifica which has the third row seat to fold down.. and I love it. I have enough room for stroller and groceries. I have the same stroller and it is sooo much easier, except now my 3-year old doesn’t want to ride in the baby stroller…

  15. Liz

    I just bought a Chevrolet Equinox to haul my two kids. I love it! A lot of people think it’s a minivan when they see it from the front, but it has a TON of room inside. Definitely worth at least checking out before you commit to a van. 🙂

  16. I refuse to drive a minivan. I have a Chevy Traverse. It has captain’s chairs in the middle (like a mini-van) and has a seat that seats 3 in the back. I’ve had it two years and love it. My husband calls it the SUVan which drives me nuts, but it is definitely not a mini-van. Have you considered a Traverse or a Highlander?

  17. Kelle

    Katie,

    I thought you would get a kick out of this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql-N3F1FhW4 (if the link doesn’t work. go on youtube and search for “swagger wagon”. It is hysterical! I can totally see you and Chris rocking a mini van!

  18. Rachel

    You can totally make a smaller car work. It is so funny to me the things people THINK they need. I have two kids, had a stroller, have bigger kids with more “junk” and I have never owned a mini van or an SUV. You can do anything you WANT to do.

  19. What a beautiful post! Nothing wrong with being a young mom! You rock that double stroller 🙂

  20. I am glad you got a double! I always teach my kids that when they are in the stroller, that’s it, they are in and NOT getting out. The more kids contained in one spot, the better trips go. I miss the days when I used to go to Costco at naptime, pushing two napping kids in the double and pulling the cart. Mini vans aren’t that bad!

  21. Chrissy H

    Well it is a lot better to be the mom pushing the double stroller than being the mom that has the toddler laying in the middle of the floor pitching a fit….lol…

  22. I just turned 26 on Sunday and I desperately want a minivan. 🙂 We are trying to fit all 4 of us in a Corolla and it is really snug. I can’t even really fit my double stroller in the car. I agree, it is hard to come to terms with the “momness” when you are also wanting to stay “young.”

  23. Amanda E.

    I’m a 27 year old mom of 2 and I flat out refused to get a mini-van. We got a Ford Taurus X instead. It has the interior of a mini-van but more of a SUV/station wagon exterior. My husband thinks it’s an ugly car, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You have to buy a used one though because Ford doesn’t make the Taurus X anymore. But hey, that means it’s way cheaper than buying a new mini-van, right? Oh, and the double stroller is definitely the way to go, at least until your youngest figures out how fun it is to reach up to the front seat and pull the older sibling’s hair! 🙂

  24. R

    You don’t have to get the minivan if you don’t want it! I’m one of 3 kids and my parents managed pretty happily with standard 4 door sedans. We were a little squished, but I think we learned a lot about respecting each other’s space, taking only what we needed, and patience (there was no eating or drinking in the car ever). Maybe your mom is right about confining them! Good Luck 🙂

  25. I can totally relate to this post. I just turned 30, my daughter is 21 months old and we’re expecting baby #2 in July. For awhile I thought I’d try to do without the double stroller, but my daughter is just too crazy right now. There’s no way I can keep her under control AND deal with baby #2 at the same time. My friend just gave me her old double stroller and as big and bulky as it is, I’m going to use it. But it hurts a little. Well, a lot.

    We’re in the same boat minivan-wise. I hate to admit it, but it’s likely inevitable. Especially if we decide to have baby #3 at some point…

  26. Melissa W.

    Katie- u r hilarious!!! Yes- a double stroller is a life saver with 2 small children-the only way to keep control sometimes… And a mini-van is my dream car right now! I have 2 boys- 20 mos. apart and we got our Honda odyssey when we found out we were pregnant with #2 and I have been in love ever since! I never thought I would b a mini-van mom, but now I wouldn’t trade it for the world now! I am proud to b a double stroller pushing, mini-van driving mommy! Alot of people who want to, can’t so I am very thankful!!

  27. Trish

    I was a young mom and now I’m a young “empty nest mom” and loving every minute of it! I’m 48…my son is in grad school…my husband and I are enjoying life and missing our kiddo a LOT..but, we have the freedom to travel…while many of my other friends still have children in elementary school!

    On the other hand, I’ve told my son more than once…I do NOT want to be a young grandmother 😉

  28. Dessi

    Ahh I love this post! It’s like you took the thoughts right out of my head!! I’m just 22 and trying for baby number one but I’ve already had the mini van thoughts!! And I just refuse! When I got a new car last year, I knew it would have to last and be my “mommy car” (I got a Rav4). Even if it ends up being too small down the road, I love it and I’m too stubborn to ever admit that I need a mini van 🙂

  29. Nicole

    BEST part of this whole blog post, Katie said “I AM A HAPPY PERSON.” Yay Katie!!!

  30. You definitely need to check out the Swagger Wagon video on YouTube that Kelle mentioned- after watching that it made me actually WANT a minivan and I’m a 25 year old mom of just one (so far!)

  31. Kelle

    LOL – Savanna I felt the same way. We don’t even have kids yet but when my husband and I watched it, he was the first to say that he would go for buying one! They truly make the “mini” look as cool as it possibly could.

  32. On my 31st birthday, only 4.5 months after Porter was born, my loving husband bought a minivan used from his parents. He was, and still is, ecstatic about this choice. I was not, and still am not, thrilled about this. Especially that day–my birthday–when on our second date out after having a baby, my husband was cruising us to a fancy restaurant in a Dodge Grand Caravan. But it does have it’s advantages, especially on long trips.

  33. Jennifer L. H.

    “he’s at that age where he needs containment”. Hahahahahaha, LOL! That cracked me up! And I can only imagine how very true that statement is. You’re hilarious and real and I love that about you and your family. Keep on keepin’ on!

  34. Don’t get a minivan! Get a Mazda5! It is a cross between a SUV and a wagon, smaller than a mini-van but with tons of room if you keep the 3rd row folded down. Handles great, and the mileage is decent.

  35. mom of 3

    I got a Honda Odyssey when #3 was born and I love it! I finally decided that convenience trumps vanity. It’s so easy to pile all 3, plus friends and equipment into a van. Also, the kids can’t slam their fingers in a van door and I love that I can open the doors automatically while we walk to the car…a major bonus in the Florida heat.

  36. Grandmomma

    Just think Kate, being a 28 year mom of two means that when they’re all grown you’re still young and can have a blast hanging out with them, like me.

  37. Jenna

    I inherited my parents’ minivan and drove it through college … it was so awesome that I can’t wait to buy another one when we have kids! There’s just so much SPACE! 🙂

  38. Love the double stroller! Brad jokes all the time when we see minivans that it could be my next car. I’ve told him, on numerous occasions, that if he wants a minivan it’s going to be his car. I refuse to have a minivan. I’m more than likely going to have to eat my words one day….especially b/c we want a large family. Much to my despair, it seems a minivan is an inevitable part of my distant future. Awesome.

  39. WE got our mini-van after a few over-loaded vacations with the kids and I haven’t looked back. Who cares what it looks like? the kids can change in the back of it! WE can easily pack for a trip! We can buy furniture and not have to rent a truck to get it home! Love love love. Plus, it will probably be the only mini-van we ever own so over my lifetime, I can handle one.

  40. LOVE this post! I am a new follower and just found your site. I am a Katy, with a ‘y’, but just had my second kid in April! We are looking for a minivan right now too, but I am really excited! I found myself nodding throughout this post as I read… and laughing when I read the part about stacking groceries around the stroller… I did that this morning!

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