By Rachel Hoeing

I have personally never been one to care about cars. Sad, but true. I have no idea what types of cars my friends drive, only the color. Seriously, I know my mom has a red car, but that’s it. Maybe it’s a Saturn, no a Camry. Who cares? Maybe I inherited this gene from my Nana Hess. She never even had a driver’s license in her 88 years of life.

I drove my parents’ yellow station wagon when I was 16 and then saved up enough to buy my Mercury Tracer. My next two cars were Camrys, and then I decided to go a little sporty and purchase an Xterra. Anyone who knows me knows that I am about as unathletic as you can get, so the Xterra was quite a comical choice. I had my son, Jake, while we owned the Xterra and it took us about one month to realize we were going to have to buy something else. It was a royal P.I.T.A. to get the baby carrier in and out of the back seat. And I couldn’t stand trying to squeeze that carrier out of the door when I was parked next to someone else…

Well, you guessed it, we bought a minivan. As you can tell, I am not the type of person who thought, “Oh no, I can’t drive a minivan! They are so mom-ish and uncool!” I usually go for convenience and comfort and could not care less how uncool it happens to be. (Except for the time I had to drive it alone to meet my sister and all her trendy single friends at a bar in uptown Charlotte. What a loser.) Anyway, the best part of us buying a minivan is that I was not even present for the search or purchase of this minivan. My husband took my Xterra out one night and said he was going to go “check out” a few minivans. Next thing I know, he’s pulling in the driveway with one. Although I have never cared about cars, I must admit I was a little saddened at the fact that with all the choices of colors, he had to pick the same color as the mailman minivans. Come ooooon!!!

Alas, I will tell you that I could not be happier that we made that switch. No more aching back, and it was such a breeze to slide that door open and take out the baby carrier. Once we added a second child into the mix, I liked the minivan even more! So much space! We are always riding in someone else’s car or adding a child in our car, and it has been so much easier to move the car seats around. The best part is that now that my kids are at fighting age, it’s so easy to have one in the middle section and one in the back to keep the peace. They can buckle themselves in, and we are rolling!

I did want to give a few tips for anyone deciding to purchase this luxury mom mobile for yourself. These are all things that I wish my van had!

#1 – Get automatic doors. We totally missed the boat on that one, but the car is now paid off, so I’m thinking I am stuck.

#2 – Get a minivan that has a remote for the back hatch. As soon as you unload groceries, boxes, or whatever else you’ve got back there, you are standing there holding all your bags with no free hand to reach up and slam that darn door.

#3 – Get windows that go down in the back. My poor kids have never had the experience of sticking their head out the window and letting the breeze hit them in the face!

#4 – Get the seats that fold down into the floor. Our seats unlatch and pull out. They are SO heavy. It’s great when you pull out the seats and have so much room to pack everything up for the beach trip, but then when you arrive and unload, you are stuck with a minivan with no backseats to load up extra people.

#6 – Jury is still out on the DVD player. We don’t have one installed, and have made many-a-trip to PA, FL, etc. without it. My kids have learned to play the old-fashioned car games, color, look at books, and sleep!!! I will admit that I did borrow a DVD player the last time I drove a long distance without my hubby and it was much easier because I was not turning around and handing all the dropped toys to everyone while I was trying to drive. So, the DVD player is a maybe.

Well, I think that’s it. Share your expertise with us on minivan choices. I do like mine, even though I get a lot of dogs barking at me because they think I am the mail truck.