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Entering the Soccer-Family Stage

  • December 1, 2005
  • Kids & Kars
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Lifestage Has Lots to Do With Vehicle Selection
When my wife and I had our first child we owned a Jeep Wrangler – this was the family vehicle. Yes, a Wrangler was the largest vehicle in our household. The lasted as the family vehicle for about a month. I’m actually surprised it lasted that long. Turns out it could not carry a baby stroller and a passenger at the same time. The Wrangler was a great vehicle and I hope to own another some day, but next time as a third vehicle, a toy, not as primary, daily transportation. We traded the Wrangler for a slightly larger Jeep Cherokee, which was good for a family of three. We were happy with our first Jeep, and a Minivan was totally out of the question. We were not going to take that step yet, or ever. My wife was about as anti-Minivan as one can get. It just wasn’t going to happen.

Anti-Minivan Sentiment Changes as Family Grows
Up until about a year ago my wife was still very anti-Minivan, pro-SUV. The soccer mom image, the unsportiness, and the snickers from SUV moms all added up to a big negative. It didn’t matter that a Minivan is very practical for families with small kids, or that it’s big enough for all the kid stuff, or that the kids could be seperated for long trips. The kids were ready for a Minivan, they were ready for more space for themselves and for having friends along for the ride. But we loved our Jeep as inadequate as it had become. Terrible gas mileage and all, it did everything we asked of it and it didn’t have the soccer mom stigma.
After several years of seeing the Cherokee get smaller as the kids grew, we finally took the plunge to a Minivan a few weeks ago. Yes, it was a long time coming, but it happened. Now, this was not a huge plunge – we bought used instead of new. But in any case, a purchase that was not on the radar screen a year ago.

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My wife and I slowly became Minivan believers after repeatedly seeing how much kid stuff space we could have, how practical automatic sliding doors can be, and the difference the 3rd row makes. Now, my wife has her own row, my daughter has the middle row, and my son loves the 3rd row. The practicality of the van when you have small kids was too much for us to overlook any longer.
Now Even Looking Forward to 400-Mile Trip with the Kids
Yes, we still love the Jeep and it is still in the household, but we are also learning to embrace the Minivan stage. Getting used to the Minivan stage has been difficult at times – during the first week of Minivan-ownership my wife wanted her beloved Jeep back. After two weeks, she’s not kicking and screaming as much anymore. I guess it was inevitable since we started soccer this year. We’re actually looking forward to embarking on our annual 400-mile Christmas trek this year – we shouldn’t have any problem filling the extra space with stuff.

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