Chrysler Group has announced that this April is mini-van month. Perspective buyers can take advantage of unique limited-time offers on the Chrysler Town & Country or the Dodge Caravan. Since I am the happy owner of one such Chrysler Town & Country and LOOOOVE IT, I thought I would let everyone in on our decision to drive a mini-van (for all the haters!), and why we rock it like it’s hot.

This is my house. That is the mini. Welcome to Suburbia.

Before babies, I worked my way up the ladder in the auto industry. I started as a receptionist, became an office assistant, and eventually did a helluva lot of stuff in the business office of an automotive dealership, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, DMV, & contracts.

I had access to the know-hows of the dealership world, inventory prices were at my finger tips, and my credit union was more than willing to continually finance negative equity into new loans.

Among the vehicles that I have owned:  ’98 Ford Escort (totaled), ’91 Ford Ranger with 300k miles (sold), brand spanking new 2004 Chevy Cavalier (traded-in), 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac (traded-in), 2000 Toyota Celica (my most cherished car – traded in), and our current 2007 Chryster Town ‘n Country Mini-Van.

We could have owned an SUV. In fact we did for about 24 hrs. Georgia had arrived into the world, and we were sporting a Toyota Celica, and a Toyota Tundra. Neither of which had ample room for a 6fter, an infant car seat, and/or strollers, groceries, and the what not. One drunken night, Rocky (tired of constantly switching vehicles to accommodate baby and activity), decided to take the Celica in to inquire about trading it in.  He came home with a GMC Yukon Denali with a monthly payment of $666. The thing had so many buttons on it, I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the radio, roll down the window, or recline my seat. I demanded a cheaper price tag, and had him return the car to the dealership the next day.

He came home with the Chrysler T&C Mini-van…our favorite car to date!Admittedly, I was a little sad when I saw the minivan. I felt like I instantly aged 10 years, grew a mom-butt, and started wearing scrunchies. Then I filled up my first gas tank (compared to the Tundra that had become my daily commuter), and I started falling in love.

Georgia was 20lbs at 4 mos old when the rainy season hit. I could no longer carry her in her infant carrier to and from the car.  Everyone loves buckling an infant into their car seat in the rain, right? However, my mini has 3 remote controlled doors, creating my loved, “push, run, jump, push, buckle, climb, and drive” routine. Hahaha Rain! I laugh in your face!

Store-‘n-Go Seating? How about hell yes?! ALL 5 of my rear seats fold into the van turning it into a cargo area. Great for drive-ins, moving (also in the rain), camping, and purchasing large items without depending on Rocky’s truck – think Kiddie pools, plants, Playskool outdoor toys, etc. I catch hell from all sorts of people. I hear a lot of “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a min-van.” Well, I won’t be caught in the rain, or with an empty gas tank, or driving with my chest to the steering wheel (try needing to drive with the seat all the way back, and a car seat behind you). In fact, if we would have kept the fancy Denali, our debt-to-income ratio would have been too high to purchase our house. And “I wouldn’t,” always translates into eventually you will: eventually you will pick up poop out of the bathtub with your bare hand, wipe someone else’s boogers on your shirt, eat spit soaked soggy cookies because it makes your 1 y/o laugh. *sigh* The things we do for our kids, like drive mini-vans, or endure sleepless nights, or commit to not dying our hair (love is seeing your over-grown roots in the mirror and  ignoring how utterly cool it looks).

So next time someone wishes to degrade my choice of vehicle (and inevitable my self worth) – just remember, I LOVE my kids, I acknowledge the mistakes I made in re-financing into new vehicles, and if driving a mini-van is a sacrifice I have to make, then hell; laugh, gloat, brag, bully, and snicker all you must. Its your insides that are looking ugly, not mine.

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