Those of you who follow me on social media know that with a heavy heart I returned my leased minivan this past weekend.
This was extremely emotional. That minivan represented a lot.
Before I got it, I’d had the same Honda Passport for more than 20 years. That Passport started my life in California with me (dreams of Tahoe trips that didn’t really happen that often and camping trips that happened never). I was married when I had that Passport. I wasn’t a mom. I was spending my weekends at baseball games.
It died at the worst possible financial time. I couldn’t remotely afford to buy a car, so if I was gonna lease, I was gonna lease the most perfect car for who I was now: A single mom of two young kids, struggling to maintain her sanity, a bank account in the black, and a startup afloat.
We got a not-quite-top-of-the-line Honda Odyssey in “Truffle.” We stopped short of the Elite package because the kids have iPads and we didn’t need the whole entertainment system. But I loved that the extras available included a built-in vacuum cleaner and a “cool box” under the front console. Where was THAT feature when I was nursing? It became the repository for the “Easy Breezy” we’d pick up on Fridays after pre-school. There was no better car for my life three years ago.
This car felt like a luxury for us, after driving around a 20+ year old Passport. USB Ports? Whoa! It took weeks for Eli and I to find all the cupholders. Eli was so proud of it, he would hang out the sliding door before and after pre-school exhorting his friends to come check out the features on our amazing new minivan. At one point, he and Evie each had their own row.
I loved that I could cram in SIX car seats. I chaperoned a field trip to the zoo the first week I had it.
This was so ME. I didn’t GAF about “cool”; I felt in my powerzone being a mom. My zoo-crew of Eli and Evie and their friends was my antidote to the bro-wars I was fighting from 9-to-5.
I don’t know where three years went. But the minivan was due back, and Honda was calling me constantly to check on it. It was like I told the kids we were returning one of our cats. They were just screaming at first. I assured them we’d get a newer, nicer one. This time with TVs! Why not? I was doing better financially than three years ago.
And then Paul talked me into an SUV instead.
Don’t get me wrong: The SUV is incredibly swanky. It’s the nicest car I’ve ever owned. And somehow it wasn’t that much more than a top of the line Odyssey. (I recommend going into a luxury car dealership in a “Minivan Megafun” tank top obsessing about how much you love minivans as a negotiating tactic. I swear we got $10k off the price, because I kept bemoaning the lack of endless cup holders and a third row.)
I had to admit an SUV was the more practical choice for the next three years. My kids aren’t in pre-school anymore and none of their friends are in car seats. When I chaperone field trips, no one drives, the whole school usually takes a bus.
There’s another sad reality too: I leased the minivan in part because of what I called “my aspirational third row.” I was so fervently hoping I’d get pregnant with a third child, that I made sure to get a car that could fit three car seats. We never needed it, and I never would. And even if I got pregnant now, Eli and Evie are out of car seats.
Eli and Evie want to go skiing multiple times a year, and want to go on more adventures and this car is better for that. Eli will be almost 11 when this lease is done. (!) I’ll no longer be a mother of small children.
Paul thinks it’s more me. He thinks it reads badass, powerful CEO on a mission. But I miss what felt so right about my minivan three years ago.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Advice on 18 month olds with escalating tantrums at daycare?
- Any Baltimore based women entrepreneurs and business leaders out there?
- What small or big steps do you take to be more environmentally friendly?