Dilemma of the Soccer Mom/Dad

At a recent women’s dinner, the classic topic came up in the midst of a group of middle-aged moms: to submit to mini-van fever, or to resist? Two women found themselves in the debate—both mothers of two young children, both successful, stylish, and wondering whether to give in to the dreaded soccer mom vehicle. One chose yes, the other went the “cooler” route: the suburban. So I started to think. What is it about the mini van that is just so attractive to some parents? Is it the automatic sliding doors? As a former victim of the wrath (well my fingers at least) of the automatic sliding doors, I don’t know that I would have my children anywhere near them. What does the mini van offer over, say, the Ford Escape? Also, with the new Ford Flex and Ford Edge as additional options, being a parent has never looked better.

Now before the parents of the world jump on me, saying I just don’t get it, we should take a minute to examine the needs of parents. The vehicle needs to be just the right height. It can’t be too difficult to put in a pumpkin seat, throw the diaper bag in the back, and oh yeah, $200+ worth the groceries. But I have to wonder, is it that convenient for people (small or not) to climb into the “back back” of a mini-van? There seems to be a lot of wasted space making the “aisle” down the middle between the two bucket seats. Ford seemed to have spent many years trying to please the busy parents of the United States and beyond. So much so that they devoted the four “E” vehicles to solving the dilemma: The Escape. The Explorer. The Expedition. The Excursion. None of those were named “The soccer mom mini van,” yet they all met the “parent friendly” criteria. Except, apparently, the Excursion, which is no doubt obsolete in the age of $3.50 gas prices. Who has enough money for that and that $200+ grocery bill? Nobody.

Yet, it remains, there is and seems to have always been a huge number of mini vans racing to practice, piano lessons, and barbecues. There’s gotta be something to it. I just don’t know what.

Are you a mini van or SUV parent? Why?