The Great Minivan Debate

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Categories Balance, Family, Mommy Issues

I’m sure every parent of more than two children would agree that a minivan is a convenience, if not a necessity, for a family of 5+. They would probably say that the efficiency and ease of loading/unloading children plus gear far outweighs the un-coolness of driving a minivan.

After discovering we were having twins, the Husband told me this. Our friends told me this. Random people at the mall told me this. I fought it for as long as I could. In fact, I wanted to hang on to my beloved little CRV so much that I relocated my daughter’s Britax and installed two infant carseats myself, far enough along in my pregnancy that it was a major undertaking. But they do fit, after some jiggling around, so that’s what we’ve been doing for the 3 months of the twins’ lives.

However, I’ve come to realize this is not the ideal situation. Due the space issues in the backseat, the Britax is in the center, flanked by the two carseat bases. With the carseats clicked into place, everything is wedged in so tight no one is going anywhere. And that’s sort of the problem. The toddler is not quite old enough to get in and out of her carseat by herself, at least, not without taking more time than I’m willing to give her. We did put a little stool in the center to help her get up and down on her own, and when time is not an issue, we let her practice in the hopes that someday she will be fast (good luck with that, I know). So most of the time I’m lifting her up to put her in. And I can say that a 30 lb. kid isn’t easy to sling into the center seat across an infant carseat base. Logistically, it’s also been a pain to make sure we load/unload all the kids in the right order. Sometimes it’s just been easier to install Toddler’s seat in our other car.

I’ve not traveled alone with all 3 by myself yet. I’m sure it will be so much harder to do that I will not want to leave the house. But I’m also sure that if I don’t ever leave the house I will go insane.

So… I’ve been won over to the dark side. We are currently shopping for a minivan. Just the sliding doors alone wins it for me. Add to that all the multitude of seat configurations, and it must be Mommy heaven. And it might just even be “cool”:

Dear MoM’s, what car are you all driving?

lunchldyd is a mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and her 3 month old twin brother and sister. She is also a high school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 children under 3, and two neglected dogs.

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lunchldyd is mom to 3 year old boy/girl twins and their 5.5 year old sister. She is now teaches part-time to juggle the needs of her young children. When not at work and the kids are asleep, she is addicted to watching TV and sometimes sacrifices sleep to read in bed. She lives in the Los Angeles suburbs with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.

10 thoughts on “The Great Minivan Debate”

  1. We just got a 2006 Toyota Sienna and it is brilliant. We were lucky to find a gently used one for a really decent price with a good amount of features. It drives really nicely and I like that the 3rd row of seats can fold down into the floor so you can have a large flat area in back for hauling stuff.

  2. Haha! This debate went on I our house for a while! We squeezed our older one into the middle seat of our pilot and the twins were on either side. Our oldest just either crawled under one of the baby seats into hers, or climbed in through the front seats. Only problematic in the rain (wet seats + waiting out in the rain).

    We just bought an odyssey and have her in the way back with the twins in the bucket seats in the middle row. So far, not much easier bc I still have to lean over and tighten the car seat, but hopefully when the twins go FF, it will be easier. Still waiting.

    And our minivan TOTALLY does not fit with my image. :(

  3. Missie,
    Have you considered taking one of the bucket seats out? The RF would still be a problem, but I’ve got it all worked out in my head that I’ll give myself a “landing pad” to work with by taking out one of the seats.

  4. I ended up with an Odyssey. What worked for us was to slide the right middle seat into the center position, leaving a “landing pad” that PP mentioned just inside the door. Then I can reach the 3rd row right seat easily.

  5. This makes me laugh so much because I found myself in the exact same place a few years ago! I had a 19-month-old when my twins were born, and I squeezed them into my CR-V for exactly 2 months before buying my own Swagger Wagon. :) We have loved our Toyota Sienna since we bought it in 2008. It has grown with our family really well, except that now that our twins are in high-back boosters and their older brother is in a no-back booster, they don’t fit well on the back row. We have baby #5 on the way (due in May), and we are trying to figure out 5 car seats in the van that all the older kids can buckle on their own. I would 100% recommend a Sienna to anyone though. I don’t even miss my CR-V…most days. :)

  6. My husband did NOT want a mini van. i think people all too often overlook the awesomeness that is SUVs. We owned a Tahoe (before it was totaled) with only two rows of seats, but it easily fit in 2 car seats and would’ve easily accomadated a third. Plus, it had a ton of room to hold that huge car seat, huge diaper bag, and all of the groceries too!

    Now we have a HUGE suburban. With three rows of seats will again easily fit in three car seats in the middle. And after our baby is born (very soon), it we will still have plenty of room for more kids should we have more!

    But, other options would be a Yukon, a Highlander, a traverse, and others. Keep in mind you don’t have to “settle” for a minivan if you really don’t want one. I personally love how high the SUVs ride. Makes unloading and loading very easy on the back. Plus the ride is super comfortable.

  7. I wanted a mini van, but my husband was quite adamant that we were not getting a “f-ing mini van.” His words. And he NEVER swears. Anyway, I ended up with an Acadia and I absolutely ADORE it. Advertised to seat 7, but it’s more like 6. With latch system, no problem to have 3 car seats. My husband drives a Yukon, and like Katelyn said, that works great for us, too.

  8. I’m trying to stick to my sedan; a daily 40-mile commute makes gas a very real budget item. I have 3 Radian car seats that fit, albeit snugly, in the back. Granted, I only have 2 kids on a regular basis, but it’s handy to have a third seat for the odd day when a friend needs me to watch a child.

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