I always knew I wanted to be a mom. And I always knew I wanted to work. So as a young newlywed, my husband and I went through the tech bubble-and-pop racking up student debt for back-to-back top 50 full-time MBA programs, knowing that the education we’d receive would set us up for real careers making real money for our future real family.
But with the biological clock ticking, we dove into parenthood. And in August of 2001, we were overjoyed to learn we were expecting. Was it going to be easy getting through a tough second year of an MBA program while pregnant? No, but it looked like I had timed it just about right, for my baby to arrive sometime just after graduation.
Best laid plans, as they say. And the early lesson that once you become a parent you lose all control.
On September 11, 2001, I sat in a classroom at Georgetown University as smoke from the Pentagon filled the Potomac river basin. In that panicked commute home, I started spotting. Terrified, I called my OB who said, “sorry, honey, we are only open to Pentagon victims at the hospital today. And besides, if it’s a miscarriage, there’s nothing we can do.”
Finally getting a radiology appointment the next day about an hour away, I learned that I had not in fact miscarried. Instead, we were expecting twins.
And while we were facing some very tough economic realities as job offers were pulled and our 1.5 bedroom rental got smaller, the car situation became dire. Our 1986 Porsche 944, a purchase on the cheap from my father-in-law, was our MBA mobile. But as my belly grew… and grew… and then improbably grew some more, I had the seat so far back that my short legs couldn't reach the pedals. It was time to trade in the MBA mobile for a family car.
Next came a series of mom cars. First the used Passat Wagon, large enough for two pack-and-plays AND a double stroller in the payload. Then a minivan with the arrival of #3, and when we drove that one into the ground, yet another minivan.
But with the impending addition of two more drivers to our family, I decided it was time for a car for me. Nothing fancy, but it couldn’t scream “mom!” Used, dinged up and with some miles, totally fine. I was ready to turn my commute from drudgery into fun, I wanted a car that was all about me.
And look, I love my minivan. I was never one of those “I’m not a minivan mom” moms. It’s a very comfy ride in DC traffic, I can fit it in my parking garage at work with no problem and it can hold 2 paddleboards and 5 bikes and 3 extra friends on the weekend. They look different from the inside than from the outside.
The teenagers showed me how to use CarGurus.com and after tracking used Mini Cooper convertibles for several months, yesterday I drove an hour south to haggle my way into a deal for this sweet ride. It’s impractical, we don’t really need it, but I wanted it. And after spending the last 18 years thinking about other people’s needs over mine, this tiny car is a nod to getting back to me.
So parents of young children driving the caravan of Odysseys, Siennas and Pacificas, hang in there. Your time will come.