Pimp My Ride (2.0)

As parents, we make many important decisions that impact our families.

  • Which foods should we buy organic?
  • How much screen time should our kids get?
  • How many days in a row is too many to wear my favorite yoga pants?
  • Is the Pottery Barn Kids toy kitchen worth the price of a mortgage payment?
  • And which car should I drive?

The car decision is not one to take lightly. Given the amount of time I spend in my vehicle with my kids, it’s practically like buying a second home. One where everyone is forced to share a room while tethered into position.

And so, as my lease is about to expire, I find myself giving some very serious thought to this decision. I’m pretty sure I want to stay in a minivan situation. It feels right, like my formal identification card for living in the suburbs with three kids. I know, it’s not very cool, is it? That’s ok, neither am I. I’ve never been a trendsetter, and I have the mid-80s New Jersey yearbook photos to prove it.  Plus, if I let my cars define me, then what we should really be discussing is that my first vehicle was a 1986 Monte Carlo.

And I like the minivan, truthfully. It’s like my little kingdom on wheels. With three kids under nine, it serves a certain cargo-meets-I-give-up-on-style vibe that really speaks to me. All that’s really missing is one of those stickers with the family stick figures. That, or a bumper sticker that aligns Common Core Math with Satan.

But the question at hand is: Can I find the upgrades I really need?

And that’s where the search gets challenging.  What do you fellow parents think of some of these features I’m hoping for?


The Extending Limb Feature.  Mom, I dropped my {book, shoe, cup, etc}.  Mom, can you hand me my {book, shoe, cup, etc.}?  Mom, I need to put my mittens on. Mom, do you have any snacks? Mom, what kind of snacks? Mommmmmm?  Since my kids think of me as a mobile concierge and grand buffet server, I need to make this easier, and I honestly can’t believe that what has been done with pneumatic tubing in the drive-through banking world can’t be replicated in the domestic driving environment.  In the meantime, I need an extending robotic arm that can retrieve and distribute said items with precision and safety.  Also, when the Crisis Mode button is activated, the Extended Limb Feature can gently swat a misbehaving kid on the head who is seated in the third row — all without me taking my eyes off the road.


The Time Suspension Feature.  So, this may be out of our price range but it’s a worthwhile investment. I don’t know about you, but by the time I get my kids and their stuff to school each the morning, I fully expect the entire crew of The Amazing Race to be there greeting me.  And on the rare occasion when we are early for something, my kids immediately suspect that the activity has been canceled – because there is no other plausible explanation in their minds as to why we would be there first. So, on any of the 361 days a year I am running late, I would simply enable the Time Suspension feature, which would set all clocks back to a desired interval in order for me to appear to be on time. It’s like the Flux Capacitor, but without the pesky plutonium component and the Huey Lewis background music.


The Music Ban Feature.  Speaking of music, it’s a cruel reality but certain overplayed artists make me want to hit a tree and are, therefore, unsafe for my driving experience.  With this feature, my car will pre-emptively detect and block any and all Kidz Bop music for starters, followed by Adele. (YES, ADELE. I know, you all lovvvvve her but it’s just not safe to weep and drive. If you must listen, at least Uber.) I will add to this list of songs and artists over time as safety dictates. It’s sort reminiscent of the greatest scam I’ve pulled on my kids to date, when I had them believing for a full year that our minivan’s TV screen was actually only for GPS navigation. This was followed by my Best Actress in a Leading Domestic Role nomination, feigning utter shock and delight as they discovered we can watch DVDs on this thing. I’d like to thank the Academy for considering me.


The Snack Mold Disintegration Feature.  I noticed that one of the newer minivans now offers a central vacuum system, which is a good start. But still, there’s something about how the kids’ food just finds its way into the car’s nether regions and dies a slow death. You know how you find remnants of old snacks and — ohmygoodgod — sippy cups of milk tucked under the seats, maybe weeks later?  Don’t lie. You know you do. No worries.  My new car will swiftly locate such items and prevent mold from forming. Yes, it seems kind of science-y and, no, I did not technically pass high school Chemistry, but I’m going to leave the details to the experts. Why I’m not working in Vehicular Research & Development is a mystery to me.


And finally:

 The Husband Navigation Lock Feature.  It’s true that many cars have navigation systems, but do husbands ever use them?  Notsomuch. Their DNA forces them to resist.  So, what if the navigation was automatically locked in the ON position when the car detects your husband in the driver’s seat?  And, what if that navigation was programmed to a voice he would listen to?  I mean, he will tune out the annoying standard navigation voice – or, mine – but if, say, Bob Costas was giving him directions — he might actually stay on course. I know you want to carpool with me now, don’t you?


So that’s what I’m looking for in my next car. Just a few extra conveniences. I’m not sure why every dealership says I’m so picky.

I think, next time, I will take a car salesman out on a little two-hour test drive with my three kids during car pool — and then we’ll see if I’m still being unrealistic in my needs.




{This is an updated version of an earlier post. The original Pimp My Ride ran the last time I was car shopping. I’ve learned more in the last three years about what I really need.}


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  1. Hysterical Kim. I was thinking of starting a museum with the fossil like remains of what I’m finding in the cup holders alone of my kid infested SUV

  2. Mary J says:

    Ha, I’ve managed to tell my kids that the “tv” in our car doesn’t work – they’ve bought that for 6 years now!!Luckily it’s totally old school and was an extra the previous owner added, so it’s just tucked away on the ceiling, never to come down whilst we’re the owners of our particular people mover!!

  3. Meredith says:

    I. WANT. THIS. RIDE.!!!!

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