Minivan Mamma, or “I Drive a ‘Loser Cruiser’”

by Samantha on May 21, 2011

I’ve given in to the minvan, ergo, minivans are now cool. I must chant this mantra repeatedly to convince myself of this fact.
Here’s a picture of the beast: a 2006  Honda Odyssey. She is a a trusted soul, in spite of herself.
The “Soccer Mom” title that has been the standard term to politely yet pejoratively label a certain ilk of mom has more recently been replaced by terminology that not-so-subtly brands those of us who have chosen this form of transportation as uncool, or worse, losers.

We have apparently abandoned all hope of having any type of “edge,” as edginess and “seating for eight” do not mix. At all.

I laughed when I learned that the term “Loser Cruiser” was a synonym for a minivan. This must mean, I thought to myself, that I am a loser. So is my husband and our kids. Great. By extension, that must also mean that anyone who “cruises” in the Loser Cruiser is also a loser. I guess my parents, siblings and in-laws are losers too. Oh yea, so are my daughters’ friends. Lovely.

 
What is it about us that feels the need to label ourselves and others? Is it the opportunity to feel superior and more comfortable with the decisions that we have made for ourselves?Who coins these terms – “Loser Cruiser,” “Soccer Mom” and while we’re at it, how about “Tiger Mom” and “Helicopter Parent?” Note that all of these are negative labels given to parents of small children. Is it any wonder that we’re somewhat defensive at times? As well, this trend supports the call for a larger discussion on why parenting is seen to be a thankless – and evidently, in some cases a scorned upon – job. More specifically, these terms are aimed primarily at women – moms – further relegating the role of mother to one that is worthy of scorn and derision.
Until the role of mom, dad and “parent” in general is respected, we will continue to endure the ridicule and lack of respect that underlies derogatory and divisive terminology.
So my questions today relate to the use of such terms:

Are you offended by such terms as “Soccer Mom,” “Tiger Mom,” “Helicopter Parent,” etc., or do you find them harmless and humorous?

What is the most offensive parenting/mom-related title, in your opinion?

Lastly and most importantly: Would you or do you drive a minivan??

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Kadbury May 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Too funny… to me it doesn't matter what you call it, my minivan was invaluable when my kids were infants… Although I don't have mine anymore, I have no problem saying that I was a Loser Cruiser Mamma : )

~Kristin

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Samantha May 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

@Kadbury
I'm proud to be part of the club as well! Heck – The Beast gets me and my family from A to B and does so with room to spare. Funny – that “Loser Cruiser” seems to come in handy to those same people who mock it when they need to get their big items transported and they won't fit into their tiny cars….strange…

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vinobaby May 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I HATE that I am now a “soccer Mom” but I have to call myself that–I spent the first half of the day at my Son's soccer game and I'm on my way to his end of season party. And my Hubby coaches. {sigh} I can't escape that moniker.

I refuse to drive a mini van though. Ever.

Found you on Bloggy Moms. I see you love wine–I'll have to check you out some more.

Cheers.
Vinobaby

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Samantha May 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

@vinobaby
I'm not a soccer mom, at least not this season, but am a Mini Van Mamma. Can't help it – needed something to fit my kids!
Yes – love wine – also much required when raising 5,000 kids. Thanks for stopping by!

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Rick May 21, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I don't think soccer mom is essentially a bad term, even if some use it that way. Helicopter parent is worse because it implies you don't spend enough time with your kids, i.e. you don't value them enough.

I've never heard anyone say tiger mom except in talking about that popular book whose name I've forgotten. To me “soccer mom” describes a parent who is involved with their kids and does activities with them. It also shows that you are more restricted in what you can do personally, but hey, that's parenting.

I think other people think of an unkempt frazzled woman who just can't get it together, but that's not what I think. Perhaps the people that use the term aren't parents and are worried about becoming one and losing some freedom. We all need to grow up some day. ;)

Rick

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Grumpy Grateful Mom May 22, 2011 at 12:24 am

I drive a mini-van, though mine is extra uncool. It is not feeling so well these days.

I don't mind most of the terms, but I think it is too bad that mothers can sometimes be so critical.

I was just talking to another mom about being enough. It's easy to compare ourselves to other moms and feel that we are inferior if we can't do it all or be the perfect mother–Similar to what you mentioned in your previous post.

But, I want to teach my kids to it is OK and even cool to be a mom with a beat up old mini-van. Sorry for the tangent. I love your thought provoking questions.

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Samantha May 22, 2011 at 12:56 am

@Grumpy Grateful Mom Hi Janae,
It IS cool to have a mom who drives a beat-up old minivan because it's about the quality of time spent in the vehicle and with your child, and not the price or amount of money that was spent on it. We put too much focus on material things in this day and age and having something that is not perfect is a lesson to all of us – kids as well as ourselves – that all that glitter si s not gold.
Thanks for you comment.

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Samantha May 22, 2011 at 1:00 am

@Rick Hi Rick, unfortunately the term “soccer mom” when I have heard it used is generally not positive. It is usually used in a derisive or negative way to label a woman who for whatever reason exudes particular qualities that the labeler deems offensive. I guess it's a good thing that not all people – yourself as an example – see the term as pejorative and maybe that shows that we are on our way to eliminating these terms altogether and seeing people as individuals, not compartmentalized into specific categories.

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Kathleen May 22, 2011 at 2:50 am

Your blog always makes me smile! I passed on the Stylish Blogger Award to you today. Happy May 24!

http://coulditbeceliac.blogspot.com/2011/05/http4.html

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gkbccb May 22, 2011 at 3:12 am

i have never heard of tiger mom, idk what it means, but helicopter parent isnt a bad thing, that you dont let your kid wander the streets so you dont mind up on hln wondering where ur kid is, kidnapped and perhaps murdered, so if that means, i am overbearing and overprotective, my child is alive, and healthy and i can live w that, ive never heard of any of the other term coined either, except for soccer mom, but soccer mom doesnt have to mean minivan, it could just mean well organized mom , and should be taken as a compliment, i dont see how it would bother anyone, kinda like being called a MILF how could that seriously offend anyone? step off your high horse if it does, the world doesnt revolve around you, if people want to think your a milf, or a soccer mom, you probably are, take it at face value, you werent called stupid, unattractive or anything like that, besides, i myself have a little girl in soccer, and i realized this year, omg i have become a soccer mom! quite literally, i would never let that bother me though, label me all you want, idc if its true or if its not, my life is too short to worry about what others do or do not think about me, if rather spend that time with people who matter! tyvm! :)

please follow my blog back at

http://1caseycolette.blogspot.com/2011/05/aveyoucom-review-win-kim-kardashian.html

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Samantha May 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

@gkbccb
Thanks for your comment! It's great that you are not bothered by the labels, regardless of the intent behind those who use them. Yes, I looked around and realized that I too was a soccer mom last season (my daughter played soccer for the first time) who was driving a minivan. I then realized that I had become a cliché and wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry at that moment :)
That said, it is what it is, but I can't deny that I do have some sensitivities to the labels, probably due to my own insecurities about how I am perceived in relation to how others perceive me. Messed up? Perhaps. I'm working on it, though.

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Samantha May 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

@Kathleen
Kathleen – Thank you so much for the kind words and the nomination! I am very touched and honoured! So glad that you enjoy my blog. I hope you're enjoying May 24 as well, perhaps at a cottage???
Cheers :)

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Melanie May 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

What about an SUV instead of a loser cruiser? It gives you the same amount of space but doesn't sacrifice style!

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Samantha May 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm

@Melanie
Yea – that's an idea but I have the Cruiser already with no resources to change right now so it will have to do. Plus I was never that stylish anyway ;)

Thanks for commenting!

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Maggie S. May 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm

We have the SUV, and the children are nearly busting out of the backseat and when they sit back there and squabble, they are WAY to near my head. I would be grateful for a minivan. We, too, have no resources to make the change(it's paid for).

The loser is the person who calls names that make others feel diminished. They are judging by outward appearance. Missing out on knowing great people because of what they drive or what neighborhood they live in. Says more about the name caller than about the person being labeled.

Wonder what they teach their kids?

Stopping by from Coffee Talk Community.

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Samantha May 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

@Maggie S. Hi Maggie, Agreed – it does make a difference having that distance between the front and middle seats, especially when there are nuclear meltdowns occurring simultaneously amongst the kids while you are driving along the highway with no hope of an exit for some time.

Name-calling certainly says a lot about the name-caller, that's for sure. Now if we could take away the projected stigma of these terms – Soccer Mom, etc. – we'd be much better off.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Alysia May 26, 2011 at 7:44 am

Funny I'm not sure if I've ever heard the term “loser cruiser” before…or perhaps I was just in denial since I've been happily driving a minivan for the last 5 years. I love having a minivan, with 4 kids and an occasional friend or 2, my options are pretty limited. Minivans ROCK! and I have no idea why people have a problem with them. I've also been a soccer mom off and on for the past 5 years or so (not this season), and to me it's just a descriptive term. I go to soccer games, big deal. I'm a mom and these things are just part of the package.

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Frugal in WV May 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

We had a station wagon when we first had my oldest, but now we have a toyota camry. With only two kids, that's all the room that we need. I hadn't heard the term “loser cruiser” before reading your blog, seems everyone wants a term for everything I guess :) I don't have a problem with mini-vans, but if we bought a bigger car it would be a cross-over or station wagon. I'm too cheap for the cost of gas for mini-vans. Found you through bloggy moms and following you now, you can find me at

http://wvfrugal-wvsaver.blogspot.com/

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Samantha May 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm

@Alysia Hi Alysia, I agree – I don't have a problem with minvans either – they do the job and get my family from A to B. And there's room – what more can you ask for when yo have kids?? It also is big enough to fit in all of their “stuff” along with their friends and then some. Not sure why people feel the need to label and insult others…it says more about them than it does about their subjects.

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Sara May 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

Don't have “minivans” in the UK. We have a 5 seater MPV (hubby's car) but I have had my VW Bug all the way through pregnancy (bought in the middle of the ICSI cycle and now I regard it as a lucky charm) and and beyond. People told me I wouldn't be able to do twins in the Beetle, but 4 years on and we did it. Two small buggies in the boot or the umbralla fold double in the front seat. No probs! The girls love the Bug too.

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DadNumberOne May 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I love my 2005 Odyssey! It drives better and has more room than an SUV. When I pulled the middle seats out I was able to lay a 4' x 8' piece of plywood flat on the floor (show me any SUV that has that much room). It is easier to get into and out of than an SUV. And when I took it tailgating to a ballgame, my buddies loved the 17 cup holders (no joke).

SUVs are for people who are more worried about the name of their car than about what they are driving! You are the smart one!

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Samantha May 27, 2011 at 11:24 pm

@Sara
Hi Sara! Twins in a Beetle – I love it! What types of strollers did you have that fit into the boot/trunk?

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Samantha May 28, 2011 at 2:51 am

@DadNumberOne Okay, the pulling out of seats to lay down plywood has probably gotten the attention of most of your male friends, non? And the tailgating party? Well, I have to admit that I'd never even given that option a thought!

So refreshing to hear from a Dad who clearly drives his minivan confidently and with style!

Thanks for your comments :)

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Anonymous May 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I am a mom of two boys and I do not drive. I have pushed those two kids up hills, through snow, wind and rain. For a few years there was one kid sitting, one kid standing and a mound of bags hanging off the stroller handles that would cause the whole sorry contraption to constantly tip or collapse entirely. Now if you were to come upon that crazy, wandering heap, you would probably find a new and more fitting definition of a loser cruiser. Simply enjoy the convenience and great practicality that your minivan offers you, your family and friends and ignore the name-calling. What is ironic about this new parental labelling trend is that the most vicious commentary seems to come from self righteous parents. Perhaps since parenting is open to everyone, regardless of class or intelligence, these newly emerging categories of bad daddy and mommy allow people who embrace this nonsense to feel above and apart from the rest of the struggling, tired, parental masses. All this gibberish is really just distracting parents away from enjoying the pleasure of raising kids, which is passing by far too quickly.

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Samantha May 31, 2011 at 1:51 am

@Anonymous
Very well said – You've raised a number of good points. Why people feel the need to label, especially parents, is beyond me. You're right about ignoring the name-calling and enjoying the kids. Life really is too short to get caught up in the nonsense.
Thanks for commenting!

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LeFemmeMonkita February 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Sam, I have such high regard for you as a mom and writer that it doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks about Honda minivans (or any other minivans for that matter!) That said, I vowed I'd never drive a mini van. I've stuck to my vow and have been driving a sedan for the last 12 years. Now it's time for a new car and I've chosen an SUV. But regardless of our choices…that's all they are…choices.

The one thing that irritates me so much, labeling-wise, is the recent negativity toward “Mommy Bloggers”. I'm hearing it a lot lately, especially with some Moms who have made national attention (like this one: http://gawker.com/5863564/mommy-bloggers-need-to-shut-up-about-this-dirty-gay-billboard)

But you're absolutely right that life really is too short to get caught up in the nonsense!

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Samantha February 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm

You're so right, Margaret. We all make our choices and there will always be those who don't agree. I do dislike the backlash against moms that blog (personally despise the term “mommy blogger”). I guess there will always be those who will look for and find negativity in any situation or point of view. Thanks for commenting :)

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CJAllDressedUp June 18, 2012 at 1:29 am

Sam, great points! I personally do not drive a minivan (and hadn’t even heard the term Loser Cruiser!), but never say never is my philosophy. I chose a Toyota Highlander, which is basically a minivan without the super-helpful remote-controlled door. I realized this when I walked up to a minivan and tried to open it. Yeah, it wasn’t my car.

Anyways, I learned that we all analyze others whether we like it or not. We are human, it is just what we do. What we can control is what we base this analysis on- is it just superficial or do we go deeper? Labels are for those who need to categorize and stereotype. Fortunately, I don’t so am not threatened by them!

Thanks for the great article!

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Samantha June 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for the kind words! Yes, I hadn’t heard of the term “Loser Cruiser” either until I found out I was pregnant with twins and someone told me that I’d have to buy a Loser Cruiser. Shockeroo and welcome to reality for me, huh? So far, I love my minivan, as uncool as it is. Let’s face it – being cool is less important than being able to tote around my large brood with ease. Minivan wins, hands down!

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