Monday, March 19, 2012

Minivan-Driving Soccer Mom

We're thinking about buying a minivan. We've always been compact car people, but Declan's arrival, occurring at the same time as Eleanor being old enough for playdates without needing the other parent, means we would really like to be able to fit three carseats into our vehicle. That's not going to happen with either our Matrix or the Cavalier. An SUV is definitely too big, but I can deal with a minivan.

I was discussing this issue with a friend who is in the same situation. I scoffed at the fact that so many people refuse to buy minivans because they are unwilling to admit that they are now Those People: parents with several kids who value functionality more than appearance or speed. Neither Keith nor I have ever been car people, and I've never had a "cool" car.

I told my friend that I was totally okay with being a "minivan-driving soccer mom." She pointed out that it's not really the literal fact of actually being a mom who drives a minivan and whose kids play soccer that people detest. It's the image of the stereotypical soccer mom that drives people crazy.

After this conversation, I started wondering: What do I think of, when I hear the term "soccer mom?" Keith supplied another moniker of "helicopter parent." We decided that it indicates a parent who's generally overaggressive. She's very involved in her kids' lives, even when they should be starting to branch off on their own. I also think that she doesn't have many interests of her own. The stereotypical soccer mom spends all of her time going to, from, or at her kids' activities. She doesn't work outside the home, and she only gets the opportunity to interact with other, like-minded soccer moms.

According to Wikipedia:
The phrase soccer mom generally refers to a married middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school age children. She is sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan. She is also portrayed as putting the interests of her family, and most importantly her children, ahead of her own.
It seems like my concept of soccer mom is a little more in-depth, but not too far off the general view. What do you think of, when you think "soccer mom?"

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