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Mendo Lake Family Life

Minivan Mafia

By Jessica Guerrieri

"Baby number three is on the way!” my friend announced.

“Yay! Now you can be part of the Minivan Mafia!” I said, excitedly clapping my hands.

“But I promised my husband I would never drive a minivan,” she said, frowning.

“That’s funny. I promised my husband I would do whatever it took to maintain my sanity, and that includes remote-controlled, dual sliding doors.”

Unconvinced, she looked at me. “But they are just so uncool.”

“Oh, definitely, so uncool. But you can just add cool to that list of things we used to be…” Along with well-rested, life of the party, and world traveler.

Now I am mostly confined to a family-friendly box—one that contains ethnically ambiguous, body-positive Barbies; stories about bodily functions; and a list of words like poo-poo, ouchie, and oh gosh.

Becoming a mom definitely changed who I am.

I used to judge moms, before I became one myself. Parents used to tell me horror stories about forgetting diapers and tying shirts to little naked butts; finding inventive, questionable ways to funnel vegetables into their kiddos’ stomachs; and allowing screen time for any moment’s peace. I would nod along, pretending not to be critical, and smugly think to myself, Never my kids!

Cut to raising three children and working from home in a global pandemic. I am constantly teetering between mildly and moderately horrified at the limits of my parental control.

For instance, just this afternoon my daughter painted the dog and brought her in during my Zoom conference call. Did I mention she only used red? Now my coworkers think my homeschool lessons include ritual dog sacrifice.

Then, the other day, we were just getting home from our daily walk when I told my daughters to go in the bathroom and wash their hands. Afterwards, my toddler ran over and stuck her wet hands directly into my mouth. Once I could move my lips, I thanked the two big girls for helping their little sister get clean.
“Oh, she didn’t wash them.”

“Then why are they wet?”

“There wasn’t room at the sink, so we told her to just lick them.”

But these are all just opportunities to evolve. I used to sweat the small stuff. I’d be overwhelmed at the idea of tiny bacteria-infested fingers rubbing against my teeth. But today, I’m a ninja—and a multi-tasking one at that. I can simultaneously apply a Band-Aid, feed a toddler, and write notes for my next article. But more than that, I’m able to filter through all the noise, listen to my little ones’ hearts, and tap into the deeper meaning of the life our family has cobbled together.

Life used to just mean my life. Now it’s about ours. I became a we. But my identity is not about who or what I am, but about who I am becoming. My children made the introduction, and, honestly—my hands on that minivan steering wheel, an eye toward the road ahead—I’ve never felt more like myself. 

Find Jessica Guerrieri at and on Instagram at @witandspitup.