We Don’t Care About Your Car: Doe Maar Gewoon!

by farrah on March 11, 2018 · 1 comment

A few months ago I privately FB messaged about 35 of my fellow mom friends. I had questions about what cars worked the best for them since I have been out of the US car market for the past several years. I knew that if anyone- my moms would know what was best these days. I will admit that I was thrilled with their responses- because they a) gave me terrific advice and b) reassured me that US moms are not all about being the envy of the neighborhood/soccer team/PTA/etc (in contrast to what some might have us believe).

I may have been living in a bubble – but I’ve had a really hard time believing that the majority of moms out there have somehow turned into the competitive, back-stabbing, materialistic and ego-centric monsters much of the media would paint for the rest of us (as seen in blogs, news blips and the perfection of IG). Sure there are anomalies amongst us- but for the most part my US mom friends (who happen to live all across the country- giving a widespread geographic demographic)  responded to my questions with thought, rationale and experience. No one made reference to being the mom that everyone envied for her sweet ride.

Perfect example- the other day I was stalking AutoTrader armed with some of the suggestions my friends had given me. As I saw one that fit the criteria I was looking for, I noticed the text of the ad stating:  “You’ll definitely make a statement if you want to have a leg up on the soccer moms out there with this SUV!”. WHAT? Who wants to have a ‘leg up’ and be the asshole soccer mom? What does that even mean? Not one of the moms I had messaged gave me even the most remotest of feelings that they chose their car because it made them superior.

Doe Normaal!

There’s a saying in Dutch ‘Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg‘ (Just act normal, that’s already crazy enough) which is actually explained very well here at a Dutch Language Blog 

The goal is to downplay achievements and possessions so as not to appear “better” than anyone else. For all that they love to leave their windows wide open and in full view, the Dutch tend to keep everything else on the down-low.

As one learns during the inbureringscurses, asking a Dutch person how much he makes or how much her new car cost is as great a transgression as asking a woman’s age is in other cultures.

Don’t brag, don’t show off, don’t display too much personality, don’t publicly show emotions, follow all the rules and regulations, don’t act like you’re better or better off than anyone else.

So while I understand that to a degree this is a bit over the top (specifically the don’t show emotions in public, don’t display too much personality- part) the overall message is pretty clear: You’re not better than anyone else, so don’t act like an idiot. I think that more than anything else this Dutch trait has influenced me the most, and I noticed that by talking to my husband about what kind of car we would get for the boys and I. I want used, roomy, something my reputation as a ‘ram van’ operator could handle, and clearly nothing obscenely expensive.

But then again, does anyone really care what you drive these days?

This is what they said

In case you’re wondering, I compiled the advice given to my by these 30-odd moms on which automobiles they liked the best. I prefaced my initial message by saying I loved our old mini-van in SC but was not going to go that route due to my fear of driving it in the ten tons of snow I’m expecting in our new location. I also stated that I loved the idea of third-row seats and didn’t need input for car-seats since thankfully those days are behind us.

  • Overall, the people with minivans loved their minivans (Toyota Sienna,Honda Odyssey & Pilot and Chrysler T&C got the shout outs).
  • I was told the GMC Acadia, Toyota Highlander, Kia Sorento, Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave were all awesome third-row SUVs with room and dependability in the snow.
  • GMC Yukon, Ford Explorer, Expedition, and even the Ford Flex also got the thumbs up.
  • Several of the group specifically pointed out the practicality of buying used cars since they felt it was more environmentally responsible and just plain economical (I loved this response from people).

Thus, overall I was pretty happy with the feedback I was given. We’re currently stuck though since we can’t buy a car until we get a US drivers license and we can’t get one of those yet because it’s most likely SC destroyed our licenses once we sent them in to get our Dutch ones. Thus, I’m guessing our adventures with the DMV are just beginning :). Kind of reminds me of the frustration I felt upon moving here and we couldn’t do this until we did that, & etc.

Huge thanks to my friends for their input AND just giving me the feeling that US moms are a whole lot better than some people would like us to believe. SO STOP IT ADVERTISERS. 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Kristin March 12, 2018 at 10:25 am

I love how this post is both car advice and a statement on reality. We have a 2012 Mazda 5, which I love for its smallish practicality. The third row is cramped, but it works for short trips. But I only have two kids, so it’s a different story. Good luck with the DMV!


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