Manly New Dad Tips: Buying a Sport Utility Vehicle and the Rule of Shoe

So you’re going to have a kid huh? Or perhaps you already have a kid, live in a metropolitan area, and are considering moving to the ‘burbs. Either way, you’re going to require a new vehicle for your ever expanding family.

Here’s what I found out almost immediately after driving off the parking lot with my own new vehicle just a few short months ago.

I have a bunch of stuff. I don’t know what it is but every time I move I curse myself for having so much stuff. That being said, I’ve made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of stuff that I have. I’ve been tossing, donating and selling as much as I can.

When I found there was a new addition on its way, I spent hours researching the perfect new family vehicle all while aiming to reduce, reuse, recycle, be kind rewind, et. al, vis-a-vie, yada yada. With research completed my wife and I went shopping for the best car available based on the size of my family (husband + wife + newborn = 3) and the needs and wants of a ‘less is more’ type family. Then when it came time to buy a shiny new car I did what any self-respecting man would do, I picked the most bad-assed, fuel efficient, compact, eco-friendly SUV with the highest resale value within my price range that was available that day.

Manly New Dad Tip #1: Do you have the car seat you will use in your new car? Maybe you should bring it with you to the car dealership to see if it fits. ‘Cause if you’re buying a smaller car / SUV then you’re likely to find out that it probably doesn’t fit as well as you thought it would. You’re also likely to have to push your passenger seat as far forward as possible just in order to fit the car seat in back! You know, maybe. I mean, I heard that happens. (DAMMIT!)

Manly New Dad Tip #2: If you like math, then calculate the following equation. For every essential X your child needs on a car trip, multiply that X by two. There’s no scientific evidence or logic to this equation but it’s kind of like the ‘rule of shoe’ (I may have just made that up). Simply put, the rule of shoe applies to the amount of footwear necessary per overnight stay times the number of days, divided by number of cute outfits times two. If you’re a bit fuzzy on the math just plan on doubling whatever you’re planning on taking for your newborn. That’s double diapers, double bottles, double baby wipes, double blankets, double pacifiers, double AAA batteries for the double number of toys you’ll need… You get the point.

Manly New Dad Tip #3: Buy something that your significant other feels comfortable driving. This will probably be the car that your significant other drives on a very regular basis. You should probably assume that the shiny new family car you’ll be buying will only be driven by you when you and your family are taking a road trip and or it needs an oil change.

Manly New Dad Tip #4: Listen to your friends who already have kids. For some reason I didn’t think we need a larger SUV since we were trying to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ we had. If you’re like me then the best advice I can give you–that you’ll probably promptly ignore–is to listen to other parents. Just keep in mind that even if you try your best to keep your newborn from acquiring too much ‘junk’ that you probably have friends, family or especially grandparents that will constantly buy your newborn things you didn’t know existed.

To sum it up, we thought we were different. We had begun living our new faux-minimalist lifestyle but we never accounted for the fact that our newborn didn’t understand what minimalism was.

Be realistic with yourself and the amount of ‘stuff’ you’ll be hauling around with your new family. A small, fuel efficient, eco-friendly, carbon neutral SUV may make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside but when you’re trying to fit a car seat, stroller and oh, I don’t know, let’s say your wife in the car at the same time, all on 2 hours of sleep, and while the baby is crying, sigh… it will make you much more relaxed if you just make sure you buy the right sized vehicle.



  1. Cassie

    So true. My family is up to five people and I regularly scoff at sedans and small SUVs and I’m a girl. If it doesn’t have a third row, it doesn’t exist in my world.

    • Thomas

      Cassie, if only I would have listened to my friends. Sigh… I have new seen the light and I agree, third row or forget it!

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