The road less travelled

Parenthood often means a change in vehicle - farewell performance car, hello practicality. While for some, this is no big deal - for others it can be quite an emotional journey, as 'dad matters' columnist Sam Cummins explains.


The Oxford dictionary defines shame as "A painful feeling of humiliation or distress". Shame can be explained as the discomfort people feel when they don't live up to the expectations of others or the remorse and/or embarrassment they feel when they think they have let others down.

Feeling shame is part  of the human condition, something that everyone understands and has experienced. Shame has its roots in childhood experience and shared cultural values. To feel shame is different than to be embarrassed.
This isn't about how you feel when your kids go full Trump in the supermarket, or the fact that your six year old can't ride a bike, or that you can't back a trailer. Those are embarrassing, but not shameful.
Shame is different and for a lot of men (and some women) has different names. Words devoid of meaning, but that still create feelings of failure and inadequacy.

Words that promise so much and deliver only regret.

Premacy, Odyssey, Pressage. Estima, Alphard, Edix - variants of the same Japanese phrase: "All hope is lost". Chariot - of what? Crushed dreams, that’s what. Wish - wish I was driving something else.

I am of course talking about the laughing stock of the automobile, the people mover. The perennial joke, a moving meme. The "I'm not having four kids" contraceptive.

One manufacturer with staff members who could actually speak English, came up with the only name that really makes any sense. "MPV", which of course stands for Multi Person Van. This naming common sense is to be expected, they also produced the "Bongo Friendee Van", which was exactly what it was. Unless the Warriors lost.
Negativity gets you nowhere though.
You can make the choice to hold your probably greying or balding head high and focus on the positives. 

There are plus sides to people movers – and they don’t involve the benefits of sliding doors, extra seats for friends and whanau and space between fighting kids.
I’m talking about affair-proofing relationships. I know I don’t have to worry about my wife (who is outta my league, she’s a solid 8 and I’m barely a 5) meeting any potential replacements - any man with brains/money is going to see that people mover coming and run the other way.
Parking at supermarkets – no one blinks when you use the baby parks. You're bad at driving? No problem, that’s what everyone expects anyway.

Embrace it, embrace the whole thing. Talk about interest rates; sleep routines and DIY TV shows. Men, buy long shorts that sit below the knee. Women, wear flat shoes all the time and let your feet forget about heels. Liberate yourselves, you are invisible to the good looking under-25's anyway and only a source of noise pollution to the rest. Convoy on school runs and at Saturday sports. Compare storage features. Listen to Taylor Swift. 

Ride on free, unashamed and proud.


SamSam Cummins lives in the Bay of Plenty with his wife and three young sons. He reluctantly drives a Toyota station wagon but would like you to know that pre-kids he drove a Ford Falcon. By day he has a respectable office job. After hours he takes his boys to the skate park where he teaches them the pivotal life balance of resilience, rebellion and respect for your mum.

Click on the link to read Sam's 'no holds barred' perspectives on skateparks and sex after the new baby arrives.



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