Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Origin of "Subaru Mom"

I'm not the type of person to use the name of my car as my online identity, so I thought I'd share where I came up with this blog name as well as my Twitter handle, @subarumom09.

When I moved to Seattle in 2002, my first impression was that in order to become a Seattleite, you needed a North Face ski jacket and a Subaru Outback.  Despite the potential brand-snootiness, I was in love.  On my third day in the city - literally,  I went to a ski shop in Northgate and purchased the beloved powder blue coat that I still wear.  I instantly started to feel like I was ready to live in Seattle.  I know that material items aren't keys to living in any city, but the jacket helped ease me into the lifestyle.  I moved to the West Coast on my own and it was the beginning of my adult life.  Although I got the coat right away, I wasn't so quick to procure the Subaru.  In fact, I didn't buy the Subaru until I moved back east several years later.

In 2007, my husband and I decided that we needed to leave Seattle and move a little closer to home on the east coast.  As a result of moving to a city with less public transportation, we needed to buy a second car.  We immediately started looking at Subarus and fell in love.  We bought one a little before the birth of our daughter in 2009 and it has been great for our family.  We're in the market for another car and are close to pulling the trigger on another one. I totally buy into the "Love. It's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru" slogan.

Despite the adoration for my car, the real origin on "Subaru Mom" is from a novel I read recently, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette." There's a lot to like in this book and I identified with several aspects.  First, it's based in Seattle and takes many jabs at Microsoft's executives.  I've been around a handful of them in real life and found the book to be a dead-on depiction of my experiences in their presence. Also, early in the book, the author shares insights on elite private schools and the types of parents they attract.  The Galer Street School has too many "Subaru Parents" and wants to bring in more "Mercedes Parents."  When I read this particular passage, I ran downstairs to my husband who was cooking dinner (BTW, yay for a great husband!) and read it to him.  For background, you should know that my daughter attends a competitive independent school and even during the admission process, I noticed how these were the two classes of parents.  We're either slightly hipstery, granola-loving Subaru Forester/Outback or Honda CRV drivers, or Mercedes/Land Rover driving parents who wear Lululemon workout gear and simultaneously carrying $3,000 handbags.  Although I'm a member of the former group, I really enjoy interacting with all the parents at the school...I'm just aware of the differences.  Anyway, I poured through the book in a few hours because I was so excited to find something that I so closely experienced.  Hence, I decided to become "Subaru Mom."

Photo via Patricia Wall/The New York Times

I'm not a book reviewer, so I'm sharing the NY Times review for your reading pleasure.  Obviously, I highly recommend it. I just ordered Maria Semple's first novel, "This One Is Mine" and will let you know if it is as good.

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