What’s your opinion on vanity car plates?

I think they’re…well, vain. But an interesting insight into the person driving around in them because it shows the world how that person identifies themselves. One the one hand there’s the selection of the plate itself, which I don’t think is vain at all, but still intriguing. For example, Oregon has a handful of plates with which you can present your ideals: the basic tree, the covered wagon, Crater lake, the cyclist, the wine region, the salmon… and these are more general, though considered “special interest”.

I’m referring to the fascination of what people choose for the text on their vanity plates. In a way it’s like a tattoo: a lot of thought, a lot of money, potentially lasting a lifetime, requires explanation and probably embarrassing at some point in the future. Maybe comparing it to a first email address is more appropriate. Are you a #1MUM? FOOTY4LF? LDYBG? TOPCH3F? FITNE55?

I think about this a lot when I drop Samara at school because there are lots of fancy parents driving expensive cars with specialized plates, many of which relate to parenting. I don’t get this. I love Samara, but I believe that even if I had biological children I wouldn’t identify with being just “mum”, at least not to the extent that it’s what I would shout it to the world. It’s painting yourself into a tiny, stereotypical corner. Sure, Matt and I could get plates that say LUVTRAVL but there is more to us than just travel. What about our passions and diverse interests? To the people that advertise their parental position, favorite sports team or financial situation (2RICH – yes, I have seen something like this!) – why do you do this? I’m truly curious. Because when I see the “MUM” plates I have already created an outline of that person in my mind. That’s who they are in my mind: a mother. And this may mean I miss out on knowing them as a friend, a hard worker, an independent thinker or an amateur actor, all because of 8 characters on the back of their car.


Much love and many hugs,


4 thoughts on “Vanity

  1. So what do you think of me with my GOJEEP plates? Jeeps are a big interest in my life and Lisa and I chose this plate to reflect that. I’m not a fan of those I cannot even work out what they mean. I think, well that was a waste of money, have not chosen that one well.

  2. Hmm fair point, Marcus. Maybe I should have specified that I don’t think they’re wrong or bad or saying people shouldn’t have them. In the case of plates that are nicknames (my mom has one saying BEATHERS which has been her nickname forever and ever), interests and such those are generally more long lasting. And, as you mentioned, you’re a huge Jeep aficionado which is something you’re happy to identify with and share with others.

    I more find it… I don’t know the right word…sad? in a way? that people become parents and feel like that’s all they can classify themselves as. And not saying they shouldn’t be proud of being parents; I know a lot of people who have always wanted lots of kids, have lots of kids and their whole lives revolve around their kids. I guess I’m just not that person and can’t imagine myself picking out a plate identifying who I am with being a #1STEPMUM you know? There’s way more to me than being responsible for another tiny human.

  3. It wouldn’t surprise me jos if a lot of these people are given these plates as presents by partners who can’t think of what else to get… Thinking they have nailed it with an indeering plate #1MUM. The only other reason I can think of is they (like me) can’t remember their number plate, or maybe they forget they are a mum.. Who knows 🙂

    • Hey Fi! I hadn’t even thought of that idea… but I really like that you took the time to comment! Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge…

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