Fast talking, few-to-no small children, an insane amount of pop culture references, and poignant mother-daughter relationships. This is Gilmore Girls, and what’s not to love?
Gilmore Girls came out in the fall of 2000, and people (okay, mostly females) fell in love with Stars Hollow and its inhabitants. I was entering high school when the show premiered, and I watched it religiously with my sisters and my mother. As true Gilmore Girls fans, we watched reruns, bought DVDs, and rejoiced when Netflix picked up the show. We even took to just listening to it at times, much to my dad’s chagrin. When my cousin, who shares our obsession, got married, we threw her a Gilmore Girls themed shower, complete with chuppah and Founder’s Day punch!
It should come as no surprise then that I was ecstatic when news of the revival hit. I have big plans to watch all four episodes in one fell swoop with my sister in the wee hours of the morning on release day. In preparation, I have been rewatching all the previous seasons, even suffering through the inauspicious season seven.
While I have been watching the old episodes, the mother-daughter dynamics of the show really hit home again. I don’t always agree with the parenting choices of Lorelei, but I respect how much she cares about her family and admire how the show deals with life and love. Reflecting on all that, I have compiled a list of motherhood lessons inspired by Lorelei Gilmore, to be read very fast while drinking copious amounts of coffee.
- Eat together. While the nutritional value of Lorelei and Rory’s meals is dubious, the sheer amount of time they spend together over food and beverage in the show is admirable. They talk, they laugh, they fight. I already wrote about how important I think eating as a family is, regardless of what is on the table, and the Gilmore girls underlie that with their meals as they talk about everything from lip gloss to sex. And, really, who doesn’t secretly want to eat like that in real life?
- Have your own life. Throughout the series, we watch Lorelei continue to build her own life while parenting her daughter. She takes trips, attends and graduates from business school at the community college, opens her own inn, has several romantic relationships (even though she clearly only needed one from the first season), keeps up her friendships, stays involved in her community (who wouldn’t want to be the Renoir girl?), and generally lives her own life. There are some poignant moments when Lorelei realizes that Rory is going to grow up and move on with her life. This is a sobering reminder for any mother, and she took it upon herself to make sure she had something more than cats and bulbs to think about.
- Make your house a safe space. While I don’t always agree with the mother-daughter roles on the show, I do love the safe space Lorelei creates in her home. I want my home to be a place where my kids can feel safe, welcomed, and loved, no matter what. I never want them to be afraid to come home. Rory calls her mom after being in a car accident and after getting arrested. She came home after taking time off of school and frustrating her mother beyond belief. That’s a true home.
- Tough love. The dark days of the show occur during a lengthy rift between Lorelei and Rory. One of the few times Rory does not exhibit perfect child syndrome and takes a detour off her path, Lorelei makes the difficult decision not to assist her while she flails. It’s a hard part to watch, but it’s a true parenting dilemma at any age. Eventually, Rory comes to her senses, and Lorelei welcomes her home with open arms, prepared to help Rory get her life back on track. Cue sighs of relief that the tantrum is over.
- Cultivate family relationships. Throughout the show, Lorelei’s relationship with her parents is full of past resentment, old fights, and new challenges. However, she continually pushes Rory to form a closer bond with them. She does the same with Rory’s father. I appreciate how much she values her daughter’s relationships with family members, even those with whom she has difficulties. This is a hard lesson to emulate because of the emotions involved, but it helps to remember that the more people who love your child, the better.
I can’t wait to see how the time has passed in Stars Hollow and how the relationships have changed over the years. Maybe Lorelei will have some new lessons to teach me, but she will absolutely have new eating habits, a plethora of jokes, and a few killer outfits to behold. Is it November 25 yet? Oy with the poodles already!