What Lorelai Gilmore Taught Me About Being a Mom

gilmore girls lorelai and roryFor a couple of years during dinnertime, my two teenage daughters would come into the kitchen and sit and watch Gilmore Girls while I pulled the meal together. The hour-long show (now available for streaming on Netflix) came on at 5 p.m. on weeknight afternoons and I’d chop lettuce for tacos or roll meatballs while the girls perched on stools watching the story of another single mother and her teenage daughter unfold night after night.

We called it "The GGs," and invariably one or the other of my girls would rush into the kitchen each night to announce, "The GGSs are on!" and drag a stool toward the TV set.

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It was our thing.

We probably ended up seeing all seven seasons of the show a few times over the course of those two or three years. The various and kooky residents of Stars Hollow, the fictional Connecticut town where the series was set, started to seem like old friends. But we especially loved watching Rory and her mom Lorelai’s fast-paced chatter, stream of cultural references, and how they tiptoed through the perilous teenage years together.

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But mostly what I loved about Gilmore Girls was what Lorelai taught me about being a mom. I think I’d lost sight of that when I was married, but after my husband moved out, Lorelai reminded me what it was to be a strong woman and raise strong daughters (but I think my two sons have benefited, too).

Here are some things Lorelai taught me about being a mom:

  1. Junk food makes everything better. The Girls' major food groups broke down into fast food, frozen food, junk food, and takeout. While I try to serve my kids a healthier diet, there is always room for fun. One of our favorite activities when they were younger was to make a "picnic" for dinner and they'd spread out a blanket on the floor of our family room. I’d serve up mini hotdogs and taquitos. A real crowd-pleaser and something I think would have made the Girls proud.
  2. It’s never not the right time for coffee. Rory and Lorelai lived on the stuff. I've found over the years it's helped me keep going through soccer carpools and bath times. Sometimes I think coffee might be more important than wine. Sometimes.
  3. Clever conversation is fun. The dialogue on the show is frenetic, with Lorelai blurting out ideas/opinions/cultural references at rapid speed. And while my oldest son walks out of the room whenever he sees Gilmore Girls on the TV ("They talk way too much," he says), my daughters and I have adopted the conversational style. We like using all those smart words.
  4. Mother/daughter relationships are never easy. Rory and Lorelai have their share of disagreements over the course of the show. Rory even moves in with her grandparents for a while. And Lorelai's relationship with her mom is fraught with arguing and picking at old wounds. But in the end, they come back to each other because they’re family, and it's something I tried to remind myself all those days when I was surrounded by snarling teenagers ready to pounce on my every word.
  5. Embrace being a perfectly imperfect mom. Lorelai is far from perfect. She gets bombed at Rory’s best friend's wedding. She shows up for Rory's interview at a fancy prep school wearing hoochie-coochie jean shorts. And, I mean, she did get pregnant in high school. But it’s all a part of her charm. Despite or maybe because of her slips, Lorelai is as good of a mom as she can be. And isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?

Are you a Gilmore Girls fan? Who's your favorite TV mom?


Written by Amy Byrnes, a single mother of four, who's afraid of tuna fish, math, and teenagers (not necessarily in that order) but hearts zombies.


Image via Warner Bros.

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