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Eight ways Gilmore Girls made me a better parent.

When I first experienced Gilmore Girls I wanted to be Rory. I’d gone back to uni and was desperately trying to complete my undergraduate degree as well as work breakfast radio hours (4am-10am on a “good day”) and the only way I could bring myself to do my work was to have Gilmore Girls on in the background.

I’ve watched the complete seasons twice since subscribing to Netflix and now that I’m a decade older and have three kids of my own (as well as two fully grown step-sons) I find myself watching it with new eyes. Now I watch it as a mother, as Lorelai (never Emily) and she’s helped me be a better parent.

Instead of being the kind of parent I grew up thinking I had to be – strict, distant, demanding – I could be friends with my children, enjoy my time with them and make our lives fun, saving the stricter version of myself for only the times when they needed it.

Rosie Waterland and Laura Brodnik recap every season of the Gilmore Girls on The Binge podcast.

Which after 12 years of motherhood I don’t have to do very often. My children are moody little angels, each and every one of them. The “Rory’s” to my “Lorelai”.

Here are the eight ways watching Gilmore Girls has made me a better parent. Lorelai has seen me through my first 12 years of parenting and now thanks Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life the show can help me with the next 12…

1. Do special things together

From watching old movies to planning out fun roadtrips to making fun of the townsfolk to drinking lots of good and bad coffee, Lorelai and Rory managed to find lots of things they loved to do together and they did them often. I have found something special I do with each of my kids.

My son Philip, 12, loves to bake and we do it often, and eat the results. Giovanni, 8, is obsessed with bowling. He beats me every time. Caterina, 7, is my little gardener and helps me with my failed veggie garden most weekends. One day we’ll grow something we can actually eat.

2. Set ambitious goals for yourself.

Lorelai became a single mother at 16, but never let it stop her from setting big, massive life goals. Aside from raising an amazing child, Lorelai also wanted to run an inn and then own and run an inn. Her daughter Rory grew up watching her mum work long hours and study at community college.

I decided to go back to uni a few years ago and am still studying. My children see that I keep striving and never stop learning. Philip, 12, has even been to uni with me and he wants to follow in my footsteps. I know he’ll change his mind a million times between now and 18 but still, it feels good to hear him say it.

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Be supportive.

3. Make your own decisions.

When Logan proposed to Rory, he first asked Lorelai for permission and instead of disuading him she gave him her blessing, hoping Rory would make the best decision. Even when Rory asked Lorelai for advice, she refused to give it, telling her she had to make her own decision.

It can be so tempting to give your kids specific advice but it’s much more important to trust you have raised them well and give them the space to make their own decisions, even if they end up making mistakes.

4. Bounce back from mistakes.

Lorelai made plenty of mistakes in her life but she never tried to hide her flaws from Rory, which showed her that it’s okay not to be perfect. Rory tried to be perfect but inevitably made plenty of her own mistakes by dating the wrong guys and quitting Yale. Still Lorelai showed her how it’s possible to stray from your path and then get straight back on it once you are ready.

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My husband and I talk to our kids a lot about our experiences, in particular when we went bankrupt in 2008. We also take the time to explain to them what we have learned.

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5. Treat your children’s friends and boyfriends like extended family.

If someone is important to your child, they should be important to you, even if you don’t particularly like them. Lorelai adored Rory’s first boyfriend Dean and he became like a part of the family. Even when Rory started dating Jess and then Logan, Lorelai did all she could to welcome them into the family, even when they didn’t appreciate her efforts. Also Rory’s friends Lane and Paris always knew they could turn to Lorelai if they ever needed anything.

I truly love my children’s friends, particularly those friends they’ve known for years. When they start dating I plan to be welcoming to them to.

6. Feel your feelings.

When Lorelai broke up with Luke, the only man who could every truly break her heart, she lay in bed unable to move and cried and cried and cried. She set an example for Rory that it’s okay to be sad and feel your feelings. Even when Rory was upset by life she’d give her excellent advice such as, ‘Lie in bed all day and eat lots of pizza and ice-cream’.

My son is very sensitive, like me. There are lay-in-bed-binge-eating days in our future, I can feel it.

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7. A sense of humour is key to everything and anything.

Gilmore Girls was always so brilliant due to the funny one-liners, the constant zingers and Lorelai and Rory delivered them perfectly for seven seasons. Even when everything is going wrong and even during those more serious and sad episodes, this mother and daughter made us, themselves and each other laugh. They made constant fun of each other and everyone else they loved.

Not a day goes by when my kids and I don’t laugh. Life’s too short to take it too seriously and I’ve learned to accept their mocking of everything I do and say as a compliment, as their tween-version of, “I love you Mum”.

8. Be a part of your community.

Lorelai and Rory live in Stars Hollow, a small town which is loosely-based on an actual town called Washington Depot in Connecticut in the U.S. which writer Amy Sherman-Palladino once traveled through. It made me want to live in a small town and served as a constant reminder to get involved in my local community.

Regardless of where you live, there is always something unique and special about it and by getting involved in local activities and events you are truly creating a home away from home. I feel as though my children are always safe where we live because we can’t go five minutes without walking past someone we know. If feels like a small town.

Listen to the full episode of The Binge: Gilmore Girls special.

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Tags: celebrity , children , family , parenting-2 , tv-2
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