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.
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.