I was a little late jumping on the Gilmore Girls bandwagon. I saw an episode here or there during its original run, but I didn’t actually watch the show all the way through until it began streaming on Netflix last year. I had a newborn and was spending lots of time on the couch feeding him, so I started watching the series and was instantly hooked. In fact, I’ve watched it all the way through a second time since then.
One of the things I love about the show is watching Lorelai be a mom. I’m sure if I’d watched the show as a teen, I would’ve thought she seemed so laid back, hilarious and fun — which she does — but as an adult with kids of my own, I take so many other lessons from the way she raises her daughter.
Here are a few things Lorelai Gilmore has taught me about being a mom:
1. The importance of good coffee
Moms need coffee, and we desperately need it to be the right coffee. Remember when Lorelai wasn’t speaking to Luke and she had to go that other restaurant with the terrible coffee? No, that simply will not do. Coffee is how we get through the day, and we need our version of Luke’s coffee with a side of great banter, or no dice.
2. You have to support your kids no matter what
You know those parents dragging their kids to softball practice or dance class, forcing them into pageants and nagging them to get good grades so they get into their parents’ dream college? That is so not Lorelai. Yes, Rory is an amazingly accomplished kid, but Lorelai would adore her even if she weren’t. Lorelai never pushes Rory into things she doesn’t want to do or takes credit for her successes. She admires Rory and she’s proud of her, and she always supports her no matter what. That’s a lesson we should all put into practice with our own kids.
3. Let your kids make mistakes
Letting kids fail and make bad choices is probably the hardest part of being a parent, but it must be done. Lorelai knows that, and that’s why she stays out of Rory’s personal life — minus a few big arguments, of course (cough, cough, Jess). In fact, over the course of the show we actually watch Lorelai evolve from being afraid Rory will make the same mistakes she did to accepting that Rory needs room to screw up. It’s one of the realest parts of Lorelai as a parent, and one I try to keep in mind when I’m tempted to morph into a helicopter mom.
4. Remember to always find the humor in things
Things happen in life that are awful and out of your control, and that’s when you need to laugh the most. Lorelai always knows the right thing to say, and she can brighten even the worst of days with a well-placed joke. Sure, she’s about a million times funnier than any of us because she’s got a professional writing her lines, but that’s beside the point. Look for the humor, otherwise you’ll never make it out of motherhood alive.
5. It’s okay to focus on your own dreams
Want to open your own inn? Go back to school? Fall in love? There’s time for it — all of it — and you don’t have to sacrifice your own happiness or goals just because you’re a mom. Sure, you might have to shuffle things around and operate on a different timeline than you originally hoped for, but part of being a good mom is maintaining your sense of self and making sure you get what you want out of your own life.
6. Surround yourself with awesome people
We get by with a little help from our friends, am I right? Lorelai happens to have the best friends in the world, but more importantly, she understands that she can’t do it alone. Maybe she doesn’t have her ideal parents, but she’s created her ideal family through the people in her life and they’re of vital importance to helping her and Rory thrive.
7. Always be yourself
When Rory gives her high school graduation speech, she shocks Lorelai by saying she’s always wanted to be just like her. It’s a good reminder that our kids love us for all of our quirks, flaws and rough edges. We don’t have to be perfect to be good parents. We just have to be ourselves.