Motherhood lessons learned from Lorelai Gilmore

Motherhood lessons learned from Lorelai Gilmore
Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool

I first discovered the show Gilmore Girls last year, when I heard Tsh and one of her podcast guests mention it.

As a highly sensitive person I have a hard time finding “Jamie approved” shows to watch, so I decided to give it a try.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, Gilmore Girls tells the story of a single mom (Lorelai Gilmore) raising her only child, daughter Rory (16-years-old when the series begins). Because Lorelai had Rory when she was only sixteen, their relationship often mirrors that of close friends rather than mother/daughter.

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In all honesty, I nearly stopped watching early in the first season. The whole “Chilton high school cool kids vs. Rory” storyline almost did me in. But I’m so glad I stuck with it!

And how could I not? The show takes place in fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a small village so similar to my own beloved Newtown. Most of the references to real-life landmarks, roads, towns, etc. are right in my own backyard.

So of course I had to go explore them!

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1779, just like Stars Hollow, see?! And this whole George Washington breakfast at the Tavern is just begging for a Gilmore Girls-style reenactment, don’t ya think?!

Last weekend my friend, writing colleague, and fellow GG fan Kara Anderson flew to my neck of the woods. We then drove 30 minutes north, to the tiny village Amy Sherman-Palladino was visiting when she had the idea for Gilmore Girls.

We walked the streets of Washington Depot, stayed at an Inn in honor of Lorelai, and ate pop-tarts, french fries, and peanut butter cups in celebration of the girls’ dreadful eating habits.

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In front of Washington Depot’s town hall

We had a bit of a Gilmore Girls marathon too, finishing up the series for the second time in anticipation of the new episodes coming to Netflix soon, woot!

Watching Lorelai parent Rory as a single mom has also taught me a few things about motherhood. Here are a few Gilmore-inspired lessons that I want to keep in my back pocket as I navigate the upcoming teen years with my own crew:

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Coffee at the hardware store, in honor of Luke’s Diner! Yes, really–see the paint cans in the corner?!

1. Be 100% committed to your child–no matter what.

As a mother Lorelai is one of the clearest examples of unconditional love and support that I’ve seen modeled on screen. And to be completely honest, her example challenges me:

  • When Rory decides to go to Yale instead of Harvard (which had always been her childhood dream), Lorelai quickly changes course to cheer her on.
  • When she gets in a car accident, her mother drops everything to be there and to see things from Rory’s perspective.
  • When Rory is put in jail for stealing a yacht, Lorelai suspends judgment until she hears the whole story.

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The Mayflower Grace Inn, where Amy Sherman-Palladino had the idea for GG!

Not only is Lorelai there for Rory, she’s also her daughter’s biggest fan. Always singing her praises to others, no matter what has or hasn’t happened.

I don’t mean that she never voices concern or disagrees with Rory’s choices. But even when doing so, her commitment as a mother remains clear. As a homeschooling mom, I am often with my children–but I also need the reminder to be for them, instead of trying to always “teach” them.

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Marty’s Cafe, the closest thing to Luke’s Diner in Washington Depot. Those doughnuts were good!

2. Don’t take things too seriously.


“Oy with the poodles already!”

Lorelai has a brilliant sense of what genuinely matters when it comes to parenting, and she doesn’t pay much attention to the rest. As a result, she won’t allow the more driven Rory to take life too seriously either.

Sometimes I dwell on the serious as a mama. I can look at a minor issue one of my children has and convince myself that it’s going to ruin their future. I blame being an INFJ and Enneagram 4 for that perspective, but no matter the cause it isn’t fun to be around!

Lorelai’s example has reminded me to laugh more, stress less, and let things work themselves out. They usually do.

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This Farmers Market was so Stars Hollow-esque!

3. Support your child’s interests–even when they differ from your own.

Teenage Rory has been a total bookworm since childhood. One of my favorite scenes from the first season is when she takes a heavy book in her purse to a formal dance, “just in case.” You can even read your way through Gilmore Girls alongside her.

But let’s just say Rory didn’t pick up her love for the written word from her mom.

Yet Lorelai buys books, talks about books, fuels her daughter’s love for books, and even tries to get into some of the same titles.

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You could so easily picture Rory in the stunning Hickory Stick Bookshop!

This mirrors my own upbringing, in which I naturally gravitated toward books and had parents who supported that even when it wasn’t their own passion.

I need this reminder to support and dive into my children’s interests–to show them that if they love something, I’ll try to love it, too!

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If you’re thinking of watching GG with your kids, Common Sense Media rates it as appropriate for ages 13 and up.

My 13-year-old isn’t quite ready for the content, though, so look into their detailed descriptions here to determine whether it’s a a fit for you and yours. (In our case I’ve found that usually adding 2 years to their recommendations helps us find the right media picks for our family.)

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Raise your hand if you’re also counting down until the new episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life release on November 25th!!

I had no idea when I began watching the series that it would be continued–what an unexpected blast!

I wonder what Lorelai will have to teach me this time…

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.

Comments

  1. We love, love, love Gilmore Girls! I started watching the series with my older crew. So far they are really enjoying it. We have lots of discussion about the events and the show-there are so many amazing learning moments in it. Sounds like you had a terrific weekend!

    • Fun, Sharon! It seemed like everywhere we went in the town we heard people discussing the show (either visitors or shopkeepers, etc.) It gives folks an immediate bond!

  2. The Gilmore Girls is my favorite relaxing show. It is what I always come back to when I am sick or feeling stressed, it just brings happiness! How fun that you got to visit the inspiration town! Also, the reminder to be for our kids and not just with them, is so needed!
    sarah’s latest post: 2016 gift guide for kids

  3. I LOVED GG over the first few seasons. But then I couldn’t get past the entire Rory sleeping with Dean when he was married storyline. The way it was handled was so selfish, that I just didn’t care what happened to anyone after that. I’ll probably still checkout the reboot on Netflix when it releases.

    • Oh yes, that was a terrible turn of events. Even then, I appreciated how Lorelai made it very clear to Rory how she had not been raised that way and how she did not approve at all. Yet she still found a way to love Rory unconditionally. I thought it was a beautiful (thought no perfect, of course) representation of how on earth you could handle it when a child does something really wrong.

  4. Believe it or not, I have never watched this show, but I am certainly going to consider it now. I love that you and Kara got together to visit there. I’m glad you had a good time together!
    Shelly’s latest post: Imagine a World Free from Compulsory Schooling

  5. LOVE this! I watched faithfully through Season 5 and then dropped off early in Season 6- the whole Rory post affair with Dean was not my favorite. I did watch a few episodes in Season 6 & 7 and of course the Series Finale. I will definitely be watching the Netflix series.

  6. Dana McGinnis says:

    I’ve watched each episode 5 times. I find new things each time. I even have the companion book that tells behind-the-scenes and special nuances of each episode, with commentary from ASP and the cast. Got Netflix just for GG.

  7. I started watching GG at the age of 14 (when it came out every week!) and I’ve always loved it, too. It was the one show my (also single) mom and I enjoyed together. I still have an undying love for the show and hope to visit the little town it’s based on someday, and of course have a junk-fest ready and waiting with a best friend on Nov. 25!
    The funny thing is, the more you watch it (I’ve rewatched all of it 4 times now), the more you start to pick up the bad parts of the characters, so I don’t recommend marathoning it again!! Your list is lovely because now my opinion of Lorelai is so different.

    Also–little plug for Parenthood. Lauren Graham plays a (similar) role in that show, and it is one of the best shows ever made for TV. It’s about a large family. And it’s so, so real. Full of failure, grace, and love. I cried nearly every episode–the good kind of cry!
    Sarah M’s latest post: October Titles // 2016

    • I think I could just as easily write a post about how I disagree with other aspects of Lorelai, Sarah. I’m just focusing on the positive here! But also that is part of what endears Lorelai to me–is she is SO imperfect and yet she still parents with love. I need that reminder that I don’t have to be perfect with my own babes!

  8. I got into this show a couple years ago when a friend suggested it. My husband and I ended up watching it together, and we both love it! Quite funny, too, since my husband is typically an action/adventure type of guy. We’re watching it again (such a fun show to come back to – we always laugh at the dialogue) and I was so excited to hear about the new show coming out.

  9. This was the best weekend!! Sometimes in difficult parenting moments, I ask myself, “What would Lorelei Gilmore do?” and I usually end up handling the situation with much more humor. And more tater tots … 😉

  10. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about GG! I have watched every season at least 20 times, and probably far more. It just gets better and better with each watch. I love Lorelai and Rory. I love Stars Hollow. If I could pick up and move to Washington Depot I would in a second. So excited for the revival episodes coming in a little over 2 weeks.

  11. Fun post! Your hardware store picture really looks like you could have been sitting at Luke’s Diner ! The whole batch of villages that make up Washington, CT is so cute. And the local residents equally as lovely. Over on the Ms. Jeannie Ology blog we just interviewed the museum director at the Gunn Historical Museum and she filled us in on the whole history of the town. You can totally understand how it shaped the setting for Stars Hollow:)

  12. How fun! I have always wanted to go to Washington Depot, but living in CA it doesn’t seem likely 🙂 We LOVE Gilmore Girls I even threw my daughter a GG themed bachelorette party. I’m planning on using some of the ideas again for a viewing party on November 25th! You can see our party ideas here:
    http://www.angela-mills.com/homegrown-mom/family/parties/gilmore-girls-party-ideas/4902
    Angela Mills’s latest post: Total Family Makeover Review {And Family Night Giveaway!}

  13. I love this post! I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan too, discovering it after its run on tv. I love Lorelei and Rory’s relationship, perhaps because my mom and I are not close. I agree with all your points and would also add that I love how she prioritizes relationships, even those that are not easy or fun. She often takes the initiative to make things right after disagreements, and models the concept that whether you like them or not, they are still family and you can’t just totally walk away. Relationships matter is a theme I always take away.

  14. I loved this show when it first aired. I was young and so i looked up to Rory and the Gilmores could do no wrong in my book. But watching it as an adult (I marathoned it the day it came out on netflix) all I see are major flaws in the two main characters. (You know you’re an adult when you can empathize with Emily Gilmore) Rory wasn’t the sweet little angel that everyone praised her to be. I hate that the writers did a 180 on Dean just to prop up Jess. Lorelai for as much as she eschewed Emily and Richards world needed them and took from them when needed. At lease Rory was appreciative of them. Without them Lorelei and Rory wouldn’t have a house (termites episode). Rory wouldn’t have gone to Chilton (pilot episode), Lorelai wouldn’t have the Dragonfly (Richard gives Lorelai a check on her birthday for an investment he made when she was born), Rory wouldn’t have gone to Yale because Lorelai wouldn’t have been able to afford it (Rory goes to Richard and Emily for a no interest deferred payment loan).

    • Yes! I loved this show when it first came out but when I watched it again a couple of years ago I just got really annoyed with Lorelei and Rory by the end of the series. That being said, I’ll still watch the Year in the Life later this month!
      Also, I’ll second the previous commenter’s plug for Parenthood…Such a great show!

  15. Love this. I am so jealous of that trip! What fun! I’ll have to add that to my bucket list. I also don’t think my 14 year old is quite ready….maybe 15. I can’t wait to watch the series with her. (I also third the vouch for Parenthood – LOVE!)
    Mary Wilson’s latest post: What’s in Our Morning Basket?

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