Lessons from Lorelai

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about what we can learn about motherhood from one of my new favorites, Beverly Goldberg. I’m am nothing if not a lover of the iconic television mom!

With the onset of the 2015 College Football Season, the three females in this house have lost nearly all weekend privileges with our family television set and have been relegated to spending some serious Saturday time with Netflix.

We have been binge-watching slowly working our way through Gilmore Girls (again) and I’ve had some time to think about Lorelai as I watch the series through the eyes of my eight and (almost) ten year old. As my young daughters are becoming little ladies, I’m always thinking about how my role as their mother needs to evolve as each stage of their little lives and hearts emerges.

While I don’t really base my life model on a secular, fictitious television mother, I do think there are some takeaways from the way Lorelai parents her daughter, Rory. I’d love for any other GG fans to add some input to this list.

all I ever needed to know about motherhood


Lorelai doesn’t try to control Rory’s life.

When it comes to trying to keep the reigns of parenting, I’m kind of the anti-Lorelai. I don’t mean to over-control, smother, hover, or helicopter, but I definitely have some room to improve here. Lorelai gives Rory lots of space, room to fail, and ultimately a safe place to land when she does fall.

Lorelai has made mistakes and doesn’t try to hide them or make Rory believe that she is perfect.

It’s not that I think I have to be perfect for my kids, but often I get a little overwhelmed that my life needs to be an example of striving to be my best. I think it’s a huge mistake to live as though we aren’t in need of grace, forgiveness, and second (or third or fourth or fifth) chances. Lorelai Gilmore messes up a lot. And while much of her life-drama is perfect for entertainment, it certainly gives me fodder for looking at the ways I need to allow my human-nature to be more visible to my kids.

Lorelai has a network of other meaningful adults around her to help influence Rory.

Thankfully, I am not a single parent, but even in two-parent homes, it does take a village. From Sookie, to Luke, to her own parents, Richard and Emily Gilmore, Lorelai allows a wide net of others to come alongside and love Rory. As a family, who for the past many years has lived away from family and our natural support system, I have to be diligent to ensure that our kids are being loved on by others outside of our nuclear family.

Lorelai doesn’t overplan her days, weeks, months or years: she allows life to happen.

I don’t get the impression that Lorelai uses a Passion Planner, agenda, calendar or phone app to manage her life. While some of those things work for me, I know that in reality, life is going to happen no matter how we might arrange it or anticipate it. I’d like to be more like Lorelai in my spontaneity, thrill-and-adventure-seeking, and letting fun evolve.

Lorelai gives Rory the benefit of the doubt.

All too often, I find that I can err on the side of teaching my kids the lesson, pointing out how we might avoid problems, and correcting their mistakes. It’s not that Lorelai believes that Rory is above reproach, it’s that she trusts her judgement, her behavior, and her motives. She knows Rory and considers her good track record before she (Lorelai) jumps to conclusions. I want to be like that as my children get older. As long as they make good choices, keep our earned trust, and have a good track record…they deserve our faith in them!

Lorelai is vulnerable.

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon how you look at it), I find that I happen to relate to Lorelai very much in this area. Lorelei is vulnerable. She doesn’t sit on her emotions, or seethe, or pretend when things upset her. You can usually read her emotions in her body language, her voice, and in the fact that she’ll often make it known how she is feeling. Vulnerability can leave you open to hurt and pain, but it also makes you more capable of being open to deeper connections with those you love.

Lorelai is fun.


[image source: sankles.com]

Many critics of Gilmore Girls cite Lorelai’s irresponsibility, goofiness, and immaturity as reasons why she isn’t a good mother. I disagree. When my girls and I watch GG, we laugh and think most of Lorelai’s antics are fun and lighthearted. I need to be more fun with my kids, with Ryan, and just more fun in general. I’ve had decades of experience of taking life too seriously. As a mother, I all too readily assume the role of teacher, disciplinarian, enforcer, rule maker, and task master. <— Many of those roles are necessary for training and raising children. BUT! Fun is good too. I’m working toward more silliness, laughter, and cheerful.

Lorelai is building a lifelong friendship with her daughter.

When our children were much younger, Ryan and I established a philosophy of parenting that we would lovingly create healthy boundaries for our children. We did this with sleep schedules, with behavior and heart issues, and ultimately set the tone in our home that earnest obedience and generous love were the standard. Those boundaries we have enforced are now well-worn roads for our kids. As they are getting older I am seeing emerging hints and glimpses of those years of diligence giving way to a new dynamic in each parent-child relationship. When the series begins, Rory is already nearly grown, but I adore the way she tends to lean in to those boundaries established by Lorelai. And yet, there is a compelling energy between mother and daughter that displays friendship, loyalty, affection, and a deep love.


I know it’s a cheesy show from now, almost 20 years ago. But Gilmore Girls is teaching me a thing or two about the kind of mom I want to be.

What about you? Do you relate to Lorelai in any way? Why or why not?

3 thoughts on “Lessons from Lorelai

  1. WendyD says:

    I love how much fun they have together – I also need to “plan” regular fun 🙂 HA! Love too that she is honest about her mistakes – that we can do easily as Christian parents, because then we model how to apologize in our hearts, to God, and to the person harmed. Great opportunity to show them the need for Jesus. But you know, not to excess (I hate that “I’m such a sinner!!!” mentality, and prefer “leaning on grace!” instead :)).; This was SO MUCH FUN to read, Claire! See!? You already had more fun.


  2. Brittany Wilkerson says:

    Love this! I too, thanks to my sister in law Katie, am now binge watching Gilmore Girls! I think your next mom needs to be Christina Braverman! ( I just finished Parenthood)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s