It is quite possible that Lorelai Gilmore is to blame for all that is wrong with families today.
I didn’t watch Gilmore Girls when it first aired in 2000.
I don’t know why, I was definitely watching TV back then. Same reason that I didn’t watch Grey’s Anatomy or Lost or How I Met Your Mother, I guess.
I watched ER, Friends and Brothers & Sisters instead. I watched Facts of Life over & over & over again.
When will Facts of Life be on Netflix? I digress…
Thanks to the wonder that is Netflix, I’m watching Gilmore Girls now with my pre-teen daughter. While finding it entertaining, gripping and addictive, it’s also horrifying.
Let me tell you, watching it as a 40-something mother of a daughter is a pretty painful experience. It’s a total train-wreck!
I’m sorry if this is hard to read, those of you who watched it religiously, some 18 years ago, (ouch) back when we had to wait a whole week for the next episode.
I honestly wonder how many young women did watch it, totally enamored by the seemingly perfect mother-daughter relationship between Lorelai and Rory. Episode after episode, their young, impressionable minds romanticized the idea of being best friends with your daughter.
Let me be the one to burst the bubble. Theirs was a FAR FROM PERFECT relationship. In fact, it may rank as one of the worst parent-child relationships in TV history!
Is Lorelai why parents have stopped being parents and instead strive to be their child’s best friend? Is this why parents aren’t setting boundaries, following through with real consequences and expecting respect from their offspring?
Is their ultra-cool and casual relationship what North America became obsessed with? Not to mention the total abandonment of eating anything home-cooked or plant based.
If, at the impressionable age of 20-something, you fell in love with Rory and Lorelai and are hoping to have that kind of bond with your daughter, you need to hear this:
DO NOT TRY TO BE YOUR CHILD’S BEST FRIEND!!!
Your child deserves so much more from you than that.
Your child deserves the best possible relationship she could hope for. A mother-daughter relationship. There is nothing more sacred that you can share.
Friendships can be fleeting. Women know that. Young girls may not yet realize the roller coaster of friendship highs and lows that lie ahead of them in life. Besties one moment, replaced by another the next.
Friendships can also be amazing places for vulnerability, silliness, shared secrets, hopes and dreams; the very best ones involve tough love when you need to be called on your shit. When a little badgering is in order. That is the very best of friendships, especially when it is a perfectly shared two-way street.
DO NOT put the weight of that relationship on your child!!
Your child is not the safe harbour for your secrets and dreams. That is far too great a responsibility to put on your child. Instead, your child needs to know that your love and support will be there despite the mercurial nature of her secrets and dreams. She needs to know that she can have secrets from you but that you trust her anyway.
THAT is a normal mother daughter relationship. Not one where the mom lays out one guilt trip after another for not being the first person to know about your new crush.
The fun part of watching it for the first time ever, with my daughter now, is that we are both, equally appalled at the selfish, narcissistic, irresponsible nature of the ladies of the Gilmore family. We each grab for the remote at least once per episode to pause it to discuss the absurdity of what is playing out. “She is being so selfish!” “Who is the mother and who is the daughter? How can Lorelai be so ridiculous?” “How are they both so totally rude to everyone around them?” “Could Rory be any more entitled and spoiled?” “How do they not weigh over 200lbs each!?”
It may actually be the best show to watch for a lesson in “how not to parent your child.”
I can pretty much guarantee that the combination of non-parenting, eating diner burgers and donuts daily and insisting that you always get your way will not result in an over-achieving, valedictorian, Yale/Harvard accepted offspring. It’s TV people. It’s not real life.
In real life, I had a friend, back in grade school who had the coolest mom ever. She was fun and glamorous. She taught us how to jive. She was in a band that had toured with The Mamas & The Papas!
We were about 13. Her mom was her best friend. They told each other everything. They ate ice-cream together right out of the container.
I was in awe. One night when my mom was tucking me in I asked her if we could be best friends too.
She said no.
I was crushed. She explained that she was my mom, she wasn’t meant to be my friend.
I’m not going to lie. It stung at the time. I was bummed. But wow am I glad now.
That friend? Last I heard, her mom had left their family, rarely spoke to her anymore and was living in Hawaii with some guy. Now who was crushed?
My mom? She’s still my mom. Still as solid and reliable as ever. Still a role model I hope to be like. Still someone to offer some advice, when needed, but now I request it and I savour it. And yes, we share cocktails the way good friends do but its even better than that because it’s sharing a cocktail with my mom.