Oy with the poodles already.

By Real Simple
Updated May 05, 2016
Getty Images/Handout

When it comes to the ideal mother-daughter relationship, look no further than the Gilmore girls. Lorelai and Rory are not only mother and daughter, but also each other's best friend (sorry, Suki and Lane). While Lorelai occasionally made questionable parenting choices (see: her outfit for Rory's first day of Chilton, or that time she dated Rory's teacher), for the most part, she was a fantastic cheerleader, supporter, friend, advisor, partner-in-crime, and parent to Rory. We listed our favorite Lorelai-isms that all moms can learn from.



This is a pretty basic parenting lesson, but an important one nonetheless. Know where your daughter is, and whom she’s with, even if you live in a 100-square-foot town where the most interesting activity is the yearly “Starlight Festival.” And if, for some reason, your daughter “runs away” to her grandparents’ home without leaving a note or a clue, head straight into panic mode and bring out the search party.


When Rory switched from Harvard to Yale, Lorelai decked out her room in Bulldog décor. When Rory felt homesick the first night, Lorelai threw an epic take-out party to help her daughter acclimate to the new setting. No matter the situation, Lorelai acted like a security blanket for her daughter, giving her the tools, friends, and snacks needed to succeed at any challenge. Sometimes, kids need a little push before they can break free of their comfort zones, and it's always helpful to have their mother by their side.


Nobody likes to discuss the six-month separation between Rory and Lorelai, but it’s likely a reality that many parents know to be true. Whether your daughter physically leaves your home, or simply locks herself in her room on a nightly basis to avoid conversation, trust that she is working through things on her own, and will eventually return for your reassurance, guidance, and forgiveness.


In the pilot episode, Luke desperately tries to turn Rory into a tea type of person, pleading: “Rory, please, put down that cup of coffee. You do not want to grow up to be like your mom.” Rory’s answer? “Sorry, too late.” (With one of those knowing smiles that also says, “I love my mom and want to be just like her.”)

Okay, so maybe Luke had a point. Maybe caffeine isn't the best drink for children. But it's still pretty adorable that Rory wanted to be just like her mom.


Shopping is therapeutic (but window shopping isn’t). So is junk food. Be it a first break-up or a stressful week of finals, everyone needs a treat now and then, and it’s a mother’s job to recognize the signs and swoop in with a pick-me-up present. Lorelai knows the cure for heartache is ice cream, pizza, pajamas, and wallowing, shoe shopping cures stress, and a brand new book is the perfect present following a minor surgery.


Because Lorelai went to business school and pursued her dream to open her own inn, Rory was able to see firsthand what it looks like to follow your dreams. Rory says it best in her high school graduation speech: “My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be… As she guided me through these incredible 18 years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.”


Whether it’s a donut before school, an acceptance meal with a side of fries, or an obligatory Friday night dinner, sharing food ultimately leads to sharing stories, advice, thoughts, and pop culture references.


Lorelai and Rory talked about everything. And when that communication channel broke down—during Rory’s break-up with Dean or her troubles at Yale—are when the mother-daughter relationship suffered. This perfect duo—“envy of all the world, more intimate than that of the naked couple in the 'love is...' cartoon”—was at their most perfect when they said exactly what they were thinking. While it’s impossible to completely replicate this BFF-style connection, mothers everywhere can take a cue from Lorelai, and make sure their daughters know that they can always seek out Mom when they want to talk.


A spontaneous trip to Harvard, a night spent at a creepy bed and breakfast, a weekend tailing Bono in Dublin—these are the recipes for amazing memories and quality bonding time. It’s important to have a plan and a goal, but be sure to teach your daughter that spontaneity is also a great thing… and if you spend too much time with your nose in a map, you might miss important moments happening all around you.


The Gilmore girls knew better than anyone that there was nothing better a binge-TV session or movie marathon—junk food mandatory. The good news for you? There are plenty of ways to watch Gilmore Girls (streaming on Netflix, on DVD, or TV reruns) even though it's off the air for now. That means you can sit down for an episode or two (or season or two) of automatic quality time, Gilmore style.