My parenting idol is an unwed mother who got knocked up when she was sixteen years old.

I’ve discovered why I love Gilmore Girls so much.

And I’ll be honest.

It took me a little while to get to this point. To the point of loving the show so much that I now feel the need to pace myself and ration episodes because I know I’m gonna be really depressed when I’ve watched them all.

Because the show started off a little bit hokey.

The character of Sookie was way over the top in the first season.

The pace of the dialogue between Lorelai and Rory (or Lorelai and anyone) was (and sometimes still is) way too fast to really be believable at all.

But by the third episode I was hooked.

Because even with the fast paced dialogue and the over-the-top characters, I eventually fell in love.

And the biggest reason I fell in love with the show isn’t because I live in a small Connecticut town.

It’s not because I might be semi-obsessed with Milo Ventimiglia.

Okay — the Milo thing might be part of it, but that’s not the biggest reason.

It’s taken me until the end of the fourth season to figure it out.

But now I know what it is that makes me love this show so much.

It’s because Lorelai Gilmore = Total Mom Goals.

Seriously.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently.

Not just since I started watching this show, but since this past September when I declaredthis school year would be the Year of No for me.

Somehow we moms have convinced ourselves that in order to be good parents, we have to be the best.

At everything.

We have to be thin and in shape.

We have to still fit into our wedding dresses on our tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth anniversaries.

We have to raise children who excel at everything.

We must make sure our kids hit every developmental milestone on time, and we must also document each and every one in a detailed baby book. And scrapbook. And video montage.

We have to meal plan and only use whole and unprocessed foods and prepare the perfectly balanced, homemade dinners. And lunches. And breakfasts.

We have to stay happily married and model a healthy a respectful relationship with our husbands. At all times.

We have to throw the perfect birthday party for our children .

Every year.

We have to make sure our children participate in every activity and program they ever express interest in, and we definitely have to make sure we present them with all the opportunities we were never given as children.

We need to stop yelling but maintain order and respect, we shouldn’t swear, we need to declutter, maintain a clean house, and be completely organized.

Oh yeah. We also need to learn how to do Common Core math. And listen to recorders and trumpets and saxophones. Without wincing.

And if we are really good moms, we will find a way to do all of this on our own. Without any help. From anyone. Ever.

Of course, when you read this on paper, you realize how fucking ridiculous it is.

But still, we have all gone mad.

All of us except Lorelai Gilmore.

And that is why I love Gilmore Girls so much.

Because Lorelai, for me, is that slap across the face bringing me back to reality. Telling me to snap the hell out of it.

She’s a single mom who got knocked up when she was sixteen.

Her personal life is a mess and she can’t maintain a relationship with a man for more than a few months (I’m only on Season 5, so don’t ruin anything for me).

Her relationship with her parents is a complete disaster.

She never has food in her fridge, doesn’t know how to cook, drinks an insane amount of coffee, and she and her daughter eat out for every meal.

She’s far from perfect and plenty fucked up.

Yet, in spite of all these flaws, she has the relationship with her daughter that every single mom envisions when they are pregnant.

She’s raised a daughter who is responsible and kind and intelligent and proactive.

And she’s done it without making gluten-free pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse every morning for breakfast, being married, or enrolling her daughter in every activity known to mankind.

With all her flaws and shortcomings, Lorelai Gilmore has done a kick ass job in the mom department.

Because she never lost sight of what is really the most important thing with respect to raising her daughter: spending time with her.

That’s what our kids want the most.

They might say they want stuff. They might say they want to do things.

But have you noticed what it is your kids do the most when you are watching them at a baseball game or a swim meet or in a concert or on the basketball court?

They are looking to see if you are watching them. They are waving and trying to find you and making sure you see them wherever they are.

Because the primary goal of not just children, but of all people is to feel a sense of belonging and significance. To feel important.

And children don’t get that from a bento box lunch that looks like Anna and Elsa or from being enrolled in fourteen activities in the third grade.

But they do get that from parents who may not be perfect and who may be a little fucked up, but who are also present and available for their children.

Do yourself and your kids a favor this weekend.

Leave the phone in the car at the basketball game.

Put aside a half hour to play a game. Or talk. Or hang out.

Don’t worry about perfection. Don’t worry about doing it all.

Don’ t worry about anything.

Instead, take a page out of Lorelai’s book.

Eat cereal with your daughter for dinner, or order take out, then curl up on the couch, watch a movie together, and make sure you let her know who you think is most important.

Just like Lorelai Gilmore.

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