Bronwyn O'Neill compares the iconic Lorelai-Rory relationship to her own with her mother and looks at how hard single mothers work for their kids.
On Sunday night, I sat down with my mom to re-watch Gilmore Girls from season one. It was a show that I watched every week with my mom as a child. I related to the show, being raised by a single mom and having a pretty decent relationship with her. I yearned to be just like Rory, smart, funny, pretty and an aspiring writer. Now in my final year as a journalism student, at least I have one of those ticked off on my list and I don’t intend to carry out any extra marital affairs.
As thousands of girls longed for a mom just like Lorelai, I had one that was as close as I was going to get, including the caffeine addiction, if you replace coffee with tea. I would class my mom as one of my best friends, as well as all my friends loving her. Sometimes I think they prefer her to me!
I couldn’t wait to plunge back into the world of Stars Hollow with my mom. So, cups of tea in hand, I pressed play on the first episode. Watching it back really hit home the struggles of being a single mom, even with help from other family members. Watching it for the first time, I was too young to understand the sacrifices Lorelai made for Rory. Of course my own mother made sacrifices for me, things that I will never know about.
When you’re a child you never see your parents struggle with anything, they never let you worry about anything. So seeing Lorelai panic about being able to afford her daughter’s private school tuition almost brought me to tears.
I had an amazing childhood and my mother made sure that I was spoilt every Christmas and birthday. It never occurred to me as a child how much money my mom spent on me to keep me happy. Like Lorelai, my mom pushed me in school to do my best. I was a smart child who read piles of books and I knew my mom wanted me to make the most of my life. I worked hard to get good grades throughout school, with my mom making sure I studied even harder than I thought I was capable of. During my Leaving Cert, I was made study all the time, something I hated and begrudgingly did, realising slowly that once again my mom wanted what was best for me.
As we watch more and more episodes of Gilmore Girls I started thinking about how much love and respect I have for my mother. When you look at your own life, it’s hard to be objective but when we see Lorelai and Rory in front of us it’s easier to realise what our mothers do for us. Of course, my mother and I fight, just like any other parent/child duo. We are far too alike not to clash, I don’t think either of us can stay mad at each other for very long.
Being raised by a single mom makes me more grateful for her and for my family as I grow older and I realise the difficulties accompanied with having a child. So many women looked up to Lorelai as being such a strong independent mother, something that I am lucky enough to have in my own life. There are so many people who are not as lucky to have such amazing families around them and that fact makes me even more thankful for mine.
Even though I wanted to be Rory as a child, I realise now that I would prefer to be as hard working and passionate as my own mother, the best female role model I could ever ask for.