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Recently, like the rest of the world, I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls. Goodness knows why I’ve never seen it before – it’s precisely the kind of easy-to-watch bingeable TV I enjoy – made all the more relevant as the main storylines focus on a single mother and her relationship with her daughter.
Four years ago when I first became a single parent I would never have believed what the future would hold – especially as I had yet to watch Gilmore Girls (yeah yeah, I know it’s fiction but…). Back then I’d been left left a woman who had never been alone, had never made a big decision without consulting her husband, who was vulnerable and weak and scared. Looking back I was a totally different person.
Not one part of me ever imagined bringing up kids alone could be a fun or positive experience, and I’m sure the majority of people think this too. Whenever I’m trolled on Twitter (which isn’t often, thankfully) it’s usually something derogatory about parenting: I had someone tweet at me “single parent, I can see why LOL” last night. Which just makes me chuckle because that’s like saying to me “LOL look at you so happy and accomplished”.
Ok dude, hit me where it hurts.
Don’t get me wrong, being a single parent is not the easiest path to take. But it most certainly isn’t the worst thing in the world, and Gilmore Girls hit so many happy nails on the head for me. Here’s what they get entirely on-the-nose:
You become best friends with your daughter (or son)
This is so true. Elfie and I frustrate each other often because we operate entirely on the same wavelength: much like my own mum and I (or Lorelai and Rory!). We’re best friends, we’re genetically similar, our thought processes and feelings behave the same. The three of us together are a nightmare ;)
Elfie and I have a special bond that I wonder would be there if I wasn’t a single parent, and much like Lorelai and Rory we truly share pizza or tubs of ice cream while we watch movies on the sofa. She tells me stuff, I tell her stuff, we cuddle and love. It’s awesome.
I have a special bond with Hux, too, as he does with his sister. If she’s in trouble he stands up for her – at four years old this is so sweet – and as there’s no other man in our house he is unequivocally our number one guy.
Your kids are just as well brought up as if they had two parents at home
Being complimented on how polite, funny and clever my children are makes me so proud because I know that is directly a product of me. They are genuinely lovely children and are totally adored in and outside of the family.
Living with only one of their parents hasn’t diminished their intelligence or their love for learning, their senses of humour or how loving they are. They’re basically normal, amazing kids. I hate the consensus that kids from one-parent families are somehow emotionally deprived or disadvantaged – this isn’t true of my children at all.
You can be driven in your career
I’ve never had more work-based dreams than I do now, and I’m sure many of these have been born from a necessity to provide for my family – alone. I used to worry how I’d make enough money to support us all, but now conversely I enjoy being the only fiscally responsible adult in the house. The buck stops with me (literally) when it comes to bringing in money, but I also have an incredible amount of freedom when it comes to spending. If I have a great month at work and want to buy a Bella Freud jumper – that’s on me. And it’s awesome.
It can be character-building
You can’t argue with the fact that Lorelai is an incredibly strong character and I’d wager that’s something that happens when you parent on your own. An adult makes around 35,000 remotely conscious decisions daily and when parenting solo these are pretty much all made alone. The pressure of deciding alone what happens when it comes to the big things – schooling, holidays, living situation – means you grow an extra layer of metaphorical skin. I’m definitely harder and less emotional where it matters and suffer fools way less gladly.
Your kids are little grown-ups
Lorelai and Rory undeniably have a relationship that is not just on the mother-daughter level, but a friendship one, too. I get that: when you’re the only adult in your house you most definitely treat your kids like friends or mini room-mates. For example, I expect mine to help out around the house to the best of their little abilities: they take their plates to the dishwasher, tidy up after themselves and make their own beds. I’m not sure I’d place this responsibility on such young kids if I wasn’t a single parent.
Now, one thing I don’t agree with is the amount of binge eating that goes on in the Gilmore household. Either those two don’t actually eat all the food they buy or they have some seriously crazy metabolisms. Either way, single parenting does not make it possible to eat burgers and pizzas every day and stay a slim and toned size six. Trust me, I’ve tried it and have the Deliveroo account to prove it. Damn.