There are many philosophies and approaches to raising children. Some are old school strict, some are technology orientated, some like middle eastern influence while others like to harken back to the pre-industrial revolution and pre-modern medicine mindset.
(That last set would be the ones exposing my children to whooping cough.)
But you know what? It doesn't matter!
(Well, the whooping cough matters as I'm really not a fan of my children being at an increased risk of contracting horrible previously irradiated illnesses because of a grass roots movement founded on mis-education in the first place, but the philosophical principle behind the personal choice doesn't.)
So I'm proposing a new and revolutionary style of parenting. It is bold in it's concept and design, and the goal is of such loftiness it was previously dismissed as impossible to achieve outside of theory.
Do what works.
Do what works for you, for your children, for your family, for your life.
Absolutely crazy idea, I know, but stick with me here as I think it has some real merit to it.
Parenthood doesn't have to be some big preconceived notion of how everything will go (and lets face it, even if you had one it'll be so totally wrong), and beyond a few very basic levels of not committing child abuse, neglect, or endangerment there are no fundamental right or wrong ways to do it.
Each parent is a unique person, and each child is a unique person, and each family is a unique unit operating inside of a unique society.
And each of those unique characters have their own individual personalities, preferences, needs, wants, priorities and skills which they bring to the table.
What works great for one would be terrible for another, and that's ok.
Do you enjoy snuggling with your children and can think of nothing better than having little arms wrapped around you all night long? Excellent, enjoy co-sleeping and having that huge family bed.
Do you like to have a little privacy/alone time and are unable to sleep when you are sharing a bed with your child because they spend the whole night kicking you in the gut or stealing the pillow, and then like to greet you in the morning by peeing on you? Excellent, enjoy your separate bedrooms and ability to shut the door.
Do you find breastfeeding to be the most fulling and gratifying experience of your life? Sounds great, treasure nursing while it lasts and feel free to make it last as long as you want.
Do you find subjecting yourself to the little barracuda to be a torturous experience and want nothing more than to burn your ugly nursing bras? Sounds great, just don't forget to buy extra bottle nipples for when your baby keeps chewing holes in them.
Do you love shopping for high end children's clothing and have the financial security to indulge to your hearts desire? Awesome, they'll be surly teenagers who only want to wear black soon enough.
Do you only clothe your children in hand-me-downs either on resource conservation principle or out of financial need? Awesome, way to go being resourceful and budget minded.
Do you eat dinner out most nights because nobody in your family wants to cook? Yummy, and major props to you for having children behaved well enough to make going to a restaurant not be level 4 in your personal hell.
Do you cook all meals at home from scratch to meet special dietary needs and budget? Yummy, and major props to you for having children behaved well enough to let you work your magic in the kitchen.
Do you start enthusiastically working on learning letters and potty training well before your children hit age two? Wow, it's really nice that you're spending so much time with your kids.
Do you spend every afternoon snuggled up on the couch watching some Disney animation and eating goldfish with your little bunch? Wow, it's really nice that you're spending so much time with your kids.
There is no right or wrong way here. And there are many levels in between the extremes. And each day may require something different. And everything changes in 6 months anyways.
And that really is all ok.
There's no need to judge others or to be judged.
Live and let live, parent and let parent.
And then lets do a group hug and sing Kumbaya, to fully embrace the acceptance and love for all other living---
Ok, I got a little carried away there, sorry about that. Lets recap with the original non-over-the-top-mushy thesis statement and call it good.
Do what works.
It's short, simple, and pure awesomeness.
(Really sorry about the singing part back there, I don't know what came over me so I'm going to dismiss it with the always good cop out of saying "it was just that time of the month" and promise to be a less nauseating blogger in the future.)