Before we had kids, I never really stopped to consider what "parenting" meant. We had some vague notions about not getting much sleep, telling little people to "Brush your teeth!" and going on family vacations. Mostly the immediate pre-baby time was spent on stuff; namely, staring in a bewildered manner at the aisles and aisles of stuff at Buy Buy Baby, which ended with me running out of the store in tears and Donny standing there helplessly, holding the list of Stuff You Must Have Lest Your Child End Up a Tattooed Juvenile Delinquent Who Never Brushes His Teeth, wondering, for the love of all that is covered in spit up, what the hell are "oh-nay-sies." (Onesies, is the answer. Have I blogged about this story before? It seems vaguely familiar, but I couldn't remember and anyway, you've gotten this far, might as well finish.)
And then our children came, one by one, like the ants, and we began the whole process of child-rearing, sticking close to our non-philosophy philosophy. Which meant that we basically fumbled through, hoping for the best and keeping a sharp eye out for tattoos. I never even read a real parenting book, except for the "What to Expect" variety, which tells you things like, "This month your child will learn to clap!" and if your child learned to clap last month, you feel smug, and if the month passes, clap-free, you panic and break into hysterics, envisioning heartbreaking scenes of your child sitting at their child's Siddur Party, banging pathetically on a tambourine while all the other parents are madly applauding.
Oh, also, I've read the chapters of my own book on parenting, "Leave me Alone So I Can Read the People Magazines from Three Months Ago. Or the Back of a Cereal Box. Please." (My expectations have gotten lower.)
Anyway, I just figured this was how all parents raised their children. But as I have met more and more parents, it seems that I am in the minority. Lots of parents have parenting philosophies, which include very definite ideas of how they do or do not want to raise their children. They even read books about it. And have discussions. And post things on forums. And sound generally intelligent and non-fumbly.
So my point here is: Am I alone? Do you have a Philosophy or are you a Wing-It-er? Should I put more thought into this whole parenting thing other than idly wondering how much longer it is till bedtime? Tell me your thoughts. Just to try to keep them to cereal-box-length.