Hello there, person doing your best to raise good kids in a crazy world.

If you are like me, you’ve read the books or the blogs, and you’ve nodded yes to some and no to others, and along the way you’ve embraced some kind of parenting philosophy. Maybe it has a name. Attachment or grace-based or whatever.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A philosophy is a safety net, and if anyone could use a good safety net, it’s me. The parent. The mom who is amazed and overwhelmed and torn and consumed by the loves I call my children and who Does Not Want To Mess Them Up.

It’s nice to be able to say I am a such-and-such parent and to read what so-and-so says about it all.

The thing I’m wondering, though, is ifΒ parenting by philosophy is really parenting out of fear? There’s a little if-I-do-this-my-kid-will-become-that in it. And I totally get that. About a thousand and six times a day I think I’m screwing my kids up because I didn’t do whatever fill-in-the-blank thing that parents are supposed to do, now. I used time-out because I hadn’t yet read that I am actually supposed to use time-in. Or I asked my kid to say thank-you when such-and-such philosophy says I shouldn’t force politeness, or I didn’t spank when clearly God said I should, or I homeschooled or didn’t homeschool or homeschooled when I should have unschooled.

I don’t know. I don’t want to be wandering around in this parenting gig without any guidelines. But guidelines can turn into rules which can turn into boundaries which can turn into tribes which can turn into wars. Sounds kind of like… religion.

When it comes right down to it, I parent eclectically, and I bet you do, too, if you think about it. I bet your parenting, like mine, is a mix (or a mess?) of how you were raised and what you’ve read and what your friends are doing and what feels right.

If you want to call that a philosophy, that’s okay. You share yours and I’ll share mine. But most of all, let’s love each other and laugh together when our kids are funny and cry with each other when they’re not, and let’s tell each other what great jobs we are doing. We are, you know.