In the few short months that I have been a mother, I have really seen an evolution in my parenting ideology. Prior to having a kid, I had some pretty strong opinions about "how one should raise a child." (I think this is a common fault of the childless.) And then I had Finn. And I realized that I can't just mold him into the baby that I want him to be. He is his own little person with his own issues and personality.
For example, prior to having a child I firmly believed that babies need lots of sleep and it is your job as a parent to make them sleep. Now, I still do believe that babies need lots of sleep and as a parent you should help provide an atmosphere and a schedule that promotes sleepiness, but I no longer am under the misconception that you can make a child nap when he does Not Want To Nap. (I guess I just couldn't imagine a world where a person would not want to sleep when given an opportunity. It still sort of boggles my mind.) I was under the impression that I could impose my parental will upon a child and have him obey. After all, I am bigger, stronger, older, wiser, etc. Of course, I would be able to make a wee babe do what I want. Ooh boy. The fact that I am getting sleep in only two hour snippets each night attest to the power and force of the young and small.
A person can have an idea about how they are going to parent their child, but it is all rather hypothetical until you actually have a child with an actual personality. Then, faced with the reality of your situation, you think "Oh crap. That method is SO not going to work with the baby that I have unless I want to break his soul." And so you scratch all your preconceived notions and start from the beginning. I don't know why this is such a revelation to me, but it is.
My revelation, which is simple, basic, and embarrassingly intuitive sort of follows a proof-like reasoning:
1. Babies have personalities. Very strong personalities.
2. All babies are different.
3. What works for one child does not mean it will work for another.
4. There is no cookie cutter method to solve your parental problems (see items one, two and three.)
The repercussion of this revelation: give other mothers some serious slack. I have been doing some serious mental judging in an effort to make myself seem superior.