Sometimes I read a blog post by another mummy blogger which speaks straight to my heart. My Thank You Thursday this week goes to Emily Carlisle over at More Than Just A Mother, for her post last Sunday entitled Accidental Parenting: Naked Beans Night. First of all Accidental Parenting is a phrase I wish I'd coined myself. Emily describes the well-known phenomenon of absentmindedly doing something one way - once or twice - and this becoming the only way to do it that is acceptable to your children. I won't spoil Emily's post by retelling her hilarious example - and anyway, I think it's only fair that you click on the link and read it yourself.
More important than the story is the concept itself. There are things we woud never have planned in our perfect-parenting dreams and behaviours we would have readily frowned upon - until we found ourselves allowing them in our own households. And, as Emily so rightly points out, once a 'way' of doing something has been established it often involves too much effort and energy to reverse the custom. So thank you Emily for understanding why I give DD a square of chocolate halfway through her main course (only if she remembers to ask for it). Once it was a way of giving her a treat for eating half and giving her the encouragement to finish her meal. Now it's just what we do sometimes and, in the spirit of picking your battles, it's not terrible it just happened.
And even more important than all the above, after you have recognised the concept and forgiven yourself for initiating the Accidental Parenting customs in the first place, is the reminder from Emily to consider all this next time you see an act of imperfect parenting from another parent. As Emily says, they probably didn't plan to parent that way. It is most llikely an act of Accidental Parenting. So you could put aside your judgement and just smile knowingly.
Once again, thank you Emily Carlisle at More Than Just A Mother for your brilliant observation and for giving us the concept of Accidental Parenting.