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How to Know If You Suck at Parenting

Parenting is so hard—the hardest.

Sometimes maybe you’re awesome at it, but those times mostly feel like brief candle flickers in a dark room, and that dark room is very big. You might call that darkness expansive, even.

Sometimes you may go so far as to say you feel like you actually suck at it. But how can you be sure? Start by asking yourself these questions:

Did you say yes to your preschooler eating a breakfast of fruit snacks at 6:20 a.m. because you were too exhausted to open your eyes for more than 12 seconds at a time?

You do not suck at parenting.

RELATED: 4 Secrets to Healthy Kids

Replace fruit snacks with handfuls of chocolate chips straight from the bag, Doritos, or an entire box of popsicles.

Nope, you do not suck at parenting.

Are your kids fed, period?

You do not suck at parenting.

If you're actually still working on the “fed” portion of today, are your kids safe?

Congratulations, you do not suck at parenting.

Did you send your 4-year-old to school wearing a tank top when it's only 50-something degrees outside because you failed to check the weather before agreeing that she could totally pick out her outfit all by herself?

A savvy teacher will find her a loaner sweater, and you do not suck at parenting.

Have your kids watched more than two hours of Netflix or YouTube today?

You do not suck at parenting.

OK, fine, more than three hours?

You still do not suck at parenting.

Since you brought home your newborn from the hospital, has every single one of your plants died?

You do not suck at parenting.

Did you go back to sleep/shower/stare into space for 15 minutes instead of pumping?

You do not suck at parenting.

Did you accidentally drop your smartphone on your baby's face while taking an usie?

You do not suck at parenting.

Have you been wearing the same pair of yoga pants for the last six days?

Oh, that's probably because you've been too busy not sucking at parenting to change them.

Is there an ocean of Shopkins covering your basement floor?

You may be a sucker, but you do not suck at parenting.

After asking your child nicely to do something no less than 15 times, did you finally lose your patience and raise your voice?

You do not suck at parenting.

Bonus Round: Did you later use that as an opportunity to have a conversation about appropriate ways to communicate and handle our feelings?

Way to work it out! See, you do not suck at parenting.

Were you late for preschool pick up? Did you forget it was your week to bring snack? Did you send in nearly expired store-bought danishes for the teacher appreciation breakfast?

Listen carefully: You do not suck at parenting.

Did you respond to your child's wistful pleas to get a dog by throwing back your head in a fit of hysterical laughter and then walking away?

You do not suck at parenting.

But now are you thinking that maybe a dog wouldn’t be so bad?

You’re clearly a masochist, but you do not suck at parenting.

Did you teach your child an impressive vocabulary of four letter words while you were:

A) Driving?

B) Attempting to carry in ALL of the groceries in a single trip?

C) Trying to finish a work project on deadline from home?

D) All of the above?

You do not suck at parenting.

Have you given hugs and kisses and snuggles this week? Have you read "please just one more" bedtime story? Have you soothed impossibly exaggerated, evidentially life-ending injuries acquired during daily play? Have you gushed over a scribble of crayon? Have you participated in your four-hundredth "Frozen" sing-along?

High five. You do not suck at parenting.

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Now, a cheer of solidarity: Raise your cup of coffee or your glass of wine or the half-empty cardboard juice box you’re finishing for your toddler and tell yourself again: You do not suck at parenting. Seriously, you don't. You're awesome and you're going to make it.

Photo Credit: Jacob May

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