wordpress stats plugin

When My Days Bleed Into Yours ~ Life:Unmasked

I remember more seasoned parents telling me that the baby years aren’t as bad as it gets. I was crazy from sleep deprivation and the chronic stress of caring for a special needs child, and couldn’t imagine anything worse. Now, I’m getting a peek at what those parents were talking about.

I won’t say that it’s tougher, because I am sleeping at night and everyone’s health is stable right now. The stress in our lives comes from different places, and isn’t of the life-or-death variety. But the challenges of raising our children have changed and the complexity has taken on a new dimension.

color bleedOne child wakes up angsty and over-reacts to perceived slights and lack of fairness. Another child can’t control their tongue and vomits all manner of opinion, critique, and insults on everyone around. Another asks me if “sex” is a bad word and what the F word means. I discover how difficult it can be to remain level-headed and calm amidst the stormy lives orbiting mine (which isn’t exactly calm either).

They are watching me. I’m watching them. We rub off on each other. The lines between us blur and overlap and the colors mix. I labor hard to keep my head above water and shove the frustration down when they are at each other’s throats.

But it isn’t just them dragging me down. I see how it affects them when I’m tense or worried or angry. It’s a constant battle to listen to myself and reign myself in, to deal constructively with my own unhappiness rather than pouring it all over them. I pray that as we work through these things together, we will forgive each other, give each other room to figure it out, and learn from each other. Maybe our colors will bleed together into something beautiful.


Life: unmasked buttonIt’s Wednesday, which means it’s a day to write unmasked, share the real-life with one another, put something out there to let someone else know they aren’t alone.

The instructions are simple: include a link back to this post in your post (you can use this short link: http://wp.me/p2n5xv-xq ). Copy the direct link to your post into the linky below. Then visit a couple others and let them know you stopped by! (I’ll do my best to visit a few of you too, but this summer has made writing and reading challenging!)


Sign up to receive new posts in your email.

I generally post 1-2 times per week. You will only receive an email from me if I have posted something new. I hate spam and promise never to send it to you.


  1. It does feel most day like my life with my kids bleed into each other…I love the idea of it being making art together.

  2. My life exactly right now, Joy. It seems harder to hide my sin from my older children now. I know what I need to do is just confess to them when I sin against them–that’s how I started the day this morning. Apologizing to one of my kids in front of the whole family so that everyone would know I was wrong and she was innocent.

  3. Mothering From Scratch says:

    {Melinda} Joy, thank you so much for your transparency. I can so relate to what you said. I am raising a teenage girl and a preteen boy and the days of diapers and playdates seem so SIMPLE by comparison (although I know my memory has faded a bit!) I try everyday to let the Holy Spirit work on ME. I only have so much control over their behavior and emotions, but I can let God mold mine.

    I remember a couple of years ago, my teenage daughter told me, “I need you to be calm.” I’ve thought of that over and over again. Their hormones and emotions are spiraling out of control. We have to be stability and the voice of reason. Whew — a tough order sometimes! 🙂

    • I remember begging my mom not to yell at me – I think it must have made her so mad. She was so frustrated with us, and with her own life, stuff she never said, never talked about. I hope I can keep more current with my kids so they don’t have to cover their ears all the time. So far, not so good. Sigh.

      • My husband encourages me to think about the sheriff who pulls someone over for speeding. He/She doesn’t rant and rave. They just calmly ask for the license and registration, write the ticket, and send them on their way. As the mom, I can’t be that detached, but the idea of approaching the situation in that mindset is appealing. Impossible. But appealing.

    • It is such a tall order. I try to remember that I’ve been trying to manage my hormones and emotions for 25 years longer than they have and it should show, but man. It’s tough.

  4. You’re so brave and honest, Joy.

  5. I’m not sure how I missed that you do these, but I love it. And I’m at once glad and terrified for what you shared above. I’m more aware than ever that the choices I make now are going to affect my whole life later. I can’t keep living in my own bubble as my kids keep growing…

    • That’s exactly it. I am realizing that I’ve been thrashing about in my own bubble while they need me to be in theirs. It’s scary and overwhelming and exciting and sobering all at the same time.

  6. I feel the same way….we rub off on each other. Daily I am thankful for His grace and theirs as we figure things out together.

  7. Joy I can’t recall at the moment how old your oldest is, but I’ve found that my almost 10 and 8 year olds are by far the most difficult kids in the family. It might be because of other (non-age-related) issues, but it’s also because my mood, energy, spirit, words entirely affect them and their mood, energy, spirit, words. Punishments are so different, wounds are starting to stick (and now at the age they’ll be remembered) and the pressure is so on. I feel like I constantly disappoint them, and I think about baggage I hold still w/my own parents and pray that I can be different.

  8. Just yesterday, I said a thought out loud as a response to behavior, and immediately apologized. It was rash and unkind and I was tired and childish. Being a responsible, loving grown up is some seriously hard work sometimes.

  9. Beautiful post once again, thank you Joy.

    But why have you changed it so I have to click through from google reader? It can be a pain…

  10. Oh gosh, I love this!

  11. Yes. Beautiful and true. Love the color-bleeding, painting metaphor.

  12. I love your outlook in life Joy. It’s so hard to understand kids right now, we need more patience. But I enjoy to be with them all the time. They are actually my life.


  1. Parenting: What I’ve Learned From My Husband « Changed By The Maker says:

    […] Life Unmasked […]