What to Do With The Bad Days

I gave into temptation and colored my hair. In my own home.

And then at 10 o’clock in the P.M. I washed my hair 37 times because hair color called Espresso is named that for a reason.

I fell into bed with my damaged vanity and slept fitfully. When the alarm sounded the next morning for church, I was still in a bad hair mood with a tingly scalp, a stiff neck and a-gone-to-bed-too-late hangover. I went back to sleep.

The house was sluggish until after noon, our regular routine turned on its side.

What started out as a simple “don’t do that” to one of my kids ended up in a full blown tantrum (I call that the bonus level). We generally handle these in stride. Because three kids and 19 years of marriage.

Take a deep breath. It's just a bad day, not a bad life.

But I was cranky and we let our child’s behavior turn a rocky parenting moment into marital strife because we disagreed on how to handle the blowout.  Please tell me you’ve been there. 

Just like that, our day went from lazy Sunday to the END TIMES if you know what I mean. While my husband and I retreated to our bedroom to try and get on the same page, I could hear my kids arguing in the other room.

The tension in our house was thick. And these are the moments, I am weakest. I feel most inadequate in every area of my life when I feel most human. And in those moments, I feel like one big failure. I tried to tell myself that this was normal.

But even that reminder can fall short on the bad days.

We said our “sorry’s.” Again.  Because it’s still the only way to start over even as the sun is setting. But we just couldn’t seem to get along or get it right.

I wanted the day to end because sometimes it feels like you can’t wait for those new mercies in the morning. I just needed them now.

Everyone was scattered-reading and doing their own thing and I longed to have a do-over and I’m not just talking about my hair.

“Can we just pray together?” I asked my husband with tears right on the edge of spilling over. And what I really meant was can my family just pray with me, for me?

We piled up on our bed, too many legs and arms and too little space and we held hands. It was an awkward Little House on the Prairie moment for sure. But no one pulled away or complained. Our kids could feel the tension and they wanted a do-over as much as we did.

Our youngest asked if she could pray first. Bless her. And then my husband led us in a simple prayer. I couldn’t hold my tears then because this is what I needed. Just knowing we are in this together and although we fight together, we love together.

My teen daughter rubbed my hand when she saw my tears and whispered, “It’s okay, Mom.” I nodded.

Because now it was.

So, what do we do with those bad days? We let them go. And we start new, not with perfection in mind, but forgiveness and love.

And we decide the color Espresso isn’t so bad after all.


  1. 1


    I have tears in my eyes because I CAN relate… and I have been there…
    And darn it if you haven’t made me want to dye my hair. But– perhaps I will not start the process at 10pm? :)
    Thank you for the wisdom, and the laughter.

    And even for the tears.

  2. 3


    Yes, I can relate. I had a similar day on Friday but I ran to my husband and snarled, “PRAY FOR ME” like Darth Vader. We were restored with our girls by the end of the day, and I was so grateful for forgiveness. Thanks for sharing.

  3. 5


    This post speaks volumes to me. Sometimes it feels like the bad days or moments are just So. Huge. and I have a rough time moving past them. Even the little things
    And the more little things that happen, the bigger they seem. Everything seems like such a roller coaster right now. I want to print this out though and put it in my planner so I’ll see it every day as a reminder!

  4. 6

    Kim B. in az says

    In a word yes. This post is so encouraging. Just knowing I am not the only one helps. Thanks for being transparent. Oh, by the way last thursday was one of those kind of days for me.

  5. 9

    Amy Elgin says

    We have lived this sooo many times. When you just know that we are all a mess and you just hold on to Jesus and wait for easier breaths, easier smiles, a new day, even a new minute.

  6. 11


    Oh, I think we’ve all been there.

    Thank you for sharing your heart this morning, and for reminding us that we are all in the same boat. We need grace in this parenting journey…so, so much…but before that, we need confession….and to extend and accept forgiveness.

    Such good thoughts this morning!

  7. 12

    AmberK says

    Ooooh, KRISTEN!!! STOP MAKING ME CRY ALLLLLL THEEE TIMMEEEEE, GIRL!!! LOL…whew, so needed that this morning as we ARE having THAT kind of morning. My heart was so sad and now I feel better. I just want the work day to be over and the school day to be over and for our family to be together around dinner this evening. Just what my heart needed, thank you so much.

  8. 13


    Amen. I think most of the time we feel like total failures and our kids still think we are awesome – what a blessing. Life is hard. Thank you for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly because we’ve all been there. Thankful for new mercies everyday.

  9. 14


    I’m pregnant and hormonal and totally just cried at my desk reading this. It’s so nice knowing that when things get out of hand and you cant seem to get a grasp on anything, much less yourself, tomorrow is a new day, His mercies are renewed, and we are not alone! Thank you for this!

  10. 16

    Robyn Chilcoat says

    With tears in my eyes I tell you I have been there, sometimes more often than I would like to be. I love do overs, the power of prayer, and the unconditional love of family.

  11. 17

    Jan says

    Bonus level tantrums and needing new mercies NOW? Oh yeah, I get it, I understand exactly what you’re saying. I love this and the reminder that a bad day is not a bad life. Thank you.

  12. 18

    Joyce says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I just started following your blog yesterday. God knew what I needed today. His mercies are new every day.

  13. 19

    Linsay says

    Are you sure you didn’t come over to my house and write my story? We had this SAME day yesterday and I am so thankful for new days and new grace. You my friend are NOT alone :)

  14. 20

    kelly says

    yep…been there..done that…except the pray together as a family..haven’t gotten everyone on board with that…i think because the hubby never went to church or had religion OF ANY KIND growing up..and well in MY family we just didn’t do those things…prayers were for private moments..not to be shared…especially when you are venerable. I am not one to put myself out there either so, i just sit and pray for ALL of us and hope we can come back together and have a do over together.

  15. 21

    Amy T says

    as another mama to 3, just a couple years behind you, I can so relate. thanks for sharing, and letting us in to your normal, so that we can remember that we are normal too.

  16. 22


    Yes to do-overs and family prayer! My own experience is that sometimes I’m the one in need of a time-out, not my kiddo. Time to step away from the chaos and go to prayer. Sometimes that hard- I’m so mad/discouraged/frustrated that I don’t want to pray and I tell God that and we sort through it and talk and sometimes I have to stay in time-out for awhile to get over it. 😉
    So glad God meets us right in the middle of our big hot mess and that He uses those moments to not only teach us but to be a real model to our children of a life that seeks hard after Him.
    Thanks for writing this.

  17. 23


    Yep…like most of the other commenters, I’ve got tears in my eyes cuz I can relate, too. Loving your family even when you fight is a stronger love than one that never has any disagreements, if you ask me. (No disagreements = a very shallow life.) I know *I* often struggle with hating my own human-ness…I’m very glad you’ve shared you often feel the same!

  18. 24

    Erin says

    Ah, yes, the do-over dream…I so wish we had that magic button! Anyway, glad you all recovered your equilibrium. And, as for coloring your own hair, Espresso is a lovely color and the next time you do it, grab yourself a bottle of something called “Neutral Protein Filler” from Sally’s Beauty, put it on before you color, and it will keep your color from grabbing. (Yes, this is the voice of hard-won experience here!)

  19. 25


    I had a bad day today, too, but no one to pray with me.. So I prayed for myself and cried. I know tomorrow will be better. Life is just crap sometimes. I don’t know how people without God do it. He is my only strength.

  20. 26


    I did that once…colored my hair on a Saturday night. NEVER AGAIN!!! It was awful. I was foolishly watching a great movie with my friend and left the color in too long. I had orange/white streaks….they were suppose to be highlights. We tried shopping at the 24 hour grocery store and getting a color to cover. It didn’t work. I had to lead worship in the morning…standing in front of the church…complete humiliation. Learned my lesson…never again doing that. Ain’t nobody got time for that! :)

  21. 28


    ABSOLUTELY. LOVE. THIS. As a mom of seven sometimes it seemed like these kinds days outnumbered the calm. blissful days ten to one. Who am I kidding? When all seven were still at home calm and blissful days weren’t even on my radar. ; a day of organized chaos was the norm. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Thanks for your encouragement and for sharing your heart.
    This is exactly what what moms need to hear!


  22. 29

    Kitty says

    Your words reach me, really reach my heart, time and again. I sit at my office desk and read your post as it shows up in my morning email and i think ‘Thank you Lord for her – this women who shares her heart.” Time and again I am touched by you words and your realness. Your imperfections only make me relate to you more. Just want you to know that what you do makes a difference and you are appreciated.

  23. 30

    Joanne Peterson says

    The comment of when we are having a bad day, we are only having a bad day, we are not having a bad life was what I needed to hear so badly, for the last year.

  24. 31

    Stephanie Thompson says

    Thank you so much for your words… its truly enlightening to know its okay to have a bad day. Prayer and forgiveness is what we all need in our human lives because we are human and we will stumble and fall…

  25. 32


    I simply love your blog. I love how real and honest you are. Even in the bad days.
    Never lose your voice. You’ve been such an encouragement to me over the past year.
    Thank you. Keep looking up to the one who loves you most.

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