AT THE end of last week, I was woken in the early hours of the morning while I was in the middle of a dream.

I then had to get out of bed and help settle one of the kids. When I returned to bed, it took me a while to fall asleep again as I was intrigued by the dream, of which I had a vivid memory.

In my experience we are more likely to remember a dream if we have been woken in the middle of it, and on this night this was certainly the case.

I don’t think our dreams always have meaning in them, they may be a jumbled re-run of happenings during our day.

But I do believe dreams can be metaphors of our feelings too, so the images in them shouldn’t be interpreted literally.

A more useful approach is to ask ourselves what emotions we felt in a dream, rather than what happened or who was in it.

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In my dream I was in a medieval battle. I was some kind of peasant foot soldier, knee deep in mud, with fighting all around me.

A heavily armoured knight was charging straight at me, with one arm raised, preparing to strike me with a metal axe.

What I remember was I couldn’t move fast enough to run, as the mud was too deep and thick.

I was lightly armed, with only a wooden spear that I knew would be useless against the knight’s armour.

He galloped past me, however, and began to take out people around me.

I couldn’t see who they were in my dream, but I knew they were people I cared about and that I was responsible for their protection.

I wanted to unseat the knight, bring him down, stop him and protect the others, but I couldn’t.

There were too many people to defend, and I was hopelessly ill-equipped.

The knight retreated but then returned. It was at this moment I was woken.

My mind was too awake with the images of the dream and the emotions in it to allow me to quickly fall back to sleep.

I began to wonder what it was about.

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I wasn’t afraid in the dream as you might expect, but rather feeling useless in my attempts to stop the knight.

It was later in the morning, as I got up to prepare for the day, that I became aware of the dream’s meaning for me.

I’m home-schooling my three youngest children.

My wife, thankfully, has a full-time job, she’s an essential worker, so it’s up to me to do the daily home school tasks.

I will admit this has been a real challenge over the last couple of weeks, especially as I am also trying to do my own work at home.

That’s what I think my dream was about; feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, unable to do what I should be doing for those I’m responsible for, and failing them.

My unconscious mind is clearly into drama; I mean a medieval battle, seriously?

Yet the powerful emotions I felt in the dream are exactly those I have been feeling over the last couple of weeks.

I think up until that moment I hadn’t been so consciously aware of how I felt.

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During the last lockdown my wife was at home, and it was two children. It was a difficult time in many ways but we seemed to have a routine.

Now it’s just me at home and we also have my 11-year-old daughter with us.

If we add to this the fact I have a fraction of my wife’s computer knowledge, then the image of me as a hapless medieval peasant being overrun by a heavily clad knight doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all.

At first I thought the knight represented the teacher’s expectations which I am failing to meet.

But then I realised the knight doesn’t represent the school’s expectations, but my own. I had hoped I would cope better, do better for my kids, not let them down.

But I feel I have been failing them in this difficult time.

As I write, I am I preparing for another week of home learning, and can already sense the return of the knight.

But I hope that after reflecting on my feelings I am now ready for him.

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We often say to our kids, “Do your best and that’s what matters”, but sometimes we forget that lesson for ourselves.

So I am going to do what is possible and be happy with it. I know the teachers understand that, so I’m going to stop being so hard on myself.

What our kids need at this time, what we all need in fact, is love, nurture and lots of fun, and me rushing from child to child like a stressed chicken is the antithesis of that.

I already know that learning doesn’t just take place in a classroom or on a worksheet, and so I need to listen to my inner instinct.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way, which is why I have shared this.

There are so many pressures on so many of us just now, so let us all be kind to ourselves and understand that, whatever our circumstances, if we do what we can do, then that’s more than good enough.

That’s the way to defeat that metaphorical knight.

That’s the lesson I took from my dream anyway, and so I’m glad I was woken in the middle of it.