My Dreams Are Usually Not Tools of Revelation, But Sometimes They Are

After a rough day, I finally headed off to bed.  The dreams eagerly entered my mind, taking me away from reality.  They were fun.  At first.  Then they gradually turned into a haunting scene ripped from the headlines.

I head out on an overnight trip with Ben.  We leave Andrew and Emily in the van and take the car.  We don’t think anything of it until we come back.

When we arrive, Emily is gone and Andrew is sleeping.  Ben is slightly worried that we don’t see Emily, but I tell him to not worry about it.  Besides, I am too happy from our trip to worry.  I take Andrew out.  He’s a  little cold, but okay.  I finally begin looking for Emily.

A sweet lady from our congregation comes out onto her porch and tells us that she has Emily.  “Don’t worry! I saw her and brought her inside.  She is such a doll!”

I finally wake myself up.  I lie in bed with my heart pounding.  I go check on Emily.  She’s sleeping in one of her many wild positions.  I smile through the hurt.  I grab Andrew from his crib and snuggle his little body.  Breathing in his sweetness and innocence.  I am angry with myself.  How could I do that to my children in my dream?  It is horrible!  Abandonment.  Carelessness.  Selfishness.  Abuse.  Things I only read about.  And I played them out in my dreams.

After realizing that sleep has fled, I go and get a drink.  I try to calm my rapidly beating heart.  I just can’t get those horrible images and feelings out of my mind.

I think about what this dream could mean.  I rarely analyze my dreams,  but my mind would not rest until I looked at it from every angle.  After a few minutes, the meaning becomes clear: I am too connected to the internet.  While I don’t literally abandon my children,  my thoughts are far from them.  I often put the computer with the e-mails, new posts, and tweets before my kids’ needs.

I think about how I can slow down and really engage with my children.  The brainstorming helps to soothe my anxiety.  It is still late, but I know sleep is far from my grasp.  So, I wake up Ben. With a shaky voice, I tell him fragments of my dream.  He wraps me in his arms and I finally drift off into a peaceful sleep.

The next morning was Friday.  I decided to reset my priorities. I wrote a quick post and turned off the computer.  That was the start of my blog break.  Or, as Kristen and Becca put it, my digital diet.  The break gave me the chance to get on the floor and play with my babies.  I tickled, they giggled; I read, they listened; I sang, they danced.  They were moments that are forever etched into my mind.  Rather than losing myself in the computer while they napped, I cleaned.  Our house was tidy, we were all happy.

At night time, I reviewed different ways to effectively balance.

Writing is something that I can’t avoid.  It provides relief and comfort from the daily stresses of parenting;  thus, I need it to relax me when the kids are sleeping.

At the same time,  reading each of your blogs infuses my soul with pieces of infinite wisdom.  Your inspiring posts encourage me to become a better person;  therefore, I need these interactions as well.

I could get up before the kids are awake in the morning.  Of course, that would mean waking up early.  Something I try to avoid.  Hey, my little guy doesn’t sleep through the night yet!

I could try using nap times to clean.  That way, when the evening comes, I can enjoy blogging and writing without too much angst.  I don’t have to worry about paying attention to my husband because he’s not here.  Ha!  Takes care of that guilt.

I have yet to receive a striking revelation. One thing is certain: I cannot let that dream become a reality.  Just thinking about it makes me want to cry.  And vomit.  It was too powerful to ignore.

Do you have any tips/advice on how to achieve a good balance in your life?  Please share.  I need it.


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24 responses to “My Dreams Are Usually Not Tools of Revelation, But Sometimes They Are

  1. This was a really great post Amber!
    I really really loathe when I have dreams like that. It really freaks me out and I hover over my kids the next day.

    And I too have had moment’s where I just need to walk away from the computer. Blogging as opened up many doors for me. Contact, friends, an outlet, and chance to write. But none of those things should come before my children.

    I still haven’t figured out how to create a balanced life. I often feel like I am swinging on a pendulum between extremes as I try and make it stop and hold steady.

    Still, I find that I have the ability to stay a little more balanced when I start the day off with a prayer. I know, you probably do everyday. Honestly, I often miss mine because I’m usually peeling myself off the bed at the last minute to go get Savannah ready for school, then all the other kids wake up.

    It is something that is easily over-looked for me and yet makes the biggest difference, Especially when I pray specifically for help in the balance area. =)

    • Thank you, Serene!! I have NOT had time to pray in the morning. Not because time is limited, but because I haven’t made it a priority. Something so simple and so overlooked! I NEED to do that. Thank you again!

  2. I don’t know if there really is such thing as balance…but maybe just finding good ratios. I started waking up about an hour early before the kids really got up. It sucked at first, but I love the peace and quiet in the morning and it helps set a great tone for my day. It allows me to get centered; I can read my blogs; I can write a post.

  3. Dreams are powerful, so real it’s scary! I onetime dreamed that my husband had an affair and in real life I stayed mad at him for over a week for it. He kept telling me that it WAS a dream, MY dream…I told him that was just too bad, I was still angry that he had the audacity to do that in MY dream…poor hubby!

    • Oh my! I have had TONS of those dreams!! Sometimes the reality is so hard to ignore! This really made me smile, though. : )

  4. Right now Claira is sleeping and Emma and Becca are doing puzzles with each other. A couple years ago Becca was too young to play with Emma and things weren’t quite so simple as they (sometimes) are now. Some day your kids are going to entertain each other and you’ll have more spare time than you know what to do with. =)

    I had to cut down the number of blogs I read at one point. It was hard, but I focus now on the blogs that I feel connected to the author of. That way it’s not just learning and inspiration and uplifting, it’s friends as well. I’m all for killing multiple birds with one stone, as it were.

  5. Wow, you like wrote everything that has been on my mind lately… I love this post, and I honestly REALLY REALLY needed to hear it this morning. And because of you, I spent the morning on the floor with my kids, holding, tickling, and cuddling them. It’s a great feeling, and I really need to do more of it.
    I think once your little guy gets on a nap schedule so they both nap at the same time in the afternoon, I think will really help. That is my recharge time, every day.
    Good luck doing this! I know I for sure need luck doing it, but realizing I need to change is the first step, right? : )
    Gracias again.

  6. I have had very similar dreams Amber. And they Freak Me Out. But I don’t think it has anything to do with the internet. I think it’s just a common worry that at this time of our lives, with our babies the ages that they are, we fear we are not equipped to care for them. We are subconsciously feeling inadequate. I was having this dream a lot when Luke was learning to walk and he kept falling. Again when I was leaving him at school for the first days…

    Although I totally hear you on the on-line-too-much thing… don’t think that you are doing harm to your children by keeping connected. yes, we can spend MORE time with our kids when we’re not online… but it’s not detrimental to their health.

    I hope that makes you feel better! xoxo

  7. My youngest is 11, and I regularly tell my husband that if blogs had been popular 10 years ago I would have been in trouble. I read in the mornings before everything gets started, and again at night before bed.

    I almost never remember my dreams, and I wonder if that is a good thing. 😉

  8. It’s hard, because I feel like you have to do something for yourself during the day in order to maintain your sanity.

    I don’t have any advice… but I will say that I think it’s also necessary for kids to be able to be with themselves, and if you can sneak in some blog time while they’re entertaining themselves safely, that’s not a bad thing 🙂

  9. My heart raced when you described your dream. Wasn’t sure where you were going with it, but now I understand, I understand too much. Like you and so many others I have the same problems. I’m hyper-connected (look at me, spending Friday night reading blogs), and it does distract me, cause me to miss complete moments. I’ve been thinking about it a lot too since Becca and Krisent’s posts. I don’t have a solution, at least not one I’m ready to implement. But as I said when I commented on theirs, I have been willing to give up other things, tv is a great example. I watched all of 1 hour this week, so this replaces time that I would otherwise be sitting vegging in front of the tube. There is no magical balance answer, I don’t believe for one second there is. So we work at it, we experiment, we think about it, and we look for ways that help us do the best we can. And that’s okay!

  10. I have had many nights like that. It’s crazy how dreams can be so real. I am working on finding balance myself. I have to limit myself. I have to actually set a goal before I get on the computer to blog, surf, or otherwise. I have to decide what it is I’m going to do and set a time limit. My time with my kids is already very limited since I have a full-time job outside the home, so like you I feel guilty when I spend too much time on the computer. I do allow myself some time since it is our family journal so to speak, but if I don’t set limits I can become totally consumed. Another thing I am trying to work on when not on the computer is being present when I spend time with them. Like you I have a need to take pictures and get thoughts out of my head because otherwise they take over. I am learning to write things down to save them for another time. I’m sorry about your dream, but I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Once again, thanks for sharing!

  11. I just had a dream like that and had to get up and Google in the middle of the night to see what it all symbolized. Scary stuff, what our subconscious comes up with. Good for you for trying to make changes, trying to find the balance. I have no answers, but I’m right there with you in looking for them.

  12. Amber, not that we don’t all need some kind of bloggy diet, but dream-based anxiety about our kids is so normal. Fears of loss can fuel that, knowing that you have something you love too much to lose does that too.

    And I’ve also been thinking of getting up earlier to get my reading/writing done. It would mean changing a lifetime of being a night owl. We’ll see if it ever happens!

  13. I always marvel at the way some dreams stick to our bones, like this one obviously did for you. What makes us forget some dreams while we’re having them and hang on to some for years? Fascinating stuff.

    I am doing a good job of sticking to my Digital Diet and, although I still find myself looking at my laptop when I’m “supposed” to be doing something else, the balance I’ve imposed on myself does help. To everything, there is a season, I suppose.

  14. Good call. We all need to get on the floor with our kids more.

  15. ck

    I think we all (mom bloggers) struggle with this. and I think you’ll find your own way to make it work. I get up at 4:30 and write until 7 when my kids are out of bed, and then read a little during nap/quiet times (like now) and a little after everyone is in bed. And sometimes I don’t do any of it. I try to leave my routine flexible enough so that when we have rough nights (terrors and multiple calls out of bed from the girls) I sleep in past my writing time and just stay off the blog that day. Kind of rolling with it, you know?

  16. I feel this, too. I try to avoid computer time when all the kids are home, but I fall off the wagon all too often. The other day I realized I’ve added this huge time hobby into my life and tried to do it with all my other hobbies still in place. I realized I can’t read all the time and blog and leave no time for the kids. Instead of replacing my kid time, I have to let it replace other “things I like to do to relax” times. And cleaning time. I will always look for an excuse to replace that.

  17. I have the same trouble with balance – it’s interesting, I’ve seen this issue popping up on a few different blogs – we seem to all be asking these questions. I’m trying to put a time limit on my internet use – it enables but at the same time stifles and buries my actual writing…

    Great to see other people’s thoughts on this – it’s a tough one!


  18. I wish I had a good answer. I am struggling to find the balance with work and writing and my wife and my children and church calling. It’s a tough one. I’ve had some quiet impressions, though and I think I know what I need to do. I admire you for following the impressions you got.

  19. unabridgedgirl

    Definitely have received “striking revelation” before.

    And I really don’t have much advice, other than if you start to feel guilty, you start to feel like you’re spending too much time doing something – – then step away, take a break, a “diet” just like you’ve done.

  20. Just getting away from the computer is a huge breather for me. I don’t spend too much time online during the weekends, so I get that break.

    However, during my work deadline times, I often have to just clear my reader and start fresh with blogs. Another tactic I use is if a blog has 2+ updates, I read the most recent one only. I try not to feel too much guilt because there are only so many hours in the day, you know?

    I figure reading and commenting on one post is much better than reading three and rushing off to the next. Right?

  21. I find that some days I need this blogosphere more than others. So I, like ck, try to roll with it. But I am understanding that the writing is fast becoming non-negotiable. Whether it is published or not, whether it is just in the form of an email to my sister or a friend, I feel like I need to write something REAL every day. So no matter what, I fit that in. There are days I cannot breathe if I have not sat at my computer and typed out at least one clear, loud thought or emotion. Something more real than the real of my everyday chores.

    But the reading and commenting and tweeting and whatnot? You can only do so much. And sometimes it helps to remember that you do it because you LIKE it and not because of stats or traffic or any of that mumbo jumbo. But because you need to hear another voice out there. To get another view. To feel closer to a bloggy friend.

    Good luck, Amber.