Four Ways Having A Child Has Changed The Way I Game

When I was pregnant with Liam, I was blissfully unaware of just how much of my time would no longer be my own. Not this time, though! I may have forgotten a lot about pregnancy, but when it comes to those first few months, I am acutely aware of how much they can suck. In fact, the presence of a small human being who relies on me to ensure he doesn’t get eaten by wolves or whatever has drastically changed the way I play.

No More Raiding With Husband

Once everything settled down into some sort of semblance of a routine, Disconcur and I thought we would be totally fine to raid together on the same team once again. Ha ha ha, silly us! We got to enjoy a few weeks of raiding bliss before our little one decided that waking right in the middle of raid would be a fabulous idea. Bonus points if it was in the middle of a progression fight! Unfortunately for us, and our raid team, it could take up to half an hour to get our bundle of joy back to sleep, which would completely kill any mojo the raid had going.

As Guild Master at the time, I knew that one of us had to step aside to tank Liam IRL in order for the other to raid unhindered. I haven’t raided at that level since.

Grim Batol Tragedy

No More Day Play

Now that Liam is older, he can understand what is happening on our screens. Just a few days ago he was sitting with my husband watching him play WildStar and he grew particularly attached to a certain NPC. I won’t mention names so that I don’t spoil it for anyone, but things don’t end particularly well for this character and my son was absolutely devastated. Seriously, there were tears and all.

My husband felt like a piece of dirt for accidentally upsetting him, and I went all, “This is why we have a ratings system for media, Disconcur! WildStar is not World of Warcraft; you’ve never done this content before and have no idea what is going to happen next. Wait until he’s in bed to play, dammit!”

Unless you’re playing Club Penguin or Animal Jam, chances are your kid is going to see something that isn’t really appropriate for their age, so it’s probably best to save game time for when they’re not around.

My face as I ripped Disco a new one about making Liam cry

My face as I ripped Disco a new one about making Liam cry

No More Late Night Gaming Sessions

With no more day play, you might be thinking that we just simply play later into the night. Nope. Sleep is a wonderful, beautiful thing and without it life is awful. As much as my husband may have been able to chug down the coffees and Red Bulls in the earlier years of Liam’s existence, I have never been able to do such things. The few times I did try this when he was a toddler ended in a kitchen covered in flour or the entirety of my wardrobe pulled out into the hallway.

Parenting is already an exhausting endeavour without adding minimal sleep into the equation. I may be enjoying WildStar, but I like being awake and alert in the morning much more.

"Time to cause some trouble!"

“Time to cause some trouble!”

Basically, Interruption Free Gaming is a Thing of the Past

Whether they are crying, whining, on your lap trying to ‘play’ or have found a way to turn off your computer mid instance, children know just how to interrupt your gaming flow. And that’s the way it should be. When you make a choice to bring a kid into the world, you’re agreeing that you will make sacrifices to ensure that they grow up into decent human beings. Video games included.

I was a terrible parent for a while there and I used to set my son up with some TV while I would make pixels to sell on the Auction House. He was quiet, I was engrossed. One hour was never just one hour, though, and everything suffered because of it. The housework, my relationship with my husband, my son’s development, and even my career prospects went down the toilet because I just HAD to play some World of Warcraft. Silly Neri, you’re doing it wrong! Kid > video game. Always.

A little bit of game time here and there is super important to your sanity, but the days of interruption free gaming are long gone now that you have a spawn to take care of.

"I just don't see what all the fuss is about?"

“I just don’t see what all the fuss is about?”

TL;DR Version

To summarise my wall of text, having a child has changed me from a hard-core MMO gamer who spent hours upon hours each day engrossed in a game, to a super casual player who might be lucky to rack up 5 hours a WEEK of game time and isn’t even geared enough for LFR. Do I miss raiding five times a week and rolling around in bucket loads of gold? Sometimes. Would I change having children in order to get those days back? Nah. Liam has brought so much more enjoyment into my life than any avatar ever has.

How has having children impacted on your gaming habits? I would love to hear your stories, so please leave a comment below.

Nicole

Nicole -- AKA Neri -- is a wife, mother of one (soon to be two), avid gamer, fashion disaster and wanna-be writer.

Latest posts by Nicole (see all)

  • http://aspectofthephoenix.blogspot.co.uk/ Aeovara

    I am super glad I came across your blog. I am currently 35 weeks
    pregnant with my first child (a little boy) and I am beyond excited to
    meet him and begin the life of parenthood. I haven’t been gaming for the
    past year due to finishing my university degree and then early
    pregnancy symptoms… you know what I mean… I just couldn’t face
    sitting infront of a computer! Anyway, about a month ago, I found I had a
    lot of time to kill and got back into WoW, started a new character,
    having a blast and my only concern babywise is getting his stuff washed
    and nursery set up. I’ve had plenty of time to play and I even started
    up a small blog because I’ve always wanted one but it will most likely
    get left behind. I thought when I have a baby I will more than likely not have any time to update it, so a months worth of blogging I suppose
    is enough to tick that off the things to do before I die list. :P Before
    reading your post though, I thought I would have time for some casual
    gaming when the baby is younger, as yes I don’t want him to start
    getting upset like your little Liam when he’s old enough to pick up on
    things. But then I’ve never been a parent before, people tell me how
    hard it is and I’m up for the challenge, I’ve always dreamed of having
    children and now my time is almost here I am going to enjoy it while I
    can. Thanks for the eye opener though, I really thought I would be able
    to get in some game time, I guess not. After playing WoW for so many
    years maybe it’s time to let go, but hey I can see how it goes! So I’ll
    just have to enjoy these last few weeks before the arrival just incase!

    Do you know what you’re having this time around? And how far gone are you? :)

    • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

      Things will eventually settle down and you should find yourself with a few hours here and there to play, and it’s good to still have that quiet unwind time! The biggest problem we had with our son was that for the first two years of his life he was an AWFUL sleeper. Nap time (Prime mama gaming time!) was incredibly hit and miss, it would sometimes take over an hour to get him to sleep at night, and even then it wasn’t a solid sleep. I’ve read articles that say bub should start to develop a sleeping routine by 3 months, but not my boy. He had to be all hipster and fight the system for two years :P

      Nowadays he’s in bed asleep by 7.30 so we do have a bit more time to play, and probably could start raiding together again (Liam is 5 now, but he was 8 months old or something when I quit raiding), I just find that — especially in my current state — by that time of night I am so brain drained that I can’t do anything more stressful than level a lowbie :P I am sure that your little one will be a much better sleeper, and once those few months of newborn chaos are behind you, you’ll be able to continue with your adventures in WoW!

      Not long to go for you now! Congratulations! I’m just shy of 32 weeks myself. So far baby has been all modest and just will not show us the goods, so we’re still in the dark about what we’re having at this stage. I have an ultrasound booked for next week so hopefully we’ll know more.

      You totally need to share your blog address with me so I can have a read :)

      • Aeovara

        I’ve realised since making the blog that it was probably a bad idea because I can’t update if I don’t have anything to write about, and I don’t have anything to write about if I don’t play. I feel much calmer knowing the blog isn’t there waiting for me. So it was a spur of the moment thing, now deleted, before thinking about it stresses me out. Can I blame the pregnancy for the sudden mood changes towards blogging lol?

        I went to an antenatal class this evening and realised even more that sleep time for mama is very precious! I’m really looking forward to it though and actually when I think about when I returned to WoW a month ago, it was to play casually and cover all other aspects of the game that I didn’t really do in the 4 years I was a hardcore raider. Things like go for Loremaster, do some pet battles, do some random bgs… all solo content really as I didn’t want to get tied down with people relying on me. So all in all, I think I could be in a good situation in the sense that if I want some gaming time, I can log and do what I please, but if baby needs me I can easily come away.

        Ooooh that was always my worry when I went for the 20 week scan that he would be hiding! I do think I would like to find out the gender of my second if it ever happens but if I was in your situation I wouldnt feel as strongly about it than if it was my first, maybe a suprise second time would be nice! But I was just desperate to know for this one. But I hope the next ultrasound goes well for you! Fingers crossed (but legs not ;) hehe)

        • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

          Haha, why not? I blame pregnancy on pretty much everything :P In all seriousness though, the only reason why having a blog that you’re not updating would be a bad idea would be if you had a massive audience and were monetising it. If you’re just writing for the sheer love of it, then it doesn’t matter if you post once a week or once every three years! It will always be there to remind you of the awesome fun times you had in the game :)

          /end unsolicited advice lol

          Oh, for sure! If you’re doing casual solo play then you can definitely find times to play. It’s only the group content — especially if it’s a regular team and not LFR — where parenting becomes an issue. With queue times being the way they were when I last played end game stuff, nap time would probably be over by the time the dungeon popped anyhow :P

          Haha, you know I am sorely tempted not to find out! My biggest reasoning for wanting to know was to make it easier to pick out names and to stock up on clothing and nappies when they were on sale. I’m past doing all that now, so really I am only doing it to appease the extended family who have been nagging us NON STOP about the gender. The romantic in me would have no issues finding out on the big day. I mean, I’m going to love the baby regardless of it’s private parts.

  • Ashley

    This has to be one of my favourite reads. I have such a hard time explaining to my friends who play WoW with me, that parenting comes first. I completely agree with you, uninterrupted gaming time is a thing of the past with a little one lol. Everyone on WoW is always saying ” Play when your little one sleeps at night!, and I respond with ” I can’t, because I want to sleep too. ” People don’t understand until they have children of their own. I’m realizing that more and more now. Our daughter was the same, after we got into a good routine when she was about 3 months old and she was sleeping through the night I figured it would be good to make a return to our guild ( who I’m the GM of ) and raid again… then a month later, she decides to wake up in the middle of a fight. Lol. Because my husband worked away during the week, I was with her alone, so I eventually came to the conclusion that I won’t be the lead tank in our raid team any longer. I prefer sleep haha.

    • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

      I’ve found that the people who are most likely to say that are either childless or their significant other doesn’t play games. Using my husband as an example, he was able to raid until midnight our time simply because I was the one who picked up the slack. It also meant that on his days off I was the one who was getting up to Liam, since he desperately needed a sleep in from all those late nights!

      Ha! The joys of being GM! It’s very hard to be all selfish and make the team put up with your afks when you’re the one who will have to deal with all the grumbling from the raid leader, etc! :P

  • http://the.pyreflies.org/ Jessica

    I don’t have any kids because I don’t want to give up all of my gaming/blogging time. One day… but not today! :P Great post! Enjoyed reading it very much!

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

    • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

      Ha! Very good point! I bet 22 year old me would have needed a LOT more convincing to get knocked up had I known just how much of my life would be lost in those early years!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Syrco

    Thanks for writing this post! Very interesting read :) Hope everything is well with you and your family :D

    • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

      Thanks, Syrco! Everything is well at this end of the world. I hope it’s the same for you! :)

  • http://rijah.dk/ rijaH

    I went from somewhat hardcore gamer to no gaming at all. But I also had my beautyblog at the side whilst gaming, and I wanted to put more time into than the gaming, so now its just some ocassionally Hearthstone, boy was I happy when it got out on ipad ;) But I can only agree on what you are writing, would never change a thing of what have happened since my son came into the picture :)

    • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

      You make a really good point that I neglected to mention in my post: it’s even harder to find the right time to play if you have other hobbies as well! I wish my iPad would update so I could have a crack at the tablet version. It would be perfect for those nights where I want to veg on the couch.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  • http://autumn-star.com/blog Sammy

    I definitely went from being a hardcore gamer to almost no gaming at all whatsoever the first year or two that I had my daughter. I was playing WoW throughout my entire pregnancy, too, and a little tiny bit after I had her, as well. It all stopped after I moved out of the apartment I was living in with my ex boyfriend and I ended up taking a WoW break for 3 years (2008-2011). I played from 2011 until 2012, took a break and ALMOST made it a 2 year break until I got my laptop in November 2013 and started up playing again.

    I’m not sure how I juggle having hobbies such as reading, art, scrap booking, things like that one the side of playing WoW or any other game, too. I don’t have my daughter around because she is raised at my aunt and uncle’s house, so I do have time to myself (which I wish I hadn’t a lot of the time).

    • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

      Even now, with my eldest being in school, I have time where I -could- be playing games, but there is just so much other stuff that is more important to focus on first, and I seem to work at a snails pace so I run out of time. Juggling business with pleasure is always going to be a challenge, I think, whether our children are around us or not.

      Basically, I have come to the conclusion that sometimes, being a responsible adult sucks :P

  • Macnessa

    Ah yes…indeed, I only started going semi-hardcore once both my kids had started school. Hang in there, it gets easier!!

    • http://www.mamaneedsmana.com/ Neri

      I knew I would eventually find a downside to having my children so far apart! I don’t think I can deal with waiting another 5 years to get back into raiding. Ah, the sacrifices we make, eh?

      Thanks for stopping by! :)