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.
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.
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.
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.
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.