There is an old saying that goes something like this. “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”. For the purpose of this article I would like to modify it to, “don’t judge a gamer mom until you have attempted to play through a video game while watching her toddler”
Yes okay so it doesn’t really work, but what I am trying to say is that I had a lot of notions about things I would definitely never do when I became a mom (I was also way too optimistic about the amount of game time I would be able to fit in). Here are 5 things I swore I would never do as a mom, that I have ended up doing anyway.
1. Going AFK in a dungeon or raid
Back in The Burning Crusade when I was hardcore raiding, we had a guildie who was the father of 2 kids. The amount of times he was late for raids or suddenly disappeared in the middle of a fight was frustratingly high and had he not been a genuinely awesome person and had we not been in desperate need of warlocks he would have been kicked from the guild within a week. (But he was and we were….)
At the time though I swore I would never do the same to any gamer out there and that the dad of my kid and I would sort out rotations for who could have uninterrupted game time (and as such get to do group content) and who were on consolation duty. Things just doesn’t always work out the way you plan and sometimes only mommy have the superpowers to get a baby or toddler to go back to sleep.
Look, I am sorry, but I have a level 100 screaming machine and it has unlimited battery power. If I am to have any chance of hearing the raid leader scream “Throw more dots” or “Don’t stand in the fire” I will need to go and calm her down. I will be back in about 10 minutes I promise! (That is of course unless I fall asleep snuggled up against my daughter).
I know, I know… I would have sworn my mobile phone would never even enter the bathroom, but when you are short enough on time any reprieve, however short must be used. There are Hearthstone matches to play and gaming news to read up on.
And realistically the number of times you actually end up playing or reading anything while on the toilet is limited anyways. Mostly you will have a tiny troll insisting on joining you, then repeatedly proclaim: Mommy smells, mommy smells, mommy smells. Sigh….
3. Play games while your kid watches a video
This is actually one of the things on the list that bothers me the most. I was a very idealistic soon to be parent that wanted no screen time for my kid until at least 2 years old and after that limited time and ONLY if accompanied by an adult that shared the experience. I did quite well on the first part, although I will admit that she did watch a bit of video a couple of times while traveling between Denmark and Sweden even before turning 2.
The second part I still hold as an ideal, but I must admit that the concept of sharing is being stretched a bit, especially when she requests to watch Winnie the Pooh’s Halloween movie for the 35th time.
I may sometimes go a bit on auto-pilot while commenting on the plot, especially when I am getting attacked in Elder Scrolls Online or trying to answer a work email on the other screen.
On the bright side, I am appreciating dual screening more and more every day!
4. Take vacation for a game release (and send kid to kindergarten)
I want to start this point out by apologizing to every mom out there that I ever judged. Yes I admit it. Before I had a child was one of those people who would think something like: “Well if you don’t want to spend time with your kid, maybe you shouldn’t have had one to begin with” and “Poor kid is the first to get dropped off and last to get picked up. Why aren’t his parents prioritizing him more”. I am sorry okay, truly and deeply sorry!
I love my kid and I think she is funny as hell (and clever, and smart, and beautiful and…), but spending time with her is intense. As in energy sucking, bonemarrowingly tiring, insanely intense. And I don’t get ANY me time. Nada, zip, zero. She gets 100% of my attention when she is around and that is how it should be. (well apart from when we are watching a video “together”….)
But once in a while to stay sane and to also preserve the me that is not a drool and snot covered, book-reading, doll-playing mommy-monster I need to focus a bit of time on my hobbies. I need to game a bit. And when a new game that I am excited about is released I will on occasion (it has happened once, but I will do it again someday dammit!!) take a day off from work and still (GASP THE HORROR) drop my kid off at kindergarten.
I will then return home, put on my jogging pants, stock up on candy and chocolate milk and spend the entire day in front of my computer. And I will enjoy the hell out of, just for a couple of hours returning full throttle to my previous glorious geeky self. (I will still feel a tinge of bad conscious though and I am sure I am not the only mom out there who follows me on this).
5. Survive on 5 hours of sleep a night for years
Wake up at 5:30
Dress self, dress child
Sort breakfast, eat breakfast, clear the table
Brush own teeth, catch child and brush their teeth
Shoes on, jacket on, SHIT IT IS RAINING, shoes off, jacket off, rain boots and clothes on
Bike to kindergarten, drop off child
Get to work, work, work, work
Pick up kid, grocery shopping, YES NO MELTDOWN!
Make dinner, eat dinner, WASH YOUR HANDS FIRST
Clear table, do dishes
Play with kid
Pajamas on, I WANT THE ONE WITH THE CAT, pajamas off, other pajamas on
Read book, tuck in, I AM THIRSTY, sing lullaby, I NEED TO PEE, good night kiss
Pay bills and sort paperwork,
No wait, I also want to hang with my boyfriend <3
There simply are not enough hours in the day to fit in some proper gaming unless you cut down somewhere. And the only actual place to cut is in the ZzzZZZ-time.
Thus, since my daughter was born, it has been a rare night where I got much more than 6 hours and 5 is probably a lot more common.
I know it is not good for me and I do attempt to get more sleep these days, but.. So many games, so little time!
I have a feeling many gamer moms (and dads?) will be able to relate to this list, but it would be fun to hear if you have anything to add. What are you doing now after having had your baby, that you thought inconceivable before he or she arrived?