There comes a time in most gamers’ lives when you welcome a newborn baby into the family. Naturally as a parent, you think that you’ll have to put gaming on the backburner. Well, you don’t.
At least, I didn’t. As most of you know I’ve been away for the last two months on maternity leave and even I thought that I’d have to give gaming a rest for a while once the baby was born. But when she arrived, I was surprised at how much time I had to just do whatever I felt like. Here’s the thing: babies sleep a lot. This gives you at least three hour increments between feedings for the first two weeks to jam some games, and after that, four hour increments. Which is in fact, a hell of a lot of time to play games and even occasionally do some other stuff. You know, stuff normal people do. Like watch some series and chores and… okay that’s all I got. I don’t actually know what people do with their time if they’re not playing games or watching series.
The biggest thing standing between you and playing games is you. Those misplaced feelings of guilt that you’re being a negligent parent by maybe committing an hour of your time to do something that you love. I don’t know why society has this attitude that if you’re committing time to video games, it’s automatically unacceptable. Especially if you’re a mom, because you’re supposed to be the “primary caregiver”. And how dare you have fun while your baby is sleeping?! Fun is bad. But if you spent that time doing something else, like being a couch potato just watching TV, or reading a book then that’s okay. I say to hell with that! Even though it’s frowned on by the average folk, I will play games guilt free when I have some spare time.
Don’t be fooled though, it won’t always be smooth sailing. Some babies, like mine will unfortunately have colic. Now I don’t know if you guys have heard the horror stories about colic babies, but for the most part, they are true. My oldest son was a colic baby and my fiancé and I as new parents had a freaking terrible time. Mostly because we were inexperienced, and had no idea how to deal with that. Luckily now that we’re older and wiser, we’re coping with it awesomely, and even baby is happy most of the time. When she’s not, it’s hushing and rocking and shushing for one, two hours at a time. Sometimes more. Needless to say, it’s not ideal when you’re looking forward to some downtime with your favourite game.
Babies also tend to have this sixth sense, where they would be sleeping peacefully, but as soon as you start up a game client, they wake up and start crying. And then they don’t stop until you’ve closed the client and walked away from your PC or console completely. As soon as you’ve done that, silence, and they go back to sleep. I guess this is could be them just trolling you. Who knows?
The ultimate “sin” of course is playing a game while you are holding the baby. And yes, it’s completely possible. For example, just last night I totally won a game in Dota 2 while holding the baby in one arm, and only playing the game with my mouse. That being said, she did sleep through the entire game. She was happy, I was happy, every body was happy. I’m sure many gaming parents have mastered the art of gaming and parenting simultaneously while either holding both the baby and the controller, or the baby and the mouse. This ladies and gents, is nothing to feel ashamed of, unless you actually are neglecting your kid. In which case, you shouldn’t really be having kids.
Before I start running the risk of this becoming TL;DR, I’ll finish off with this: If having a new baby in the house has taught me anything, it’s how to manage my time better and how to not feel like a failure as a parent just because I love playing video games. I haven’t given up games because of what people might think and neither should you.
Last Updated: June 19, 2013