Pugnacious Priest inspired me to write this.
For those of you who are thinking of having kids, let me share a few thoughts with you.
Being a Mommy is different than being a Daddy
I’m sorry it just is.
The First Year
In the first year daddy’s just some guy who changes diapers. Mom has the boobs. Mom stays home for the first 2 months on leave. It’s all about Mom. That’s life.
After that, it can be closer to equal, if you work at it.
The Spouse Can Take Care of the Kid
A lot of guys with kids are able to play WoW uninterrupted because their non-playing wives deal with the kids. Well, that’s not going to happen if you’re a mom.
First of all, your husband probably plays. Right?
Ok, your husband doesn’t play. Is he really going to take care of the kid while you get your WoW fix, same as you did before? Do bath time and bed time stories every night? Yeah right!
Maybe some wives, married to those bozos referenced above, are willing to take on all the household responsibility while their husbands gallavant around in Azeroth without a change in play schedule, but you’re not likely to find a man who is that much of a pushover. Ladies whose husbands play WoW, you shouldn’t be that much of a pushover either. I mean, seriously.
And you don’t want to miss time with your kid. Don’t be a schmuck.
Having said that, it’s not like you have to wait until the precious critter is asleep every night. You and your spouse can take turns. If he plays, you can alternate raiding nights. If he doesn’t, he can take care of the kid if raid time starts a little before bedtime once or twice a week, and then he gets his away-time for table-top gaming, or poker night, or whatever on a different night or nights…
If your husband thinks it’s always his turn to do his activity (raiding or otherwise), get out the frying pan and brandish it menacingly at his head.
I’m not going to lie – going it alone will leave you with precious little time for WoW. I’m not saying it can’t be done – we have a single mom in our guild with a 3-year old, and she raids often and is one of our best DPS. But there will be no wiggle room on raid starts (they will have to be after the kid is in bed) and you’ll just have less free time for leisure in general as a single parent.
You’re Trapped Anyway – Might As Well Play
After the child starts sleeping (har har, it feels like forever doesn’t it?) you put her to bed and… there’s not much to do. Sure there’s laundry and all that other crap… but you can’t go out or anything. It’s WoW, TV, or a book. You get social interaction in WoW. I would say that for a parent WoW is sometimes a lifeline to people that you wouldn’t normally be able to talk to post-bedtime. The other parents will assure you that you will survive, that they’ve seen THAT much poop before too, etc.
Relating To Your Guild: Topics of Conversation
You may find that you connect with guild members you weren’t close with before, and at the same time you’re becoming a bit estranged from the college crowd. Totally normal. If you’re the only parent in your guild, you might feel a little frustrated that you don’t have seem to have anything in common with your guildmates anymore, and it may be time to move on.
Making The Most of Your In-Game Time
You’re going to have less time in-game… Weekend days are out. Maybe a quick instance during nap time, but otherwise, forget about the leisurely stretches of just sitting online waiting for stuff to happen.
You will find yourself using the calendar more and forums more, so that you can “set up” your in-game time ahead of time – so you waste no shred of your in-game time with tedious planning and arranging. Yes, I need to know exactly when the raid starts and when it ends. Yes, I get frightfully irritable when someone is late because my allotted game time is TICK TICKING AWAY. If your guild doesn’t plan well, and you don’t know whether you have a raid spot until you login on raid night, you might find that it’s a poor choice for you now.
Prioritize your game-time
If you want to have FUN you’re going to have to stick to the basics: getting gear, consumables, and other junk that you need to raid, instance, or whatever. Forget achievements, holiday events, and collecting mounts or minipets. You won’t have time to play all your alts. Find a toon. Stick to it. Maybe 2. Don’t try to handle more.
Congrats, You’re a CASUAL Now
Haha! Don’t get me wrong… I’m sure you still have your leet skillz, but …
You can only make 2-3 raids a week
“But, Cranky,” you say. ”You just freakin said I was trapped at home every night.”
True. You are. And while you raid 2-3 nights a week, you need the other nights to raid prep. You will need to grind your rep, and get your cash, blah blah. The stuff you currently do in “off-times” now has to be done in your limited “prime-time post-kid bed” slot formerly reserved for raids.
And by the way, this assumes your kid is sleeping through the night. If you’re not at that point yet, you’re not raiding more than one night a week. Even then, you’re probably not that coherent or good.
You Still Won’t Have Time to Farm the Good Stuff
Good luck min/maxing now. Farming rep for those enchants, finishing up trade skills… I still am not exalted with Hodir on any toon. My cooking is at zero. My fishing is at zero. My priest was my main in WOTLK until recently, and her tailoring is still not maxed (435, if memory serves).
You will have to cancel
You will have to cancel a lot more. Sometimes you’ll know in advance, and sometimes you won’t. But you will have to cancel on events that you absolutely thought you’d be able to make. This may mean you need to change guilds.
Example: Kid is sick. But you knew that already. You stay home from work and call the pediatrician. Guess what? It’s flu season and all appointments for the day are booked. The only appointments left are at the after hours clinic, after 8pm. Even though you were totally on top of the situation, you’re sitting in the clinic at 8pm wishing you were in Azeroth, while your kid hacks green snot on you, and is extra-special cranky because it’s past bedtime.
In Conclusion (TL;DR)
You can play, and be successful. You don’t have to quit raiding. But your gaming experience may change quite a bit, depending on what it’s like currently.