Having it all – being a mom

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.

Taking Turns

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.

No Spouse

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.

Planning Ahead

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.

Comments

Having it all – being a mom — 11 Comments

  1. I have a single mom in my guild with a toddler; none of the rest of us have kids (afaik), but we're mostly a mature crowd who has babysat, have nephews/nieces, have friends with young kids, etc and are perfectly willing to let her talk (or rant) parenting stuff.

    Actually, some of my favorite ventrilo conversations lately have been saturday night, 11pm or so discussions about the various brands of household appliances and ways to do home improvements on a budget, or ways to babyproof a house, and why it's hysterical to have a microwave built UNDER the counter top cuz the kid races his cars around inside of it. Seriously. It makes me feel old, but hey, I enjoy it.

    If she misses a raid or has to leave early for some unforeseen child-related event, none of us hold it against her.

  2. We're not parents ourselves, but a majority of our raid core are. Ossifer Bear and Holy Terror- their kid is six. Initial V and the Ghost Hunter- three kids. Raid Array and Suicide Dotter- their baby is still young enough to be reliably asleep by raid time (though they know this will change) and one of the reasons they joined in the first place was that they knew they could no longer maintain the raid commitment in their old guild and needed a more family-friendly schedule.

    Everybody is as reliable as you can expect parents to be, nobody thinks of it as anything but the Order of Things. Supportive raiding guilds are you there, you just have to search a bit.

  3. Ha Great post. Me and my wife trade duties if im home in time to put my kid in bed its a good thing. we dont do bed time stories yet but hopefully when he gets older we will. Being a parent is about comprimise give and take. If one parent is selfish it will cause a strain on the relationship. BTW anyone else feel like after having a kid laundry is never caught up ? Doesn't help my wife and i both despise doing laundry.

  4. Thanks for this post. As someone who is planning to start a family soon, I realise that it's going to involve big cut backs with gaming, and that's fine. I used to have a couple in my guild who had two small children, and they played wow all the time – it made me a bit uneasy, like shouldn't they be spending time with the kids? I don't want to end up like that. It just made me think of Carla from The Guild! I'm sure we'll work it out :)

  5. My general rule (though I have broken it on occasion) is if the Twig is up, I'm not online.

  6. Awesome post! I've always been a little curious of parents who game.

    My old guild was almost exclusively composed of parents (being pretty much the only single and childless person, I could understand them, but not relate, so I felt like the strange one) and we had two extremes: the parents who played a maximum of 3 hours a week, and the parents who played 20 hours a day, every day.

    Those who seemed to cope best were the ones who planned their evenings on a schedule. Raiding for 2.5 hours on Tues, Weds, Sun, non-gaming dates nights on Friday and Saturday, and Monday/Thursday were free nights.

    Though, being a guild full of parents, everyone was understanding when someone had to cancel last minute due to a family emergency or suddenly go afk mid-boss fight because of baby aggro.

    Personally, I don't know how my gaming would fare if I had a child. I don't play much outside of my 12 hours raiding a week and I still feel like the game is stretching me too thin. If I actually had other people depending on me, I'd probably end up being a "3 hour a week" person.

  7. I lead an ICC 25 group with people from several different guilds. There are a lot of couples, individuals who are married, and individuals with children, married or otherwise. There are a few that I have to remind that family comes first and we've had to sit down and talk out of concern that they couldn't raid or that maybe WoW was getting in the way of something bigger and they should take a break. For others, I keep in touch throughout the week to know how life is going and if they'll be up for raiding. I always keep a backup list handy and I try to be encouraging if they can't make a raid night. Sometimes I have to consider finding a permanent replacement if the family schedule and the WoW schedule just aren't working out. I don't want anyone to sacrifice special moments in order to make a raid. And I also don't want 24 other people waiting every week because we have to replace a vital player.

    That said, I don't always like having couples in the raid. One or two is fine, but at one point, we had 4+ couples on raid night. That's 8 people minimum. And if we don't invite one, the other won't come. And if one screws up and I say something, the other one gets on my case. And if one is unhappy, neither show up. If there's drama, we all hear about it. And the worst, if one wins loot and then secretly passes it off to their loved one, it's not okay.

    I think it's great when couples can play WoW together and get along. I think raid leaders have a responsibility to recognize real people behind the avatar and be understanding of life and outside circumstances. However, I think couples, and parents, have a responsibility to try and minimize the disruption that their decisions can cause in a raid. Planning ahead, being flexible, being honest, and being patient mean a lot to any raid leader.

    Emmet and I raid together and I know that we've caused minor drama in the past – which is why we're careful now and why I'm cautious of how many couples I have in a raid.

  8. I really enjoyed this! It gave me some things to think about regarding balancing my gaming with my relationship with my wife, even though we don't have kids.

  9. This was very heartening for me. I love raiding but have pretty much come to the conclusion that Wrath is my last raiding expansion. Perhap I will manage to convince my other half that 2 nights a week where can look after bub on his own – I'm skeptical but I can try :P

    The only people with kids in our raid are men – we have a huge female population – at least 8 out of our 25 raiders will be women, but the only one who has kids has grown up kids so it isn't really the same.

    The achievement/minipet information was handy too – must make sure I finish that all off as soon as possible!

  10. I guess I was lucky then… I've raided with couples and none of this has ever happened. I think the real issue here is being mature. Would my boyfriend refuse a raid invite if I didn't get in? No. Would I refuse a raid invite if he didn't get in? No. That's just silly. It pissed me off when he decided to leave our guild and everyone said goodbye to me too. Hello, I'm a separate person and no, I'm not leaving, we're not tied together!