Trying to be both a parent and a gamer can be very challenging.
Missing: 34 year old gamer
Last seen online: Sporadically.
It wasn’t that long ago that every night I relaxed in front of my PC screen or console and played without distraction for as long as I wanted, but it’s been 3 years now.
There has been the odd night set aside to stay up late and play with a few friends on some Portal multiplayer or some CSS, but nowadays it’s just an hour or two every now and then. I’ve been with my now wife for 15 years and she has been cool with my obsession, and my job isn’t that demanding that I can’t get time in. So what would cause a gamer who loves to game the inability to get some good game time in?
Three years ago I was lucky enough to become a father of a fantastic daughter, and then, as recently as four months ago, I had a son. These two are amazing and I would do anything for them, so as a gaming father there are huge responsibilities to maintain each and every day. I really want to be a great dad just like mine was to me. I like to think I do my share of the jobs around the house as well and make sure my wife gets her sleep when she needs it.
I really want to be there for my kids at all times, and the last thing I want to do is just plonk them in front of an iPad or TV while I game on. I’d rather be outside kicking the ball, riding bikes, or have them playing with their toys than have my kids glued to a screen (which seems to be an easy distraction these days for a lot of people).
So here is a list of things that currently are pretty much impossible to do whilst having kids:
No raiding – Sure, I can join the group knowing my kids are asleep, but if one of them wakes it’s like BRB/AFK, which holds the group up.
No headphone gaming – If I can’t hear the kids crying then I don’t know to settle them, so then the wife wakes up, which causes wife agro! (The worst type!)
No loud noises – This one is again related to above, but also we have a small house and you can hear a cotton ball bouncing on carpet from the other side of the house. This mainly causes wife agro more than the kids, as they can sleep through atomic bombs.
No all-night gaming sessions – I can actually do this, but I must be prepared to have a three-year-old run in at 6am, jumping on the bed yelling, “Wake up dad!” This one really needs wife permission, pre-approval that I can game all night and still get a sleep in while she looks after the kids
No games without pause – If I can’t pause the game when the kids cry then I can’t really get into it, because just like the raiding one above, you can guarantee that I’ll be high on the leaderboard in CS:GO or Black Ops MP and then have to leave mid game.
I love where my life is now, so this isn’t any sort of complaint. Just gone are the days where I can start playing a game and finish by tomorrow morning. Gone are the days when you can just sit down at any point of the day and pickup any device and play a game without someone saying “Dad, can I use the iPad?” or “Dad, can you play shops with me?”
I know things will change and the kids will soon be able to game with me (I can’t wait to smash them in Wii Tennis!) and then later they won’t want anything to do with me as teenagers, but until then it’s all for the kids.
- Ben "lotion" Hayes
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