How do you actively game when married with children? I wrote a brief history of my gaming (here), so it’s impact on my life is apparent, but there’s no doubt I struggle to game like I used to. Even though like so many things certain things in life repeat like the changes of the season, my entire gaming life has also shifted. As I reflect on my own currency I still find myself wondering how other people with families, work, and a full life have the TIME to game. The answer to that doesn’t really matter. Everyone has their own story, but as a working parent how do you make your favorite pastime work while not alienating your spouse and family?
From Then to Now
Prior to the extra dragon and husband I played a lot of multiplayer shooter games. Gears of War (my cars name is Marcus Fenix) and COD were my favorite pastimes entertaining my insomnia. Now the daily requirement of playing just doesn’t seem plausible. Between work, the dragons, and my husband there just isn’t enough hours in the day. Plus multiplayer games peak hours are between 8 and 2-3 a.m. I have a 10 o’clock bedtime and 5:30 rise time. 5:30 is when I used to stop playing!
There is a resolve to this and partially why RPG’s have become an even bigger source of joy in my life. When you have time constraints or otherwise there’s comfort in returning to something you are comfortable and familiar with. Currently I’m revisiting the Mass Effect series which I used to do once a year. It’s been several years at this point and I blew through the first game. Meanwhile I have a pile of new unplayed games just waiting for me.
When I start playing a game I get lost in it and kind of check out of the rest of the world. The story tends to consume me and it triggers my compulsive desires to complete it in it’s entirety. When I get lost and absorbed now I forget what’s going on around me, then I’m consumed with guilt. At least with running I feel like I’m doing something for my physical and mental health.
Gaming Is Good!
So basically I struggle with time and guilt and I’m sure it’s the same with other parents. When I do have time it seems like the wrong thing to be doing with my time. My kids are gamers and so is my husband so they never make me feel guilty. This problem is in my head. Is it the same for you? The truth is gaming is actually a great outlet for a lot of reasons:
- It’s a phenomenal stress reliever. Be a hero or a villain, crash cars, and shoot some things up. I’m not doing this in real life and I feel much better after I’ve played.
- It’s a healthy outlet to absorb my compulsive issues.
- It is a great way to escape from reality for a short bit and you know maybe save the galaxy or save a village from monsters.
- It’s actually fantastic for dexterity and forcing you to have quick reaction time.
- It enhances my problem solving skills.
- The gaming community can be amazing. I’ve made so many friends over the years through gaming, some that have become very close friends.
- IT’S FUN!
These are also all great reasons to LET YOUR KIDS play video games. No, they shouldn’t be playing all day and night, but gaming can be a great community for kids to meet like minded friends. And just like in real life it’s important to monitor that virtual world as well. Play with your kids, your spouse or your friends. It’s a great way to bond together and have family time.
Make Time For Yourself
So DON’T LOSE THAT PASSION. Just adapt your game playing. Do what works for you and your current lifestyle. I still only buy one or two games a year, but even then it might take me that long to get to them. Also, while my husband and dragons all game none of us play much of the same games. We all have our own tastes and preferences and they don’t often cross paths so participating together isn’t always an option either.
But I will make it work. It will be a challenge while the one that will probably rectify itself after the littlest toddler dragon gets older and the teen dragons as well. With summer here the plan is to be outside more, but maybe try to get a few “new” stories in my life too. I still have R2D2 and Far Cry 5 to conquer as well and finishing GTA5!