With three children running around our household, things can get a little complicated when it comes to pursuing our passion for gaming. In fact, some days playing World of Warcraft, our game of choice, gets put off to the point that we never get to play at all. This is a big change from the days when my wife and I both spent hours bringing honor to the Horde and defeating the dastardly Alliance.
Looking at this last paragraph, it is easy to say that our children have brought an end to our love of gaming. In fact, we have had plenty of people point out that this is exactly what is supposed to happen because parents certainly can't have any interests outside their children! Especially if that interest happens to be gaming, surely the evilest of past times if there ever was one. One friend even had the audacity to call my wife a Âterrible motherÂ because she continued to play games after having our children.
However, despite our limited time and those naysayers, we still manage to find time to pursue our gaming passion. We have just found a balance that allows us to enjoy gaming, while still being great parents to our children. Not sure how this can be accomplished? Here are five tips to make playing World of Warcraft, without being a totally crappy parent, possible:
Be Available Â No Matter What
One of the things I love about gaming is it takes me out of the real world and lets me escape for awhile. While this is ideal for relaxing, it isn't always great when it comes to children. This is especially if you don't want to end up on the news for neglect. Even if you don't get wrapped up in the extreme, it is still easy to feel pretty annoyed at the sometimes constant interruptions kids can provide.
So, in our house, we have a rule that we are always available for our kids. This means that we devote our attention to them when they need us. On the off chance we do get some game time in while they are involved in a favorite movie or a game of their own, we are always ready to drop everything at a moment's notice. If our daughter wants to tell us about her day at school or our sons want to show us the newest hairstyle they have created for the dog, we are ready and willing to listen. Remember, just because you are ÂhomeÂ doesn't mean you are really there for your kids.
As mentioned above, having kids usually means that you don't have a lot of time to devote to gaming. That doesnÂt mean that you can't still enjoy it, you just need to find a way to enjoy it differently. When it comes to World of Warcraft, we have become very casual players. This means we no longer log on for eight hours straight, pull all nighters, or even raid as much as we used to.
This doesn't mean we still aren't enjoying playing. Instead we take part in aspects of the game that we can make time for. Short instances, group quests, leveling characters, pet battles, are all things in the game we enjoy that we can leave at a moments notice. This also means we have had to find groups of people, usually other parents, who understand that AFKs happen and may happen often. By changing the way we played and the people we play with, we can still enjoy the game we love, within the current limitations we have.
I am not one for letting kids run amok in World of Warcraft. With that being said, I think that the game can be enjoyable for both parents and children when they play together. Let your kids create their own characters, or if they are very little, let them simply run around a jump through the world. It will bring joy to you and your children to share in the experience together. It also means we get to play the game we love, while sharing it with people we love. You just can't go wrong. Just remember, sharing in the gaming experience is great, but you should also take part in other activities as well. Moderation is key.
Take Advantage of Down Time
If you want to continue to game with an semblance of normalcy, you will need to take advantage of every spare second you can get. Play when the kids are with the grandparents, when they are down for their afternoon nap, and when they get old enough; while they are at school. While short, during these times you can game to your hearts content, without the guilt. Even better, is logging on after the kids have gone to sleep for the night. This is the perfect escape from reality, especially after a rough day.
Don't totally disregard all household
chores in order to game, don't forget to buy groceries, and don't
stay up so late you sleep through your alarm. However, don't hesitate
to take advantage of these kid-free opportunities. You can farm to
your hearts content, scour the Auction House, or maybe even take on a
full raid instance. Playing while the kids are gone will let you
game care free, with none of the parent guilt that tends to plague us
Ignore the Negativity
One thing I've found about becoming a (somewhat) responsible adult, is that gaming is frowned upon by many. In fact, in the adult world, it seems you can have any hobby you want; unless it is gaming. As soon as you reveal you take part in this past time, the negativity tends to roll in.
I been told I am wasting my time, rotting my brain, and (in the case of my wife) told we were bad parents. Never mind the fact the people who threw out these claims probably spend at least several hours a day tuning out in front of the television. That doesn't matter. Gaming has a black mark on it and many people will not hesitate to tell you how you shouldn't be doing it.
Ignoring these people is imperative. Never be sorry for doing something you enjoy. Escaping into the world of gaming is no different than watching TV, reading a book, or spending hours taking part in other hobbies like stamp collecting, knitting, or painting. As long as you are being responsible, there is no reason you can't continue gaming, even after becoming a parent. Keep this mantra in mind, no matter what anyone else may tell you. Don't give up gaming if you love it, no matter what.
That wraps up my 5 tips to make playing WoW possible (without being a crappy parent) possible. Are you a parent who plays WoW? What are some tips and tricks you have learned through the years to keep your love of gaming alive? Share them with us in the comments section below!