Hey all. So by the time you read this my youngest child will be 2 months old. Life has gotten even more interesting now that the wife and I have 3 little boys running around. I thought now would be a good time to bring up some things that people without kids might not realize. From my experience most gamers are single, or at least don’t have kids. This article is aimed for you guys mostly. Being a parent is hard. Being a gamer while being a parent is harder. Your hobby takes a big hit and us parents need any support we can get. Below are a few things that would greatly help us parent gamers.
Kids take a lot of time and energy. That sentence doesn’t fully convey how bad it can get some days. My boys are four, two, and two months. They are very energetic and one of them has SPD which makes him more disagreeable than an average child his age. Throughout the week Melissa and I are working, taking care of the kids, and trying to keep it all together, but anyone who knows what they are talking about will tell you that all parents need some adult time (not that kind of adult time you dirty minded gamer, I’m talking about getting away from the kids and interacting with people who have to pay taxes). Parents treasure this time. Due to work I haven’t had a game night for a few weeks now and it is stressing me out. The point I’m trying to get at is that your friends who are also parents need you for emotional support.
When we had our first baby it was darn near impossible to get out and see our friends. Parents can’t travel nearly as easily as people without kids. Young children have to have their travel plans scheduled around naps, meals, and other factors. Our friends didn’t come around a whole lot and it became very rare when we’d see anyone outside of our next door neighbors or when I was at work. Kinda bums you out. After our second child and we moved back to our home town things got a bit better. Our game nights were held at our house from there on. It made everything so much easier. We could just put our kids to bed then play D&D in the kitchen. If something happens and one of our kids needed attention it took just a few minutes. If you have a parent in your group and it’s hard for them to come to game night, ask if it would help to hold it at their house. If we didn’t have game night at our house, I’d only make it maybe once a month and odds are the wife wouldn’t make it at all.
Now with Eli being here (my 2 month old) he needs a lot of attention. He needs to eat, be changed, be comforted, etc and this cycle happens every hour or two. Please be understanding when a parent needs to attend to their kids when you’re over. Game night is important to them but their kids are more important. These kids rely on their parents for everything. As kids get older they can be supervised less and less but when a parent is needed the parent will and should jump in and help the little ones out. Parents still want you around. Please don’t abandon them. I’m going off the assumption that everyone in your gaming group are friends. Don’t abandon your friends. Ask if there is something you can do to help. It doesn’t even need to be directly related to the child. Maybe you could come early and help them get the house put back together, or bring food so the parents can have a break from cooking supper for everyone. Anything is appreciated, and if you can’t think of anything just ask. Us parents always have a list of things we need to get caught up on. Since game night is at my house, my gamers usually show up around bed time for the older kids. While we’re tucking in the little ones my game group usually clear the table, load the dishwasher, pick up toys off the floor, etc. It helps get us into the RPG faster and is a really nice gesture.
A story I heard (read on the internet) a while back comes to mind. One person in a gaming group became a parent. He bowed out for a few weeks to help take care of the little one. Slowly the gamer started coming back to the meet ups. His schedule was pretty tight and he wouldn’t attend the whole session due to time constraints. Eventually some of the other players got tired of this (I guess the guy was their cleric or some other pivotal role within the group) and basically told him that he needed to choose either committing fully to game night or stop coming. I never found out what happened, but this is the worst thing you could do. I’m guessing as well that this guy was part of some sort of organized play and not a home game group, so mostly likely the group wasn’t close friends, but either way this is an incredibly dickish thing to do. Honestly if you can’t/won’t ask what would make things better or try to come to some sort of work around, then you are the problem, not the guy that needs to take care of his little ones.
Thanks for reading mates. If you can think of anything else that would help a gamer who is also a parent then please leave a comment. Peace out.