Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Adventures of Geek Dad: The Dynamic Duo

Greetings friends!

So on Tuesday I was reading over a message board where there was talk about how to be a father whilst being a gamer.

As you know this is something that I believe is very important as the two should not be mutually exclusive.

One thing I noticed however in a lot of people's comments was about how their gaming time was done during their 'me' time, and this was something that partially concerned me but also made me question a few things.

So what's the big deal here?

I am of course talking about how spare time is spent.

Let's start at the begining:

Birth and Newborns
So your child has arrived, you realise that overnight you have gone from having time to yourself to no time at all, how are you going to stay sane with this new addition to your family vying for attention?

First things first; the constantly crying newborn is a semi myth, instead assuming everything is good then your newborn child should sleep for long stretches of time.

This does not mean you feel comfortable leaving your kid alone for these hours however, and I know for the first couple of weeks I was not comfortable in doing this at all.

What this also does not mean is that you have to stop doing what you want to - within reason.

I remember during the first couple of weeks spending many an hour playing on a games console why the little Moo was fast asleep on my chest/shoulder.

Plus there was the good ol' trips to the coffee shop my wife and I would make on the weekends, the long walks with the pram sending the Moo into a deep sleep.

Then she got older, we're talking 1-6 months. She was no longer a newborn but not able to vocalise words or crawl properly.

During this time I would often watch many 'not-suitable for children' films like The Thing and Event Horizon during our late night feeds, however because of the age she had little to no interest in the television. Yes my computer bases video game time took a hit and instead I needed to focus more on time spent in a communal area like consoles and miniature gaming, but it was still possible especially when playing co-op games with the wife and I.

Next we move to the 6 months to a year.

At this stage we started getting the great long sleeps for roughly 12 hours from the evening to the next morning, it is at this point that I see things as 'getting our lives back'.

From 1900-0700 the Moo was fast asleep, I could paint or wargame, play on my computer, or more importantly; play MMOs and CoOp games with the wife.

Next up was 1 year to 2 years.

This phase had increased mobility for the youngling and with that comes new challenges, but utilising the skills learned previously there is nothing that can't be managed. We were fortunate and our hobby and gaming time was able to stretch for many hours a day.

2 Years to 2.5
This is where we currently are and the Moo has taken an interesting turn in her development; due to enhanced language and dexterity skills we can now to a lesser extent involve her in our gaming, allowing our game time to stretch beyond nap/sleep time and into awake time.

So that is where we currently are, but how was all this possible? I've covered in brief about how nap and sleep time can be used for gaming time, but there's more to it than that, isn't there?

I can't count the amount of times I've heard or read people say that their kid is asleep and they would love to play a game but their partner "won't let" them.

What's wrong with this statement? If you think that the person needs to grow some balls then you're wrong. The problem with the statement is that it is missing compromise and cooperation.

Compromise and cooperation, two of the most important parts (in my mind) to a relationship.

If your partner doesn't want you alone in your man-cave then there is usually a reason behind that.

Look at what your partner is doing during the day; are they at home alone with the kid? Have they not seem you all day long?

Maybe the reason they would rather you didn't hide away in your man-cave is because they've had no one to talk to all day, or maybe they would like to spend some time with the person that decided to have a child with them?

How often do you read/hear about people trying to do everything they can to NOT spend time with their partner? It makes me question why these people would want to start a family together. You often hear something like "I love them", but they don't want to spend time together? It makes no sense.

Ok, so you are spending time together, but they are not much of a gamer and you are, how do you 'fix' this?

For starters, everyone is a gamer in one way or another. They may not be a wargamer or a videogamer, but I can guarantee you that as a child they played 'games' in one form or another.

This is what I hear a lot, about couples who don't share hobbies because one doesn't enjoy the other's. It's sad really as you hear of one side giving up and as such all 'hobby' time is time that both parties can't spend together.

Tell me, how many types of games are there?

Well I guess there are Tabletop games, Video games and Live Action games. But this can be broken down further:

Tabletop games
- Wargames
-- Army scale games
-- Skirmish games
- Boardgames
- RPGs
- Card games
-- Collectable Card Games
-- Bicycle Card Games

Video Games
- Offline
-- First Person Shooters
-- Beat em ups
-- Real Time Strategy
-- Third Person Adventure
-- First Person Shooters
-- Beat em ups
-- Real Time Strategy
-- MMOs

Live Action games
- Role play
- Re-enactment
- Sport

And that's just off the top of my head. Are you really saying with all of those types of games around there is not a single one that you and your partner can share?

You're already striving to be a super-team by being as good parents as you can be, so why not take that super-team into a game and make 'hobby time' something that you can do with your partner?

After all: a family that slays together; stays together!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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