WomenGamers.com features articles on women in gaming, how to break into the gaming industry, and gaming reviews. Gaming has been a stereotypical male activity, but studies have shown that over half of online gamers are women. This growing trend has changed the way we look at raising children. Gaming mothers face different challenges but in the same token have new and exciting opportunities.
Atari from WomenGamers.com talks about these challenges in her article “Gaming with a Newborn.”
Gaming with a Newborn
By Ismini "Atari" Roby
"For months leading up to my son’s birth, I heard seasoned parent gamers who play on the upwards of 30+ hours a week say, "Be prepared for your entire life to change. You’ll be lucky if you get any time to game." Frankly, this scared me. Gaming has always been a great tool for me to wind down and de-stress. With a kid on the way, I couldn’t imagine getting rid of one of my most effective relaxation techniques. I knew had to figure out a way to balance out the baby’s needs with my own, but with little knowledge of what the days ahead would be like, I really didn’t know how difficult it was going to be.
I thought the childbirth was going to be the hard part. In fact, when I was in labor, I remember thinking, "My god that is the hardest physical thing I think I’ve ever endured." A couple of days later I changed my mind. The hardest part was, hands down, the week right after.
Just because something is natural and has been done since the dawn of time does not make it intuitive. With all of the sophisticated features of the human body that help facilitate motherhood, there is still a learning curve for both mom and baby. Breastfeeding is probably the most surprisingly difficult feat to overcome. Not only are you learning how to do it, but the baby is struggling to figure it out as well, and with new feelings of hunger you can bet he was getting frustrated too. Compound that with an inevitable lack of sleep and crazy high hormone levels that make you cry at the drop of a hat, and you easily have the most stressful week of your life.
I couldn’t even think about games or WomenGamers.Com. All I could think about was how I wanted him to hurry up and grow a couple more pounds so he would start sleeping through the night (technically a 4-hour stretch of sleep). I was miserable. I was tired. I was frustrated. I was stressed. And the baby blues were making me an emotional basketcase.
The only real consolation to the first week is that it can only get better. By the second week, things started to look up and as my wits came back to me, I began planning how to make us both happy. World of Warcraft was coming and I was determined to play. But how can you play an MMORPG when you have to get up every two hours to attend to your son?
The answer: make sure you have a good pillow and computer chair with armrests that lift and descend. I found this wonderful pillow that snaps around your waste and is made of a hard foam. By using the armrests of my computer chair, I was able to recline the baby in my lap and easily feed him while on the computer. By tilting the keyboard at a 45 degree angle and sliding part of it on the pillow for support, then positioning my chair so that my right arm is closer to the mouse, I was able to accomplish two-handed computer access. Prior to discovering I could do all this, I would wake up in the middle of the night, sit in a rocking chair and be completely bored to tears staring at the clock. By being able to sit at my computer and play games, the time it now takes to feed him seems to fly by. In fact, on a number of occasions since World of Warcraft came out, he’d fall asleep in my lap while I would keep on playing. As a plus, because I’m playing at 4am on weekdays, I get to play relatively lag-free and without fighting people for overly-camped spawns.
And since mom was happy, baby was happy. Not only can your baby sense your stress, but your milk production will suffer if you can’t relax. If gaming helps you achieve mental and physical wellness, then don’t deprive yourself and your child by giving up activities that can benefit you both. Yes, your life will change, but with a little creativity, gaming can still be a part of your life.
This article was republished with permission from WomenGamers.Com.