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How Do You Balance A New Baby And Gaming?

Illustration for article titled How Do You Balance A New Baby And Gaming?

Commenter Jopeter explores the joys of trying to balance gaming with a newborn baby in today's installment of Speak-Up on Kotaku.

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So I became a dad roughly a week ago and my initial thought was "YES. Free from work, the kid will sleep all day and I can finally complete some of the games I have acquired the last couple of months."

Of course I was happy for becoming a dad, and my newborn daughter is so beautiful and all that, but this is a gaming site so let's stick to that. :)

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It never occurred to me that I didn't have the time to complete these games while my girlfriend was pregnant and needed me all around and everywhere all the time, so how the hell would I succeed now that this little spawn of mine needed one of us every 2-3 hours 24/7. Adding to that my girlfriend got pretty beat up giving birth to our treasure so she needs a lot of rest atm. In other words: GF = vending machine for milk and I'm doing all the other fun tasks.

So how can I game while still having to take care of my baby? My friend with two kids, former hardcore WoW'er, said it was impossible, but I really wanted to prove that even though you get a new family member you don't have to give up on your hobbies or desires in life.

I found that the answer was divided.

Yes, my baby needs me a couple of hours each day and also requires me on standby, so I could just forget about raiding with my guild in wow and my character now has a well-deserved break from gear hunting. All other MMO's or any other games that require you available and 100% focused for a hours is a no-go.

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In other words: Games with a pause-button are pure win, so I stick to those for now. Since I just bought my PS3 I had a good amount of games to complete, starting with the God of War collection. Fantastic games and I just started God of War 3. After this I have Uncharted 1&2 and Heavy Rain waiting for my attention.

Where do I go with this? Well my friends said it was impossible to be a gamer and a parent, and I proved them otherwise. It also turns out that the lights and sounds entertain my baby and I could swear I heard her first "giggle" while ripping the head off a Gorgon yesterday.

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How do you combine gaming with kids? I'd love to know.

About Speak-Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have that little box on the front page of Kotaku. You know, the one with "Got something to say?" written in it? That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Just make sure to include #speakup in your comment so we can find it. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best #speakup posts we can find and highlight it here.

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DISCUSSION

Let me start off by saying I am a pretty hardcore gamer, both classic and all the new systems (minus wii).

I used to spend 2-4 hours a day gaming if I could.

My wife and I had a baby last June. The first month was pretty easy. The baby slept a lot. When he was awake my wife wanted to spend a lot of time with him, and she didn't need much help dealing with the small tasks an infant needs. Our son is also a really good baby. He was happy to just lay on us, or stare at various objects and colors in the room.

I used to take him down into the man-cave with me after work and give her a break for a few hours. He would happily lay on my chest or on the couch next to me while I played PS3 or xbox360. Breaks to feed and change him were required, but they aren't as difficult a task as some would have you believe. I really felt like I wouldn't have to change my gaming habits much at all.

Then my baby turned 1 month old... All of a sudden he was becoming aware of things and needed lots of attention and entertainment. And it's not that easy to entertain a 1 month old because they aren't interactive at all. He was no longer content to lay on my chest while I racked up goals against opponents in PES. He now needed to be the center of attention just about every moment he was awake. I was always very thankful for the naps he took. While he napped I could pursue my own interests.

The older he gets, the less frequently he naps, which means less time for gaming. When he naps now, I spend most of my time catching up on the chores I've fallen behind on. My wife also works 7p-7a 3-4 nights a week, leaving me as sole care giver.

He goes to bed around 10:30 pm. I don't have to be to work too early and my wife takes care of him in the morning, so I stay up for 2 or 3 hours and game or watch a movie/some TV with my wife.

I'd say it's impossible to be anything other than a casual gamer while raising a baby, unless you have a spouse that is willing to do the brunt of the work.