I Am One of Those Horrible Neglectful MMO-Playing Parents

Illustration for article titled I Am One of Those Horrible Neglectful MMO-Playing Parents

Whenever I post a story about a parent neglecting their children while playing a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game I can't hide my disgust for that sort of person, so you can imagine how I felt about myself this weekend when my two ten-month-old children left the house in the middle of a boss fight.

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I thought I had the situation in hand. We've cordoned off a safe area in the living room where my twin boys, Archer and Seamus, can roam freely, playing with toys, eating crunchy things and watching Yo Gabba Gabba to their tiny hearts' contents. They seemed occupied, so while my wife-creature had just left for work, I figured I could sneak in an instance in the open beta for En Masse Entertainment's new MMO Tera.

Completely engrossed by the game's dynamic combat and lost in my first real taste of group fighting, I managed to keep one eye on the boys at all times, even pausing once or twice to run over and break up the odd baby fight. It wasn't until the final boss fight that I turned my full attention to the game. Just five minutes, what could go wrong?

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As the gigantic creature fell to the ground, I turned slightly to my right and discovered the living room door had blown open in the wind, and the babies had left the building.

I nearly had a heart attack. Utter panic gripped me as I bolted up out of the chair and ran to the door. Archer, the larger, less devious one was sitting on the doorstep, looking around. Seamus had nearly made it to the grass, some ten feet away from the entrance. I quickly gathered them up, brought them inside and made sure the door was shut and locked, something their mother forgot on the way to work.

The babies were perfectly fine, if a little upset that their adventure was cut short. At least they were perfectly fine this time.

Anything could have happened in the five minutes my attention was pulled away. Young children and animals (sometimes it's hard to tell the difference) roam freely about the area. People are moving furniture along the sidewalk. All it would have taken was one choking-sized object on the ground, and this slightly-humorous moment might have turned tragic.

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Now I'm not saying I'm in the same league as someone that leaves their baby in the car to go raid or forgets to feed their children because they're busy playing, but for a brief, startling moment I felt like that. I don't want to feel like that ever again.

So I won't. New rule: When watching the children I shall not play any game I cannot a) play with them in view and b) pause if I need to attend their whims. I care about these little bastards too much to let a game get between us.

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DISCUSSION

retropcdad
Commodore32

Just gonna say but it seems that a majority of the hateful commenters here are not parents, some of them admittedly so. It's great that you young adults and teens look at parenting with such respect and awe... but you're too judgmental of something you have yet to experience. As someone who was suddenly thrust into the world of parenting with 0 prep...

Back Story: Fell in love with a girl I worked with, who had just found out that she was pregnant even after being very careful due to a side effect of Yaz which causes potassium buildup which negates the birth control. I was in a crap relationship at the time and too deluded to see how crappy it was and she was back together with the baby's father because she felt like she didn't have any other choice (asshole he was). Anyway, I got out of my relationship, let her know she wasn't stuck with him, knew she liked me back and dealt with all that drama. To make the rest of the story short, she gave birth, I made my move without any idea of what I was getting into, and now 3 years later we are still very very happy together.

Anyway, back to original point... As someone who was thrust so suddenly into the world of parenting I can say that this is going to happen, especially to first time parents (or parents who have two small children). All you who say you devote 100% of your time to your kids, I must say either one parent is always home, or you take shifts sleeping and your stress levels are through the roof. If it weren't for down time where the little one is left to watch Curious George while mommy and I play a game or read a book we'd go crazy.

Yes, there are times where I go "Okay... where did the little bugger get to?" when I lift my head and realize he'd wondered off to another room... so usually there's a second of looking around for him because he, like us, will sit down with something and get lost in his own little world playing with a couple toys or in his cardboard spaceship. To date he has yet to make it out of the house more than once. And that one time was into the fenced in back yard to play with the dog. He has gone upstairs to his room, he has hidden under the table because he finds us looking for him HILARIOUS.

Does that make us bad parents because once in a blue moon he escapes us while we read or eat or use the bathroom? I don't think it does. Is Mike a bad parent because he tried like any gamer struggling with parenthood to squeeze in a minute on a game? Definately not. Unlike the deadbeat parents who neglect and abuse their children he rectified the issue, took steps to make sure it didn't happen again and learned a valuable lesson. Always double check the locks.

And if you say we are neglectful horrible evil abusive parents, please be an actual parent who can comment on it, not someone who can "Only imagine what it's like..."