Raiding vs Parenting

My wife and I like WoW a lot. We’ve played it togeth­er for more than two years now, and have been endgame raiders for most of that time. Some­times as many as three nights a week! There have been ups and downs, but we’re both excit­ed about Wrath.

As new par­ents, we’ve learned what the hard­est part is about instances and raids: no pause but­ton.

Our daugh­ter is six months old. What I’ve learned about infants + WoW:

  • Infants don’t care about shar­ing you with a raid full of your friends.
  • Infants don’t care about voice chat, espe­cial­ly when sleeping.
  • Infants don’t get excit­ed about your zomgepics, and they don’t get dis­ap­point­ed when you don’t get the drop. (Actu­al­ly, that’s not so bad.)
  • Infants don’t care if you’re in com­bat or not.
  • Infants real­ly don’t care about pro­gres­sion boss fights, where unin­ter­rupt­ed con­cen­tra­tion is required or else the raid will wipe.

When an infant sens­es that you’re ask­ing for patience… they flip out. It’s an emo­tion­al thing. Babies don’t under­stand: “I love you very much but I’m doing some­thing else right now, so if you can just keep your­self busy for anoth­er five min­utes, and then I’ll give you the binkie back while the raid buffs?” And when my daugh­ter does­n’t under­stand things of this nature, like the grownup, com­pli­cat­ed, give-and-take social stuff?

The leaves on near­by trees shake from her cries.

Bad Par­ent­ing 101? Well, yes. At least the raid­ing while hav­ing first baby exper­i­ment did­n’t last long.

Now, before you leave a stern­ly-word­ed com­ment, take heart that I now know that the answer is easy: stop raid­ing for a while. And you know what? It was easy, once we saw that. Like so much in life, none of this stuff is obvi­ous. I’ve nev­er been a father before. Heck, I haven’t spent time around kids since I was in that age group. In unre­lat­ed news, I’m start­ing to under­stand where all my parental scars came from.

Also, a quick caveat: this is a shared hob­by of ours. Yes, one of us could babysit while the oth­er played, but that’s not how we came to love the game. We tried raid­ing sep­a­rate­ly and it’s not as much fun. WoW is some­thing we enjoy doing togeth­er. We do plen­ty of things apart, but play­ing WoW isn’t one of them.

We gave our best towards bal­anc­ing the over­whelm­ing every­thing­ness of being new par­ents while keep­ing up any sem­blance of a raid sched­ule. Ulti­mate­ly, we decid­ed to start our off­sea­son. We haven’t raid­ed in two months, and have no plans to do so until at least Wrath. Our approach to Wrath is going to be slight­ly dif­fer­ent than wait­ing in line at the shop at 11:30 the night before the mid­night open­ing. It’s going to be a big exper­i­ment with plen­ty of tri­al and error.

In the mean­time? We log on now and then, and our friends play­ful­ly ask us: “Hey, want to join us in ZA this week?” I gen­tly deflect them, but real­ly I’m think­ing: sign up for raids? Insan­i­ty! How can I know days in advance what next Thurs­day night is going to be like in my home? Will there be cry­ing? Kick­ing? Scream­ing? But nev­er mind my wife, what about my daugh­ter? (Try the veal!)

I always coun­seled my guild mem­bers to keep their life right over any game or guild con­cerns. Right now my wife and I feel like we’re bare­ly above water, as I hear that most par­ents feel at first. Raid­ing had to take a back seat. It feels weird to take that advice, even though it’s my own.

Any oth­er WoW-play­er­s/­par­ents out there? How did this go for you?

More Words!

5 thoughts on “Raiding vs Parenting”

  1. My kids are so much old­er than yours. Hey, my old­est was a baby about 16 years ago… So there was now WoW around at that time. But I can’t imag­ine how it would have been pos­si­ble to raid at that point in my life, or even to play a few min­utes. She had pains in her stom­ach and hard to sleep and cried con­stant­ly her first months… It was a HUGE change in my life really.

    Nowa­days with teenag­er in my house I do raid. It’s a pas­sion. But it’s a strug­gle, an con­stant fight for my right to have a life of my own. Becuase they still want my atten­tion… and can’t under­stand and accept that I some­times give it to some­one else. To WoW as a par­ent will always be a chal­lange as long as your kids stay at home. At least if they’re not play­ing themselves.

    How­ev­er, your choice here was real­ly a no-brain­er. Still I real­ly rec­om­mend you to try to give each oth­er “baby free” time from time to time. Be it WoW-play­ing (a lit­tle farm­ing or ques­tiong) or some­thing else you enjoy. 24/7 of baby sit­ting will become a bit suf­fo­cat­ing after a while.

    You must make sure that you’ll last the whole way.

  2. Heh. Raid­ing with a child is where I got the name for my blog :)

    When Hele­na was born, Aman­da and I weren’t real­ly into raid­ing so it was­n’t an imme­di­ate issue. How­ev­er, we did like to instance with our friends in game as a way to wind down and would do so with Hele­na bun­dled up into a sling( pret­ty much the only way she’d sleep for the first three months ). I got ‑real­ly- good at tank­ing with one hand while the oth­er was gen­tly pat­ting her back! 

    One thing we real­ly lucked out on was keep­ing a very strict sched­ule for Hele­na’s bed time and her bed time rou­tine. Low lights, wave sounds, a bot­tle and some snug­gling w/ Dad( des­ig­nat­ed put­ter-to-bed­der ) all at about the same hour of night. Before long, she was con­stant­ly asleep by about 6 o’clock each night. Every so often, one of us would have to afk and rush upstairs to give her a paci­fi­er back or run a bot­tle back up to her, but we were blessed with very under­stand­ing friends. Peo­ple like K over at, who, con­se­quent­ly intro­duced me to your blog, were very under­stand­ing and would take time to make sure our group make up was of peo­ple will­ing to AFK for a short time while an emer­gency bot­tle was prepped. 

    When my guild implod­ed and I fell into the Guild Leader role, my wife worked hard to make sure she could raid with us since it was an impor­tant part of guild func­tion­al­i­ty. We just had to be a lit­tle proac­tive about the short AFKs. I was usu­al­ly tank­ing so after Opera, dur­ing the run up to Cura­tor, I’d AFK and give the baby a bot­tle since those pulls only take one tank. If we’d hear her over the baby mon­i­tor dur­ing a boss fight we’d wrap up the fight( hope­ful­ly still win­ning! ) and then rush upstairs! 

    If you can swing it, if your guild is amenable to it, try to raid togeth­er and see if you can get her down about an hour or an hour and half before raid start. If she does­n’t real­ly have a “set bed­time” try to wear her out dur­ing the day she she’ll be ready for sleep and have an under­study ready to take your place if you or your wife have to drop. If you have to drop out of the raid, go deal with your daugh­ter, when she back to snooz­ing, go back seat raid over your wifes shoul­der :) Nesh loves when I tell her when to mis­di­rect. Espe­cial­ly if it’s on one of the pal­adin healers :) 

    If you find that you can’t raid or still only want to raid togeth­er, then start a new project. Run up an alt to 60 and get some instances under your belt on your new toons. It’s a lot eas­i­er to find 3 peo­ple that are patient and under­stand­ing about chil­dren than it is to find 9 people.

  3. (Hi Scott!)

    I was going to give a love­ly reply about how two friends of ours do it. But I see Scott already did. 

    Obvi­ous­ly RL>WoW, but it can work. Maybe not three to four nights of raid­ing a week, but we typ­i­cal­ly do 2 nights (maybe 3 if Scott and Nesh give Hele­na Benadryl… JUST KIDDING) and our guild is based on that con­cept: RL > WoW. If you need to go because your kid is scream­ing or your dog just threw up on your shoes… or vice ver­sa… take care of that first, we’ll fill our time telling corny jokes on Ven­tri­lo and danc­ing naked in the game. 

    Because Friends > Raiding. :)

    But yeah, if you have friends who are amenable to it, start a low­bie pair of peo­ple to lev­el togeth­er, get the names and email address­es of three oth­er peo­ple who are will­ing to level/instance with you, and before you ever set­tle down to play WoW, try to work out what you’re going to do that evening and this way, when you log in, you know exact­ly what you’re going to be doing, with whom, and what you’ll need to get. None of that ‘What do you want to do?’… ‘I’m fine with what­ev­er. What do YOU want to do?’ pingponging. 

    (And see, even though Scott stole my glo­ry, I can still find lots of bab­ble to fill up your reply sec­tion with.)

  4. Yea, know­ing what you’re doing ahead of time is a big one. Get­ting online and spend­ing 2 hours chas­ing bees isn’t con­ducive to get­ting things done. Email out what you’d like to do. Every­one should be ready to log on for a good night as soon as the baby is down and din­ner is done. If the baby wakes up. Oh well. It’s not an issue w/ good friends.

    1. @Larísa — Thanks for the advice. The change is like you say, leav­ing us awed and hum­bled and at the same time, wish­ing that we had more hours in the day and ener­gy to do some­thing with them.

      @Scott — One hand­ed tank­ing! There’s a joke about mas­tur­ba­tion in there some­where. Back on top­ic: I wish that we could work out the time, but for some rea­son Bliz­zard does­n’t put tar­get time zones on their servers, and we end­ed up as off­peak peo­ple on our serv­er, and we’ve grown roots there. Our guild spans the globe, and there’s pret­ty much only one time where we can raid. Crazy! We’ve actu­al­ly already on your sec­ond sug­gest­ed route: new, com­plete­ly sep­a­rate side projects. Duo’ing and lev­el­ing again, just com­plete­ly relaxed and at it’s own pace.

      @kikidas — And here’s the part where my wife and I eat crow. We were always the ones who pushed for effi­cient raids, planned breaks rather than ran­dom breaks, etc. Now we’re the ran­dom break peo­ple… very uncom­fort­able, and I know it sounds sil­ly but it’s a real repel­lent to ask­ing for under­stand­ing on ran­dom breaks. I wish I could go back in time and fix it, because now I under­stand! (Ok, not the guy who has to tend to his cat four­teen times a raid, but still.)

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