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!

Related Posts

5 thoughts on “Raiding vs Parenting

  1. Larísa

    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. Scott

    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. kikidas

    (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. Scott

    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. GoW Post author

      @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.)