It’s 6pm on a Wednesday night and work has been a nightmare. Deathloop just dropped and it’s the only thing you’ve been thinking about doing today for weeks. You get home and homework needs done, the house needs to be cleaned, dinner is yet to be on the table. Welcome to being a dad gamer.
I used to be able to play whenever I wanted. That just isn’t the case anymore. Life and responsibilities now make way for the unlimited time I used to have. We would all love if playing video games would pay our bills, for most that just isn’t the case. However, we still need time to unwind. Here are a few pro tips that I have learned along the way. Not only can you make time to play, you can also make everyone happy in the process.
On the weekends, my partner likes to give me a list of items to accomplish. Some of these I would prefer not to do with the precious amount of free time I have. Folding laundry, cleaning dishes, and going to the dump among them. However, when the honey-do-list is completed, you find yourself with a happy partner. I find that getting everything done on the list let’s her know I want to help, she feels like I’m on her team, and it earns me some gaming freedom. Fight the urge to just “do what you want”, because it just incurs senseless fights; trust me. This is just wasted energy arguing or disagreeing that could be put to better use.
Is there a major event coming up? Is your partner having a bad day? These are just a few examples of picking your spots when playing. Knowing the game before you play it is a great tool. Before you head off to game, get a sense of the landscape. Is your partner cueing you for conversation time? Does the trash need to be taken out? Make sure you have your bases covered before firing up your console of choice. Knowing that an action will result in an argument or hurt feelings will not only affect real life, but you gaming one as well.
When chatting with online friends, watch the time frame in which you commit to playing. If you know there is a major event or somewhere you have to go, be mindful of it. Nothing worse than overpromising for a 10pm Raid knowing that it will impact real life. If you’re out to dinner with your wife and your phone is blowing up at 10:05 you’re doing it wrong. Give yourself a cushion. Giving yourself a half hour, not only does it allow for life, but also doesn’t disappoint your group. Nothing worse than a no show on a Friday night without even a word.
This is one I can’t stress enough. Late night gaming sessions can get chatty if everyone has to work as a team. If your kids have school the next morning, they shouldn’t have to suffer because of that. Having kids up at midnight because I am gaming is a no-no in my household. Having a designated area where they can’t see or hear them is key. Trying to wake up two sleepy kids for school makes for a long morning. It also makes for an angry partner.
I’ve got one more run at the Boss in me! I know, I have been there. Late night gaming sessions until 1am not only make for an early wake-up call with getting kids ready, but for work as well. It’s hard to keep track of time in a gaming session. I get it. However, hard cutoff is necessary. It keeps you fresh. Being tired from a previous night of gaming has kept me from numerous opportunities the next evening. You’re affecting real life as well as your gaming time. Knowing each night has a cutoff time gives you not only motivation, but also the ability to keep everyone at work and family alike happy.
These are just a few of the many things I have come across in my gaming experiences being a dad and a partner. By no means are these all hard and fast rules, but more guidelines. Everyone is different and so is every family dynamic. Knowing and having a discussion about it with your partner can be helpful and meaningful. We all need ways to express ourselves. If gaming is your hobby just be smart, be respectful, and most of all have fun.