Before Five Things At Once (note: former title of this blog), I have worked on various other projects around the web. My earlier attempt at making a website, Chump Score, didn’t really catch on. An online magazine full of smarmy articles that nobody read, the project is now defunct. More recently, I was a contributor to Game Rant, a video game website owned by the same guy who runs Screen Rant. They make an effort to keep Game Rant family-friendly, so I would recommend it for parents who may want to research for any potential video game purchases for their kids. Writing for them was a great experience for me. Although I enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot about writing for the web, I unfortunately found myself in a place where I could no longer contribute. I would love for this to be a controversial story full of corruption and the like (think of all the web hits!), but the truth is much simpler than that.
When I was working with the Game Rant crew, I had a whole daily routine mapped out. I really had a good thing going for awhile. I would get up at 5 AM and write every morning. I was usually able to finish my post for the day before Piper would get up. I concentrated on game industry news, and the news posts themselves were pretty straightforward. The one weekly feature I wrote, Network Scorecard, took more time. So I would just stay up late and write the bulk of that on Tuesday nights- when Microsoft and Sony updated their respective networks. However, you know what they say about the best laid plans. As an infant became a toddler became a preschooler, it seemed like my child changed her sleep pattern every six months or so. Recently, she started getting up earlier and earlier, which precluded my precious little writing regimen.
There were other factors that hindered my work as well. Not only did Piper get up earlier, she started needing more attention. There is a reason why sometimes we affectionately call her the “hyper monster.” Also, since I just simply had so much less time to myself, I could not keep up with the game industry like I used to. When Piper was a baby, and would nap four times a day, I had time to watch all kinds of industry podcasts like The Totally Rad Show, The Bonus Round, and CNET podcasts various and sundry. The hyper monster won’t let me do that now. These days, I have to deal with Dora or Kai-Lan and their friends yelling at me when the TV is on. I mean, really, sometimes Tolee has some issues.
Today was a good example of why I can’t write for Game Rant. Piper got up early, about 6:15 AM, before I was even done with my morning chores (make coffee, feed the cats, clean the sink- a dadmom’s work is never done). This was one of those days that my wife left for work a little later than usual. The combo of these two things completely threw off my morning rhythm. So I started doing laundry, and between that and more dishes, Piper was full-bore in hyper mode. Thus the day degraded into me getting yelled at about her doll and hide-and-seek. It’s kind of difficult to research industry trends while this is going on.
“Make the Belle doll talk! MAKE THE BELLE DOLL TALK!” And, “You go hide, and I go count. YOU GO HIDE AND I GO COUNT!”
Also, it was not a paid gig, so that kind of changes things. I can’t really say to my wife, “Hey honey, I need to play through this game quickly in order to review it. So you can watch the kid by yourself all weekend, right?” For a hobby, that would just be bad form. Now, if this was for work, and said work was helping to pay the bills, then that would be a different story. Alas, this was not the case. Now, I knew what I was getting into when I started working for those guys, so I don’t fault them for anything. I just simply don’t have time to write for them anymore.
So, Game Rant is what you would call “good people.” I enjoyed the community and learned a lot from them. I would go back if I had more time and if they would have me. But at least until Piper starts preschool, I’m kind of stuck in a rut without a lot of choices. But since my child comes first, I don’t have any regrets. What can I say, my boss keeps me on a tight leash.
What changes have you made in your life because of your children? Have you had to give up anything because of your parenting? Please leave comments below.
If you want to check it out, the site is highly recommended: Game Rant: Video Game News & Reviews Without The Sugar Coating
Hi, Jeff! Great writing and fun to read and relate to. Yes, I’ve given up lots as a parent, and even more so as a single parent, and am proud of it. Few things make me boil more than the parents who put their own needs first and head out to party on a Friday night whilst the little ones get pawned off on someone else! But, back to the questions. Take, for instance, the fact that I have an art degree, emphasis in painting. The most I paint these days are walls in my house along with any type of “kid art” activity Maycee might enjoy, such as stained glass, clay pots, and the like. Do I miss those days of “deep” and intellectual abstract oil painting on 6 foot canvases from the college years, sure I do, but when Maycee says, “Wow, Mommy, you are such a good painter!” referring to my Tinker Bell window hanging, I can’t complain too much about it. My degree has been validated right there.
Tinker Bell window hanging, awesome. Piper would love that.
It might sound a little retro, but Dads like you who are primary caretakers in their childrens’ lives are heroes to women. Women have gone to work en mass; but most men have not picked up the slack in childrearing. It’s wonderful that you are so responsive to your kids’ needs. But I always wonder, where is the line? What is too much to give up? What do you need to preserve for yourself as a parent?
I think a person definitely needs to find balance in giving their all to their children as well as showing their children who they are as an individual. For me, in the arts and crafts I do with Maycee, for instance, I don’t hold back the fact that I can paint a mean stained glass, or draw a picture on her napkin for her school lunch that absolutely says, “Wow, Mommy sure can make cool pictures!” and put a smile on her face. I also endulge in other hobbies that I can actually do as a parent, like lead worship at church, which feeds the musical bone in my body. It shows Maycee that Mommy does have other things she cares about and that make me who I am, but it doesn’t detract from the time I dedicate to her, either. Balance. Hard to get, but we keep trying.
Yes, the real trick is finding the right balance. If anyone figures it out, please let me know.
jenniferdorr- Personally, I just need to preserve time for me to be creative. That is part of the reason for this blog. Writing helps me to have the “me time” that I need. One has to take care of one’s child, and yet still be a whole person at the same time. Not easy to do, for sure.