Thursday, November 4, 2010

A WoW Mom

When my youngest daughter was three, I was not a raider.

That doesn't mean, however, that I did not have a goal in Vanilla WoW.  At the time, I was trying to gain enough rank at battlegrounds to allow me to purchase an inexpensive swift riding mount.  (Having decided I would never be able to earn enough gold to outright purchase one . . .)

Anyone who has ever tried for this goal knows it was one which took a lot of time--much more than I could accomplish by following my normal patten of only playing in the evenings.  But I was a stay-at-home mom, and no battleground queue ever ran below 10 minutes, so with the support of my family, I felt I could do it.

And so I did.  I queued, then set the timer on my watch so I would know when it was time to turn off the vacuum and return for the bg invitation.  I ran ten-minute Arathi Basins over and over until my Alterac Valley queue would come up (took an hour and a half; we could queue for more than one thing at the time), then start all over after AV.

My kids were pretty computer-game savvy by this time, including my three-year-old, who was a proficient mouser and could play games for young children on the kids' computer.  But when it wasn't her turn, many times she would sit on my lap during a battleground run, where she hit the space bar over and over to make my regular speed mount jump.  The two of us had great fun together, me holding my littlest girl, giving her kisses, and her controlling some aspect of my game.  (If you don't think children love anything which gives them some kind of control over something the adults are doing, you don't know children very well.)

One day, I made the mistake of mentioning this in /bg.

I received the most scathing condemnation in return from a player who told me I was a poor excuse for a mother and should never have given birth.  (After all, I was "making" my three-year-old sit on my lap while I played WoW.)  It stung, even though I knew it was not true.

The lesson I learned from this is that there were misconceptions about mothers who might play WoW, so it was best to not mention anything about it.

The recent production "The Guild" doesn't help this much.  One character in the show is a mother of young children who habitally locks them out of her computer area with a child safety gate.  There are images of the children standing behind or hanging on the gate, crying for their mother, while she chatters on Vent.  She is portrayed as being very negligent in her role as mother, going so far as to leave her children in the toy section of a store while she meets in a nearby restaurant with her guildies.

There may be mothers like that, but I have not met any of them.  The mothers I know in WoW are very careful to take care of their children.  If you see them standing around in Dalaran and try to /whisper them, you may not get an answer back, because they have gone to the kitchen to feed their children or they are sitting on the floor, working a puzzle with their two-year-old.  They may have left to get some housework finished, as I used to do in battleground queues.  Or they may choose to play only when their children are asleep.

I did make my battleground goal.  My kids cheered as loudly as I did when I finally showed them my rank and my new epic cat.  And then I stepped away to do other things.

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