I can recite the Konami Code in my sleep and show you where to find every bobblehead in the Wasteland, but when it comes to parenting, I’m a total n00b. Becoming a parent is hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and this is coming from someone who’s Platinumed Bloodborne. It’s also incredibly scary. Not Resident Evil scary, but more like “Dark Souls I have no idea what I’m doing and at any moment could unwittingly screw everything up” scary.
Before I evolved into my current parent form, I viewed parents as the epitome of an adult. They were knowledgeable, reliable, responsible, and unbearably boring. Parents existed solely to make lame jokes and impose totally uncool rules like “no jumping off the roof” and “don’t turn your Super Soaker into a flamethrower.” They were flat characters in the self-important biography of my life whose only input was to crush my childhood vibe. The mind-blowing truth is, when you actually become a parent, you don’t lose your sense of self and become a personality-free caretaker drone. Contrary to popular belief, you’re still you, just a perpetually exhausted, agitated, stressed, more emotional you.
Two years ago, as my wife’s due date drew near, I began to realize that there was no definitive guide on how to be a parent. There’s no Dad Walkthrough on GameFAQS (I checked). Sure, I could load up my Kindle with tons of literature from so-called parenting experts, a bull$#*! term by the way, but every child and situation is unique, and ultimately, I wanted to raise my daughter on my own terms. But there’s no cheat code to get your kid to eat their dinner or go to sleep. Public hissy fits are like boss battles with no discernible, beatable pattern. Regardless of how accomplished or wise any parent may appear, know that parenting is strictly a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants operation and everyone is pretty much winging it.
So after talking about how difficult and terrifying parenting can be, this is the part where I’m supposed to reassure you that it’s totally worth it because of how amazingly rewarding it is, right? Wrong. And for two reasons, mind you. The first is that being a parent is like Animal Crossing—It’s a tough sell to those who’ve never experienced it. It doesn’t sound like much fun at all. But then, you give it a shot and before you know it, its become a very important part of who you are. The second reason, well I won’t bother wasting time convincing non-parents to become parents because that’s not what this series is about.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already made up your mind anyway. Besides, the true motivation behind this, hopefully, ongoing series will be to create a brutally honest, first-hand account of parenting as a gamer. This won’t be like a polished, comprehensive BradyGames guide showing you every hidden package. Instead, this will be more akin to handwritten notes scrawled in the margins of a borrowed copy of Nintendo Power. An answer will be there, but you’ll witness my trials and errors, and it won’t be pretty.
Also, since parents do a majority of their reading while sitting on the toilet, I promise each of these articles will be short enough to read during that golden window of time before your kid(s) start banging on the bathroom door.