A Mom's Guide To Real-Life Gaming

by Samantha Wassel
Originally Published: 

More often than not, gaming is thought of as a mostly male activity. Think about it: We hear about boys and Minecraft, husbands and Xbox, grandpas and Angry Birds (or is that just my father-in-law?).

Where are all the lady gamers?

Off being moms, that’s where.

I happen to really like video and computer games. In fact, I played them all the time before I became a mom. But now that most of my time is devoted to trying not to screw my kids up, I just don’t have the luxury of sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, eyes glazed over, the joint of my pointer finger burning from the rapidity of excessive mouse clicking.

I’m too busy doing the 248,842 other random things that each require a sliver of my multi-divided attention.

But old habits die hard, and slow frogs die harder (Frogger, anyone?). I may not play like I used to, but this mama’s still got game. In fact, I’ve taken some of my favorites and put my own little motherly spin on them.

Whether you’re a gaming mom at heart, or just looking to add a little “fun” to some of the humdrum aspects of motherhood, look no further. I present to you, A Mom’s Guide to Real-Life Gaming:

No controller*, computer screen** or mouse*** required.

*Unless you refer to your kid as “controlling,” which you probably do. (Most of these require at least one of your children as an additional “player.”)

**Unless you’re reading this article on a computer screen, which you probably are.

***Unless you need to put on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to entertain the kids while you recharge, which you probably will.

If you like: Tetris

Try: Rearranging the Tupperware in your fridge

First, set your sights on an item in the back of your refrigerator, perhaps that container of Cool Whip you strategically pushed toward the back, beyond greedy little toddler reach. Then remove the approximately 47 plastic Tupperware containers standing between you and the designated item. After you’ve effectively shoveled 75 percent of the Cool Whip (or food item of choice) into your mouth, try returning the various Tupperware containers to the fridge.

Note: You will likely end up wondering how the hell they all fit in the first place, and then burying your frustration in the remainder of the Cool Whip.

If you like: Frogger

Try: Taking your toddler for a walk sans stroller

On a nice day, ask your tot to Velcro her little light-up shoes and get ready to enjoy a special walk with Mama. Make sure to stress the rule, “Remember, when we’re by the street, you hold Mama’s hand. You do not let go of Mama’s hand.” When she inevitably gives your hand the slip and darts into the street, hop around like a fool trying to save her (and yourself) from moving vehicles.

If you like: Pac-Man

Try: Eating anything while your kids are awake

This requires very little explanation. Basically, you frantically hunt down whatever food you can find while speedy, evil little spirits chase you down. Sound familiar? Sounds like every damn meal to me.

If you like: Farmville

Try: Planning your kid an elaborate birthday party

If wasting exorbitant amounts of time on something—only to have virtually nothing to show for it in the end—is your slice of cake, this is the activity for you. In my experience, I’ve noticed that most kids care about three things at their parties: cake, presents and playing with other kids. So be sure to waste a ton of time conducting exhaustive Pinterest research on how to carve a watermelon into an exact replica of the ship on Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Practice it. Many times.

Then, cleverly plan a gold doubloon treasure hunt for the kids and set it up a day in advance. That way, the birthday boy will have ample time to scout out all of your hiding places and cheat his way to victory at his party, effectively ruining it for everyone.

Then, when the disgruntled kids at the party smash your watermelon-ship masterpiece while swashbuckling with a couple of broken sticks they find in the yard, throw it in the garbage.

Time wasted? Mission accomplished.

If you want the full Farmville experience, send a mass invite to all your Facebook friends.

If you like: Candy Crush Saga

Try: Obliging your kid’s demand to pour her own bowl of Lucky Charms

When she inevitably spills the sugary cereal all over the floor, you’ll have your own live-action version of the game. Bonus points if you walk away with three blue moons stuck to the bottom of your sock.

If you like: Words With Friends

Try: Forming a rational thought

Take all of the scrambled, disjointed snippets of information in your head and attempt to arrange them into something coherent. This becomes infinitely more challenging once you become a mother. You are likely already playing this “game,” and will continue to do so until the kids are grown and out of the house.

A final tip:

Sharing “extra lives” with a fellow mother gamer is an easy way to build alliances and increase your skill level. Extra lives may include, but are not limited to, the following: wine, chocolate and sleepover invitations.

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