Returning to the World (of Warcraft)

I was without internet for two years. Two. Long. Years. To some, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when all of your hobbies, friends, and the majority of your life exist solely on the internet, suddenly being without it is somewhat devastating. I really don’t care if you find that pathetic, that’s just how my life was.

After my ex of four years and I parted ways, I was broken, and broke. Even working full-time at my job at the time, I could barely afford rent and bills on my own, let alone luxuries. I felt completely cut off. During those two years, I was also without a phone, so I had zero contact with my friends or family. Or work. It was awful. But I’m back now. As great as it is having the internet back (I missed you, Netflix!), I feel like the last couple months have been a horrible game of trying to catch up with the world… movies, music, TV, games. I’d been so out of the loop for all long that it’s almost overwhelming now that I’m back.

Listen to me, sounding like I was held captive in a bunker or something for 15 years. Ugh. This is a little pathetic.

Anyway, I got my internet back a few weeks before my son was born in January. I decided that if I didn’t have SOMETHING to keep me sane during my maternity leave, even if it was just Netflix, I would snap. Besides, my fiance and I were both making more than enough to make ends meet, so why not? Despite my excitement, I told myself I wasn’t going to jump into my old online life, not that I didn’t want to, I just couldn’t. Everything was different. My old friends had moved on from me. My podcast was old news. No one knew who I was anymore. I felt replaced and depressed. There could be no big comeback. What was I even coming back to? I was never really a somebody, but more than ever, I felt like a nobody.

Despite my better judgement, I reinstalled WoW on my computer and reactivated my account. I guess deep down I knew I would. I decided to lay low. I had missed out on a good chunk Mists of Pandaria, as well as the launch of Warlords of Draenor, and everything felt overwhelming. There were people bragging about their 4th or 5th level 100, and their level 3 garrisons, and raiding whatever they were raiding… and here I was, logging in and standing in the middle of my FARM. Everything in my bags and bank, everything I was farming when before I was forced to quit, now completely useless.

Awesome.

On top of that, there are new games? Hearthstone? Heroes of the Storm? WTF is that?

Class changes, mounts and battle pets, raids. So much to learn. I rejoined good old AIE on my hunter, whom I had resumed playing as my main, but let my priest stand idly by. She’s still only level 90, despite the fact that my hunter has been 100 for over a month. I also recently transferred my level 70 shaman to Earthen Ring and began playing her again after five years of letting her sit unused on my old, old, OLD server. My first server. She was my first main. She is now level 98 and I’m having SO much fun playing her as elemental.

Balancing gaming and a newborn has been tough. I already knew raiding was completely off the table for me, but I’ve been surprised at just how little I’ve been able to do while home alone with my son. No PvP, no raiding, no instances at all… at least, I can’t do any of those things WELL. I spend the majority of my time in WoW doing activities that don’t require me to play with both hands, e.g. maxing Archaeology and fishing, doing my Apexis dailies, putting together killer transmog sets, farming mats, farming raid pets, etc. Even still, with him being a little over two months old, it’s been difficult to find things I can do to keep me interested in the game with him in my lap.

Thank god LFR is such a breeze that I can do it with one hand on my hunter. She actually has a pretty respectable gear score, for being on a raid team.

And please, don’t even get me started on rebooting Something Suggestive (for those of you who didn’t know me before this year, I ran a podcast for a while). Sorry to disappoint… whoever is even left to be disappointed, but it’s not going to happen. My podcast is dead. Sorry.

So, as glad as I am to be back, it has been hard for me as well. I’m enjoying myself and adjusting pretty well, but I still get overwhelmed and upset from time to time. But I guess I have plenty of time to play now that I’m a SAHM, right? I’ve also met a lot of really great people lately who have helped me more than they know. So thanks, new friends!

Woah. This post was much more depressing than intended… sorry. Thanks for reading! More to come later.

J

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Frustrations and Acceptance

Ever since my little guy was born, everyone has told me how lucky I am. He usually sleeps through the night, only waking up once, or sometimes not at all, to feed at an ungodly hour. Heck, there’s been times when I wake up at 7:30 and think, “Wow, we just slept like normal people?!” LT also never really fusses, unless he is hungry (or WAY tired), but a quick bottle calms him quickly. He is also a pretty good self-soother, and can calm himself if I take too long to notice that he needs something. He’s an easy-going baby, loves meeting and playing with new people, and lets complete strangers hold him (not STRANGERS, they’re family/friends), and when people tell me I’m lucky, it makes me feel good. But some days, I don’t feel lucky. At all. Some days I feel like a terrible mother and a failure. If LT doesn’t nap for longer than 30 minutes at a time during the day, or fusses for nearly an hour without me being able to comfort him, I get frustrated. I blame myself for not making him comfortable enough, or if he spits up after eating, or for not knowing how to soothe him (after cycling through the usual suspects of hunger, wet diaper, too hot/cold, etc.), or for not being a freaking mind reader. HOW DARE I NOT BE A MIND READER! But after over two months of this mom business, I’ve realized that not only do I have it pretty easy, but I’m not a bad mom for not being able to stop his crying.

News flash: BABIES CRY. Sometimes, for no real reason. They just want to cry. It’s true. I’ve learned to accept this and also accept the fact that there are other parents out there who have it WAY worse. People with twins on different sleep schedules, or colicky babies, or babies with allergies… I am lucky. With LT, everything has been smooth, for the most part. Breastfeeding was a complete nightmare, but once we accepted that formula (although not as ideal for them) is a great alternative, I was okay. Sometimes it still stings that I can’t give my baby breast milk… but he has a full tummy and is growing perfectly. That’s all the matters, right? Other things were much easier for us though. The very first bottles we ever used with him (Avent), he liked. The first formula we tried, he wasn’t allergic to/didn’t make him gassy. Pacifiers, on the other hand, have been a bit trickier, but all-in-all, it’s been a breeze… and a money saver.

It can be hard, especially for an inexperienced, new mom to hear their baby cry. Hell, there’s been a few times when I just couldn’t figure out what he wanted, and it made ME cry. I never grew up around babies. Never had friends with small siblings or babies. Even now, I only know a few people with young ones, and of course, none of them live ANYWHERE near me. This whole baby thing is SUPER new to me. I have a great support system though, and loads of cool moms on Facebook and Twitter who are willing to toss advice my way, despite the fact that I’m really stubborn when it comes to accepting help. Always have been. I also secretly scour the internet, reading sites like babycenter.com to answer questions I may have. Seriously, that site is amazing. I started reading the day I found out I was pregnant, and I use it nearly every day to answer random baby questions, like how much formula your baby is supposed to get in  day (apparently it’s 2.5 ounces for every pound they weigh), and to track the different milestones babies reach as they grow.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though it’s annoying when people tell you that it’s okay to make mistakes when parenting, and that no one is perfect, it is also TRUE. We all want to be perfect. We are all secretly competing with other moms to be the best (don’t lie to yourself, you know you do it). But as long as you love your baby and try your best to keep them happy, then YOU ARE A GOOD MOM. YES. YOU. YOU ARE A GREAT MOM! I know it doesn’t always feel like it, and that you get frustrated… but to this tiny human, you are their whole world. You feed them when they are hungry, you change their diaper when they are wet/poopy, you hold them and make them feel safe and warm and comforted. You are a rock star to your kid(s). A freaking super hero. I try not to forget this, and I hope you remember it as well.

Rock on, super moms!

J

Stay-At-Home Mom: Day 1

Hello, friends. My name is Jan, and today is my first official day as a stay-at-home mom. I had a lot of reservations over the decision to stay home with my now 2 month old son, and with it being so new still, I’m not sure how I feel yet. Other than my now increased stress over money, it feels exactly the same as the last two months home on maternity leave with my son felt… yet somehow completely different. I had been working with the company that I left for a little over a year and a half, and it was a nightmare throughout my whole maternity leave. This isn’t to say that I didn’t like my job, because I did (well, as much as you can like working retail), but the way the company treated me as a new mom when going on/returning from maternity leave was just awful. I guess that made the decision a little easier. That, and how utterly impossible it is to find affordable childcare out in these cornfields.

So, here I am, writing this post on my phone, while lying on the couch with a sleeping baby on me (yes, we co-sleep, but that’s a post for another day), wondering if anyone at all will even be interested in my experiences as a SAHM/gamer mom. Worth a shot, right?

Anyway. More to come as I live each day in this new chapter of my life. Hope you’ll stick around for the journey.

J