As a new mom, there have been a few days when just getting a shower has been impossible.
So how are we supposed to find time to maintain all of our geekdoms, especially these days when there is more content to consume than ever?
The first few months of motherhood can be rough. Sleep is a fleeting dream, or it would be if I even had a chance to dream. But now that my baby has reached the ripe old age of seven months, I think I’m starting to learn how to balance being a geek with being a mom. So how do I find time for my geekiness? Here are a few things that have worked for me:
- Take advantage of pumping time. I’ve chosen to exclusively pump, but I know that not everyone is as tied to a breast pump as I am. I use that time to catch up on my reading or listening to my favorite podcasts. Even if you are only pumping while at work, that time could be utilized to whittle down your to-read pile. I read Matt Forbeck’s Dangerous Games trilogy, a book series set at GenCon, in the span of a week. If you are able to read eBooks, I find reading those rather than physical books easier to read right now, because I only need one hand to hold my eReader and turn pages.
- Be selective in your TV watching. Now might be a good time to put heavy plot-driven shows on hold and watch something with less of a narrative. My husband and I enjoy watching @midnight hosted by Chris Hardwick on Comedy Central. Three celebrity contestants compete to be the funniest person on the internet. We get some good laughs and don’t have to worry about a narrative thread.
Realize that you won’t be able to stay current with every TV show and prioritize the ones that are really important to you for those rare moments when you do have time to pay more attention. You might also want to accept the fact that you will probably be exposed to spoilers at some point. Unless you are taking a total break from social media. But social media is your best friend right now, which brings me to my next point.
- Embrace social media. Facebook is a great way to connect with other people, and you may be desperate for some interaction that does not consist of making raspberries or singing lullabies. I’ve used it to see photos of all the conventions I’m not able to attend. Sounds sad, I know, but I’m actually brainstorming ideas for future costumes. I’m also a member of a closed group of fans of a podcasting network, and the members are constantly linking articles relevant to my interests. I also use Twitter to follow the doings of my favorite actors and podcasters. I’ve also used Twitch and YouTube to watch video games being played when I don’t have the time to play games but am still interested in them.
- Video games! If you’re a gamer, find games that are easily put down. Mobiles games or turn-based games have worked best for me. Two of the games I’ve been playing since my baby was born are Massive Chalice, a new tactical strategy game, and Alpha Centauri, an old (very old) favorite. Both are turn-based, making it quite easy to save and turn away from when needed. I canceled my monthly subscription to World of Warcraft when I realized that I just wasn’t logging in anymore. While some people might find it easy to log in every once in awhile and do a few quests, the game was no longer compelling enough to me to make the effort.
- Lastly, meet up with other geeks! If you’ve never tried meetup.com, it’s a great site for finding local groups of people that share your interests. You’ll probably want to arrange babysitting unless you are certain the group is kid friendly. You may even have a geeky parent group in your area, or if not, start your own!
One of my hobbies that I majorly geek out about is knitting. I still manage to make it to my local weekly knitting group, although not as often as I like. More often than not, though, I have my little one with me and he gets to be oohed and aahed over by an extended circle of aunties, and my arms get I break (and I actually get some knitting done).
If you’re not quite at the point where you are able or want to get out of the house, having close friends over for a game night is another option. People will want to come over anyway to see the baby, but while baby’s asleep, you can play some board games.
If your friends are truly close, they won’t mind if your house is a mess and may even bring food with them (an added plus). One of my closest friends came to visit when my baby was a few weeks old, and we played Dominion and I taught her to play Lords of WaterDeep. We did have to take occasional breaks, but I was thrilled that I got to play any games at all.
These are just a few of the ways I am keeping my geek identity while also learning to be a new mother.
One day my son will be old enough for me to teach him how to be a geek, but for now, I’m just learning how to be a mom and a geek at the same time.