Nintendo at naptime: how to play video games after having a baby

In the maelstrom of new motherhood, doing something fun and familiar can be a huge stress reliever. And why shouldn’t that thing be gaming?

Here’s one of the more bizarre and pressurising fictions of motherhood: the second you give birth, everything in your previous life instantly becomes meaningless. You might have spent 30 years enjoying skiing or novels or, you know, a career, but as soon as you’re someone’s mummy you become singularly devoted to parenthood forever. If you do have any spare time in between tending to the ceaseless needs of your infant you’re supposed to spend it either baking or aggressively researching local schools.

Oddly enough, we don’t expect dads to give up all their hobbies and redirect their energies into sewing bunting or father-baby yoga. Mums shouldn’t have to either. In the first few months after having a baby, I was desperate to retain some sense of personhood amongst all the feeding and nappy-changing and not-sleeping and marvelling at my son’s tiny hands. But a lot of the things I really enjoy – travel, reading things longer than five paragraphs, drinking more than one glass of wine a night – truly are off the table for a while, as they are wildly impractical. During the first three months of my son’s life, playing video games was one of the only things I could realistically do for myself. They are relatively cheap and you don’t have to spend two hours trying to leave the house.

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