This is a rambling post about life and Warhammer, and how to have them both. Please bear with me, but it is something that has come up recently, and I know I am not the only one to have this going on.
I know a lot of us are a bit older than the crowd playing the current versions of Games Workshop's games across the world. Part of our movement is of course the nostalgia for when we were young and miniatures weighed enough to knock out your friend if you ever threw one! I also think we all are addicted to the old stuff because of the feel and emotion the old figures had compared to the current offerings. Luckily an ethos that seems to be making a comeback as highlighted on many of the blogs around our community.
But we are also, most of us, old enough to have significant others (normally read bosses!), children, and in some cases grandchildren. Of course, most of us have some large hobby dreams, projects and events that we are constantly planning out in our heads. And a lot of time, these two things can come into conflict. Many painting nights have been given up because of nightmares or a sick child, a wedding we don't really want to attend, etc. Even events have been missed. Since family is probably the most important thing in most of our lives, most often it is the hobby we enjoy that suffers. I am completely aware that gaming is not the only hobby that has this aspect, nor am I unfamiliar with the "Warhammer Widows" syndrome that occurs during most large conventions. Most often over here that means they let us go, and they go shopping. Trying to hide credit card receipts after these weekends is a time-honored American tradition it seems!
Finding the right mix between hobby and family can be a very difficult thing to do. Of course, some of us are lucky enough to find someone who plays stuff themselves (even if it is board games, not necessarily Warhammer), but others would be downright upset if their bosses invade their "Me" time. I've had girlfriends in the past who played, and girlfriends who completely hated my hobby. Luckily I now have someone who tolerates it, and even helps me out (with planning, making sure I have "me" time, and even basing figures for me in a rush for a tournament or large event like Adepticon - which is great for me!). But if I let gaming overtake too much of the family time, I am pulled up and set straight. So even with toleration, that mix of time can be narrow.
I have two older boys (17 and 15) and two younger girls (3.5 and almost 2), not to mention dogs and cats. Luckily one of the boys is definitely into the hobby, while one will play board games and other stuff. Of course, the girls are a bit young, though they both love painting pictures, and they are fascinated with Daddy's Toys, even if for now I kinda have to keep them away, or find broken figs everywhere! So I am hopeful they will join my step-boys and play stuff with their dad when they get old enough.
I tend to sleep very little, so I do get a lot of hobby time late at night after the girls have gone to bed (and quite often after the boys have as well). This works great in theory, but in reality it means I tend to get out the paints 2 times a week, and either play or read stuff a night or so more. Painting every night use to be quite easy, as I tended to in front of the tv every night when I got home - painting away and in general ignoring the tv (usually good movies playing - I suggest things you know by heart while you paint, so you are more listening than watching, things like Conan, LOTR, Harry Potter, Hoosiers, etc), but now I have dinners to prepare, diapers to change, pajamas to put on, and everything else. So evening time can get bad, especially given all the chores you have to do after the kids are to bed.
Sometimes you are just too tired to paint, especially since for me I have to actually get out the paints and figures as in our current home I don't have an area that kids (of some age) can not get to. I have a painting station set up, and an old mail order box with my current minis, so I have made that bearable now - I highly suggest it for anyone else who has to put things away from the little mitts and grubby paws of the little ones ;) .
As far as getting special time, it is just about planning, and recognizing that your plans will have to follow what is available. Gen Con this year falls when my girl is having her gymnastics reunion (her team won a state title and she was on the US Tumbling Team - though for self preservation, I won't mention when), so for her this is a big deal. This means I miss Gen Con, even though I wanted to go and help Ronnie at Mantic with events. But this year I get Adepticon, one other tournament (current edition stuff) and one other big event. I will also get an occasional game in at home or at my local shop, but those are "evening or day events" and are much easier than 4-5 day events.
I firmly believe that your family is more important than your hobby, and of course, you have to take care of the important things first. Health, family and the bills all come first. But you still have to figure out your hobby time, or you just won't be happy. I wish I had a great guide, but the best thing I can think of is flexibility, communication (with the boss), and drive. You can still have some great dreams and hobby projects (and I'm not getting rid of any minis anytime soon). But have you curtailed what is the "dream" into what is possible? In fact Mr. Saturday recently had a blog about something similar - Time & Tide Wait For No Gamer.
So does anyone have the "golden ticket"? Best advice? Secret time traveling friends in a blue booth? Are you one of those unlucky single guys ;) ? How do you fight the good fight and still have your family?