The cosplay community is ever-changing these days, but on a personal level, I’ve also had a lot of thoughts on how things are so different for me in this hobby lately. Backstory for those unfamiliar: I became pregnant in 2014, and gave birth to my daughter in March 2015. I’ve been in the throws of parenting for over two years now, and am still adjusting to it all.
This post isn’t intended to vent or complain, but rather to update friends on how it REALLY is for me in the present, since social media tends to show only the highlights of being a parent, and not a realistic picture. No two families have the same exact dynamics — keep in mind it’s a little different for EVERY parent, depending on geography, income, extended family involvement, access to childcare, etc. I’d say it’s different for every cosplayer-parent that I know, too. Many of my friends and acquaintances that have young children all have different circumstances. Some haven’t skipped a beat with cosplay since starting a family, while others have stepped back completely, and some have achieved a sort of middle ground.
There’s no right or wrong way to balance cosplay after having children, as long as everyone in the family is happy & healthy. It’s all about getting into a groove and figuring out what works. Here’s where I’m at during this season of life.
Cosplay has taken a backseat, for now.
And honestly, I am okay with that. In my 20’s, cosplay was a very huge part of my life and took up the majority of my spare time. It is still part of my life now, but to a lesser degree. Honestly, this happened gradually, and not just with the birth of my child. Even before I was expecting, about two years prior I was very consumed with my professional goals and starting to get more into other activities and interests. My evening routine started to shift from crafting for myself to cooking, working out, and spending more quality time with my husband. After our baby (“Bina”) was born, I managed to squeeze in crafting sessions each week, and still do, just not for hours on end like I used to.
Shopping trips are more intentional.
These days, I usually do not go into JoAnn or other fabric/crafting stores without a shopping list or specific goal in mind. Time is of the essence when it comes to parenting, even more so now that the baby has grown into a toddler. She’s still a pleasant shopping buddy sometimes, but I can’t just wing it, or go browsing fabrics with no specific project in mind. I generally plan things out, research materials, and make lists ahead of time to make the most of the excursion. It has also been helpful to avoid peak times to minimize long waits and meltdowns. Of course, I do leave Bina with her daddy and venture off on my own sometimes, which leaves room for spontaneity and more leisurely shopping trips when it does happen!
Online shopping has become essential.
Often times I have purchased crafting supplies online to save money, or to avoid a long, tedious interaction with a person (can you tell I’m an INFJ?) in-shop, such as for a bulk fabric order. Rewind to Fall 2015, when I was shopping for a large quantity of casa satin for my Princess Peach dress, I ended up just ordering online because it was easier than filling out an order form at the store. The same goes for makeup supplies and shoes in which I already know the exact products and colors, sizes, etc. that I use. It saves so much time as opposed to driving all over town when the things I need may not even be in stock. Let’s be honest, I’d rather use that extra time to spend with my daughter, finish my costumes or SLEEP!
Attending conventions is tricky.
I can’t just plan for myself anymore — I also must consider the needs of my family and make plans around and with them. In September 2015, we were still living in Mississippi and made a trip to Atlanta. This was so we could see friends and so I could cosplay at my “home con,” Anime Weekend Atlanta. The husband and I had to figure out who would have the baby during which times. I had to work around my pumping schedule for costumes and photoshoots. Bina wasn’t sleeping well during the trip, so of course neither was I, making me very delirious. I had a very difficult time focusing during photoshoots, and even felt like I would pass out at some points due to sheer exhaustion. Even so, it was a much-needed break from reality that I’m happy I got to take part of. It’s just different pace now, and as a result, I have taken a step back from conventions because the planning gets complicated.
As she gets older, it will be easier to leave her with another caretaker for longer periods at a time. Now that we are local to Atlanta once more, I can also make day trips to cons now and may start attending events more often. Being closer to a support network is also such a game-changer.
I am never on time anymore.
Ever. I used to be proud of what an awesome, considerate, punctual cosplayer I was in my pre-child life. Now the best I can do is give a time range to friends and photographers of when I’ll wear x costume, and hope for the best. Even if I give you a time, I’ll probably not make it then because of traffic, someone was hungry, or I messed up my eyeliner for the fifth time. I apologize in advance for anyone who (still) wants to shoot with me. And yes, those 8:00am photoshoots are also now a thing of the past.
I have zero tolerance for discomfort.
Look. I put up with a LOT of discomfort while I was pregnant, an unmeasurable amount giving birth, and then even MORE for an extended time after that. Something has to give, and unfortunately, it’s probably those 4″ stiletto heels or giant pair of wings held with a steel-boned corset. My point is, I’m probably going to be wearing “simple” costumes for a while, or at least ones that do not induce a great deal a pain.
I value the process over the product.
Back in the day, I used to be ALL ABOUT cranking out new costumes. A new costume for each day of the event… at the bare minimum. Now I cringe thinking about it. The process of creating costumes has become more fulfilling to me than the actual finished product. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE wearing new, finished costumes too, but the creative process has become very therapeutic and essential in my life. I’d even venture to say working on my craft helped me overcome the dark days of postpartum depression. It definitely gives me something fun and extra to focus on during down-time.
I now have a built-in cosplay partner.
Although things are verrrrry different now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Becoming a mother has been life-changing, difficult at times, yet extremely rewarding. Now that Bina is mobile and getting older, I plan to start including her into my costuming adventures! I already have a growing list of costumes I’d like to create and wear together. My husband is still the great occasional cosplay partner, too. Family costumes are the best!