Hobby and family balance: Wife's perspective

This is a Guest Post by my Wife.

At first glance, the room resembles a ship wreck. Various items strewn about. There’s the storage cabinet that holds arms, legs, body parts of all sorts but neatly organized I might add, yet so full that it permanently stays ajar. A decorative rug that once proudly welcomed guests to our home, has now been banished here, it sadly wears the stains of burnt umber and regal blue. Then there’s the paint spatters on the newly laid, just paid off, hard wood floors, that was an interesting “discussion.” There’s a bookcase that sits on top of an antique milk crate, home to every color of paint ever created.

In this room is where 40k happens. It’s the “studio.” Where we laugh uncontrollably, talk out homework and study for tests, make painful decisions, but most of all it’s where the transformation of a few pieces of plastic and metal come together to create the dark lord and solders of an evil army.

All that is 40K is in this room. No where else does it extend in to our home. It is a hobby, not our life. Where do you draw the line? How much space taken up is too much? How much time devoted to the 40K world is too much? If you are asking this question, then you have already found the answer. It’s time to scale back. Of course for the single fellows, you can fill the walls of your entire apartment, or for some, the bedroom in your parents house, with your proudly painted armies, tanks and terrian.

You have the right to over do it and you should enjoy it.
Ask me how to keep a girl and your 40K in your life…maybe we’ll discuss that another time. For the married guys, there is a delicate balance to this lifestyle, especially if the little ones are involved.

My husband gave up the hobby after college, he was looking for a career, imagine that! Years flew by and boxes of miniature men and demon faced solders collected dust in his closets. But then after a few years of marriage he decided to pick it back up again. We were going through that phase of needing “a personal hobby”. I have mine too by the way. At first I was like “you are so weird, what are these things, like little men?” Which to this day we refer to 40K in our house as “little men stuff” and “honey I am going to the little man store.”

As the years passed I could see that a tough day at work could be erased in seconds when he and our Daughter would sit down to the painting table to paint miniatures together. With each beautifully painted and intricate detailed piece, he was enjoying the hobby more than he ever had. I knew then I would have to accept “little men” and make many compromises. What I didn’t know then was how much I would benefit from it.

So this is how it goes. We have learned that if our Daughter and I stay home and hang out in the “studio,” nothing 40K gets done. So we leave and head to the barn, that’s our hobby. I don’t feel guilty for spending the entire day at the barn with the horses, because I am actually helping him to get his work done by being gone. And of course he encourages me to go, because then he will get his work done and appear to be the supportive husband! Weekdays are for the career, weeknights are for homework. So 40K thrives on weekends and days off.

No “little men” on holidays and anniversaries. There have been times where I will say to him “we need to work outside this weekend and take care of the lawn.” He strikes a compromise, “If we get it all done on Saturday, then maybe I can squirrel away some time on Sunday?” After all, it does help to pay the bills, what wife could argue with that?

His trips to the hobby store are also opportunities for us to head to the barn. See how well it works out? At all times in our marriage I will always support his 40K hobby. Why? Because he supports me. I don’t understand the rules and can’t see the fun it it, but he does and that is all that matters. It cannot be one sided. Wives cannot spend ridiculous amounts of money on shoes, purses, clothes and then complain that their husbands spend too much time with 40K after they have worked at their day job all week.

Of course the guys need to understand the fulfillment we get from buying a new purse. If it means that you sit down and write it out on a calendar and figure out what works for you, then that’s what you do. Only good will come from carefully balancing your hobby and your home life. Involve your children, you will be surprised how excited they will get when they finish painting their model that you have walked them through step by step. The time spent with you is priceless for them.

We have carefully learned to balance our life with 40K and we have never been happier. I can only hope that those of you reading this will too find the perfect balance to this lifestyle. On that note, it’s time to head to the barn, he’s got deadline!

And there you have it guys, from the woman (in my life) in charge. Don't be scared, let her know what you think. - Ron

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. My wife would probably share those confidences. 40k fills a positive aspect in my life. It gives me an outlet to go out that doesn't involve beer, but the sort of 'men time' she gets. The painting (I paint in front of the TV) means I'm actually less distracted than if I'm hived in on some show... and its sooo relaxing.

    My Son (18 months) and daughter (3 on friday) are working on their first two monsters (Chaos Terminators) and the WIP shots are on my blog.

    Kids, pain'in monstas (as Ptol calls them) and gaming are positive aspects of my life, our life.

  2. Well written. I enjoyed that (and forced my wife to read it). Mrs. Saikowski, as someone who has reaped the benefits of your husband's talent for 40k conversions let me extend the thanks I give him to you. As a married man with a daughter I know that participation in our hobby would be impossible without the love and support of our spouses. Thank you on behalf of all of those that Ron has done work for.

  3. Insightful and well written. My hat of to Mrs. Saikowski for this one.
    I can appreciate that maybe it can seem obsessive for those who are looking in from the outside.
    Similarly while hobby may be your balance, there is a point where it is just too much.
    And for those of us who do this not as a hobby but as a way of making money, yeah there is a point where you can spend too much of your time off working on hobby!

  4. My partner wrote a similar piece a couple of months ago on our club blog. http://www.rollwithit.org.uk/?p=427

    I do wonder sometimes how they can be so tolerant. Those of us with understanding partners are extremely lucky indeed but we still have to be aware where the line is.

    In the event that doesn't work, try this one; http://www.rollwithit.org.uk/?p=358. lol.

  5. Great post, thank you. As a grad student, hobby time is a welcome relief from researching, writing, and teaching all day. In fact, I do some of my best thinking while I am working away. In short, my wife fully supports my indulgence in the hobby. Isn't marriage good? Now, if I could just figure out how to both read about and do the hobby ... hmmmmm ...

  6. Nice post Mrs S.

    My better half has certainly noticed that when I've had a tough day/week at work, a couple of hours with brush in hand returns me to a calmer state of mind - it's like meditation. She regularly says things like "lets get the boring stuff like cleaning the house done quickly so that you can get a chance to paint this afternoon" - very much appreciated I can tell you.

  7. Great stuff. My wife has always understood that my hobby is an important part of my life but also that it's not my entire life. She once commented that if she had to be a 'Gamer widow' then it was better than being a 'golf widow' or a 'football widow' because at least I'm home.

  8. Great post! Many thanks Ron and especially Mrs Ron :-)

    I have been grooming my 9yr old to be my gaming opponent for the past 4 years - he is now an adept board gamer, can beat me with alarming frequency as a Genestealer player in Space Hulk and has started painting his "Salamander Dudes".

    I have had to carefully select what games we get into, and am a long way from the linkes of FoW and my old favourites, but I wouldnt have it any other way.

  9. Thanks for the feedback guys, I'll be showing Mrs. S all the comments and getting her to post her comments here later on.

  10. Fantastic article! I really hope it helps some of the other women and wives out there. It's good to understand your partner's hobbies or at least the need for them. Moreso when she (read: me!) likes the hobby AND buying the shoes, purses and clothes. :D

  11. I come from a much different perspective, as a gaming wife; but the need for balance still exists. Finding a way to include the kids is one of the best sanity savers I've ever encountered, and I'm super excited to see seedlings of game-interested kids due to those efforts on my (and my husband's) part.

    Ron, you're a lucky guy. A wife that supports you,a blessing. Added bonus? Horses are expensive. Makes 40K seem cheap.

  12. Great article by the Missus.

    My wife is very tolerant of my hobby. Though, I've had to scale back a good deal lately with having two children under 2 years old now. It is definitely a great stress reliever when I can sneak into the office after bedtime and paint a bit.

  13. Love it! I'm going to get my wife to read it as soon as she gets home!

    My wife too is very understanding - although she does hate it if I send her into Games Workshop with a shopping list! 'Do I have to ask them for "Chainmail"? Can't I just say "silver"?

    We also have a pet name for the hobby. We often say that I like to play with 'little plastic men' - but that went quite wrong once when she told someone I played with 'little boys'!

  14. From Mrs. S:

    Thanks everyone for your generous comments. It's exciting to hear that 40K is contributing to healthy relationships. I would like to send a shout out to the wives/girlfriends, it's good to hear the support that you provide for your men, let her know that I am here if she wants to chat :) I am going to keep this short because the man is giving me signals that I am taking too long.

    Suneokun: I'm with your wife about the beer.
    This is how I see it, my husband could be out getting drunk, at strip clubs or gambling... so putting up with 40K, I have nothing to complain about!

    Loquacious: Yes, horses are expensive, especially when you have two. 40K is merely pocket change. I am interested in your perspective of being a "gaming wife", from what I have seen your kind are rare...I find it kind of neat:)

    Darren Lysenko: "Chainmail" is silver in wife lingo, I know because I have a pair of high heels in that color! All you have to do is keep it simple for us.

  15. Great article. My wife and I had a rocky start as I was not ready to ne tamed. When I asked her if I could start up an old hobby that involved plastic space men and dice, she laughed. When I started she would make fun of me, but then we would talk about the fluff behind the armies and we would laugh together.

    Over time, we started spending more time together because of the hobby. We put our three children to bed at eight and then it is time to watch Bravo or the Food channel with her while I model or paint. Now we both get to enjoy each others company while each doing something we like. I get to make fun of Project RunwAY and she gets to make fun of things like my space bugs and all of our funny blog handles.

    Thanks again for a great article.

  16. Old SchooL" That seems to be a theme throughout, spending time together.

    Glad you liked it. My Wife is already planning her next piece for November.

  17. My wife is very tolerant of my nerdly obsession. She even tolerates that my son is getting into it.

    She does occasionally complain about my minis taking over the house but she and I have worked out a modus vivendi that keeps the peace. She even encouraged me to join a gaming league :)

  18. Andrew: Tolerant is a good word.

    My Wife does not let my minis take over the house, we have an agreement that everything stays in the studio and if something comes "out," it's only because it's being painted outside or is on it's way to be delivered to someone.


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