"I can haz GAMING AND ADULTHOOD @ teh saem taeim?"

I am in my mid-20's, and unlike most of my friends who are still doing post-grad or living at home with the 'rents while trying to get a job or a doing an internship, I have a husband and a child and a job that actually is full time and has benefits (I know, rare, right?  Well let's see how much longer it exists thanks to budget cuts).

So, to some extent, there's this expectation on me to be "an adult."

When I turned 18 and then 21, there were clear expectations from others.  I was supposed to smoke a cigarette, drink some beer, buy a scratcher or two from 7-11.  Eventually, I gained more responsibility when I got married and then got pregnant and had a baby.  Now that I'm a mom, there's this weird expectation to become this  completely different person, as though I am supposed to start having orgasms every time it's time to do the taxes or give a standing ovation to the nightly news and throw the comics section of the newspaper to the ground in lieu of the business section.

Not only this, but even around other moms, I'm supposed to want to go off to the spa and buy uncomfortable shoes and go to the mall (ugh, maybe if it's Gamestop it'd be fine with me, but clothes shopping is the WORST).  I guess that one reason I don't have many other "mom friends" is because we really don't have anything in common.  They all took the "mom kool-aid" and are all about fashion and soap operas, and I'm still geeky and creative and different.

The way that I interact with my daughter is a bit different than the way that other moms interact with their children.  When I am around other moms and their kids, they treat them like they're getting in the way of enjoying life, like they didn't really understand what they were signing up for when they got pregnant.  I absolutely love my daughter and we have a lot of fun together.  We love to go walking and while I have clear expectations for her to behave in public, I don't treat her like I feel like I'm wasting my time, which bothers me when I see other moms basically giving the "oh god, I'd rather be getting my nails done" look.

Now, this isn't all moms, but I've generally noticed that other women who game and are in relationships tend to be child-free or otherwise do not care to have children.  Many more women who are married to gamers are still into all "that girly stuff" and basically see the gaming as just an extension of the stereotypical beer-bellied Homer Simpson watching TV and being generally useless, (IE: completely expected behavior). 

To some extent, as long as a man has a job, he's not expected to "grow up" in any other ways.  But there's this whole weird Stepford Wife Mode that women are expected (and build themselves up into) to become, so they're shoe-horned into sinking tons of money into stupid make up and name brand purses.

And this brings me to another thought-why isn't gaming allowed to be something a mature adult can play?  I mean, a good number of games coming out today are rated M for Mature, but for some reason, I am guessing that the majority of those buying these games aren't over 50 years old.  In fact, the majority of those who buy M titles are from the ages of 17 to 21.  And if you've ever met any 17 to 21 year olds, you'll probably agree that a good number of them are not what you might consider "mature."

So yeah, I've found it hard to make friends with other female gamers my age, and generally the children of the moms I know are more fun to talk games with than the moms themselves, who look at me like I'm talking Moon Speak.

I just wish that I didn't feel like I'm the only mom who plays games that don't start with FarmVille and end with Online Poker (and most of these women will swear up and down that they are not "gamers" because these are not "real" games because they don't involve FPS or a drain hopping Italian).

Maybe that makes me immature, but then again, I pay my taxes, keep myself out of debt, budget the finances, keep the apartment clean and nice, and do basic car and bicycle maintenance myself.  Just because I also enjoy gaming, composing music, creative writing, drawing comics and other assorted fun stuff doesn't mean that I am somehow not an adult.

So what about you?  Where are you on the "continuum" of maturity?  Do people consider you mature and adult?  Or are you still dealing with disrespect from those around you because of your desires and habits?