Customs & Rules

Do you ever wonder how “things” got started and question why we continue to do things . . because that’s how we’ve always done them??

One of the comments about the representative’s visit questioned whether it was rude to visit without calling ahead.  It’s all in how you were raised and what you were taught.  Because many people were taught that you needed to call before dropping by to visit someone, I rarely visit anyone without calling first.  And that means that sometimes when I’m passing by someone’s house and I think about visiting them, I don’t do it because I hadn’t called first.  But, I think of my grandparents and their friends.  None of them had telephones and yet their doors were always open and visitors were welcome anytime.  There was always a cake or pie in the little primitive corner cabinet. I want my home to be open to friends or visitors any time.  Well, that goofball that rang my doorbell at almost midnight wasn’t really welcome so maybe I do need a few rules!

Why is it considered rude to drop by without calling first?  I have nothing to hide.  My house is usually a bit messy and when it isn’t a bit messy . . it’s a whole lot messy! 🙂  If I’m too busy, I’ll say “I just have a few minutes to spare but you’re welcome to visit for a few minutes.” Actually, too often I just stand outside and visit because Speck is so unfriendly and he’s very vocal about expressing his dissatisfaction with guests in the house.

I hope that I’m never too busy to spend a few minutes with someone who has taken the time to come by and see me.  But I do respect that others feel differently about drop in guests and I rarely drop in on friends.

Another thing that is important to me and causes quite a juggling act is that we all sit down at the table and have dinner together.  It doesn’t bother a lot of people that they’re all grabbing dinner and eating on the run and not sitting down together and with all the activities going on in households today, it’s probably almost impossible for some families to sit down together and have a meal.  I don’t feel like our day is complete til we’ve all sat down at the same time and eaten dinner.  This semester Vince is teaching 2 night classes and Chad has 3 night classes so try getting them home for dinner at the same time.  As of yesterday, we’re trying to have lunch together and dinner is pretty much grab & go and I’m not liking it one bit.


When did it get ok for the family to eat at different times?  This is probably just the way I was raised and it may be that some have never all sat down at the same time for dinner and therefore, it’s no big deal to them.

What are some things you do that you do just because you’ve always done them?  Which ones could you change and never miss a beat and which ones would cause terrible grief and mental therapy if you had to change them?



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    Meal time is a pet peeve of mine Judy. Since we are retired folks and it’s now just my husband and I at home we have only ourselves to please. My husband wants to have “supper” in the evening because that’s what he’s always had – and when he was working and the children were in school that made sense. I want to have our big meal at noon – it’s healthier I think and since we both are overweight it makes more sense to have a bigger meal when we are using our bodies more and a smaller meal in the evening when we are settling in, watching tv, doing hand sewing, etc. But a 63 year old male doesn’t seem inclined to change what he’s always done! blessings, marlene

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    My family always enjoyed supper together as well – it was the one time we all sat together and talked. I was always amazed at my children’s friends, when they came over, were surprised that we sat at the dining room table and ate supper. They would tell me that at their house, just grabbed a plate and either ate in front of the tv or in their room.

    The biggest adjustment I have had to make over the last few years is in family holidays, now that two of my children are married. My son’s wife insist they spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family that live about 2.5 hours away. Its been a difficult transition, since these are important times in my family history – but you know, you do what you have to do to keep peace in the family.

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    I want/need to work on that eating dinner together… We always ate together growing up…

    Unfortunately, my husband got the opportunity to work overtime most of this week & next… & being 26 weeks pregnant does not make you want to slave over a hot stove! (Though I did make zucchini bread on Monday.)

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    We always had dinner together growing up… and dinner was at 6 p.m., even if that meant my dad went back to work after a quick meal. Sure, there were days it didn’t happen as my sister and I got older and more involved in extra-curricular activities, but it was still a priority.

    We also used to go out for supper on Friday nights… not to a fancy or expensive meal, but just “out.” When my sister and I were young, we’d often *drop in* on other family members afterwards to visit for an hour or two. My mom even had an “open kitchen” on Saturday mornings when I was really little — she’d fry doughnuts (no kidding!) and people would come over to eat them and chat.

    And yet today, I wouldn’t dream of dropping in on anyone without calling!

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    Growing up we had all meals at the table and when my children were growing up, we had breakfast and dinner together at the table (minus my exDH who felt the need to make a stop on his way home every night). Dan and I have gotten into the habit of eating dinner on TV trays, sometimes together, sometimes not. Not very family-like, huh?

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    I also like sitting down for dinner as a family and when it is grab and go around here I tend to get crabby inside and feel like my world is out of control. When my brothers and I were little my dad was gone working two – three jobs so it was just my mom and us. She was a big believer in being the “constant” in our lives and dinner was a way for us to stay connected.
    I like people to call before they come over so I can feel “ready”. That’s not to say that if someone just drops by I am not happy to see them. The control freak in me gets told to shush and that it’s more important to spend time with friends and family then how the house looks when they come over.
    This was an interesting topic Judy. It made me think today! 🙂

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    We always try to have our meals together as a family, plus whoever else is here. If someone isn’t going to be here for a meal, they have to give me 24 hour notice otherwise they will be expected to be here. The table (very large bar counter) is set and everything is served in bowls (no kettle serving for this chick), its the most relaxing time of day…..Something we don’t do is discuss any issues that could cause tension while we are eating…..mild manner conversation only….things digest so much easier that way.
    Most days, meal time is the only time we see each other.

    Karen L

    PS Something else we do as a family is Mass on Sunday……sleeping in on Sunday is not an option!!!!

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    We are having the same trouble getting the three of us together for dinner. Hubby teaches all day, then takes care of the cemetery at night…Daughter V has day-time college classes, then works the night shift…me, I just here!

    I always try and make sure the house is realitively clean and the chores are done on Friday so we can have fun on Saturday…even if I don’t have anything planned for Saturday. I also try and pre make/cook Sunday’s dinner on Saturday so we can have a nice quiet Sabbath.

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    My husband and I always had dinner at a table with our four children. And always we said a blessing before we started eating. Today, being retired, we still have dinner at the table and a blessing is said before we start eating. But one thing I wish I could change is eating at 5;30 or 6:00pm. I would love for the time to eat to be more flexible, but he has always eaten between 5:30 and 6:00, so I just accept it as a minor adjustment in my life. We have been doing this together for almost 52 years.

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    Martha says

    We eat most evening meals together as a family. (Some are eaten around the coffee table as we catch up with each other.) Now, with one of our children married, we have started a new tradition. We eat ‘Monday night supper’ (everyone comes) in the dining room with the TV off. I plan holiday celebrations near the date to stop the -in-laws battle over the couples.

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    Since it’s only DH and I we eat breakfast and dinner together when he’s not traveling. Before I remarried and was a single parent, meals were when I cooked them so my son always ate together.

    I would call someone if I wanted to drop by and visit them. Most people I know make a call too.

    Great post!

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    My motto has always been” If you’ve come to see me, you’re welcome! If you’ve come to see my house, make an appointment!! I do like a heads up when company is coming, but it is not necessary.

    My sweetie and I usually eat on trays in front of the TV, due to the fact that the camp is so small, there is no table – just my cutting and sewing tables!! No food near the fabric!! LOL

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    Judy– I get caught in pj’s without my bra!~ And my house is messy. But, after losing several people in my life I have decided I would rather see them no matter what, and I have lots of people who drop in spur of the moment.

    Meals, yes it’s nice to eat together, and often I call friends and relatives to come and eat with DH and I. But a regular time, no, because it’s only DH and I, and he works overnites.

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    Linda H says

    Judy, I was surprised that the Representative did not call before coming –both for his convenience as well as yours. I was impressed that he came at all –and with answers to your concerns. I prefer a heads up before people call, but I’m happy to see them either way. Of course, my life as a retiree is less hectic now, so that makes a difference.
    We have always had breakfast and dinner together as a family. It has changed a bit now, in that DH often is up quite early because he can’t sleep. He fixes himself some breakfast and then has a cup of coffee when I eat. Dinner together (between 6:30 and 7:30) is always special whether it is leftovers or roast beef. DH lights a candle and puts in a cd. He has done this for years. When I was growing up, no one spoke during the meal. Strange! While our children were at home, we did the usual catch up, but then DH led the conversation into interesting subjects. When the table was cleared, he led us in Bible reading and prayer. It was a great family time. As empty nesters, we have our Bible and prayer time after breakfast.
    If I could change anything, it would be to live closer to our children and their families. As it is, we are a continent apart –too far. Some day!

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    Nancy W. says

    I’ve been thinking alot about this post. As wonderful as technology is, I think phones and computers have really isolated us in some ways. When I was growing up people sometimes called but usually they just dropped in. For me, as a kid this was great as there was always something going on. People seem to “visit” alot more back then. But, my mother was always up and dressed and our house was never messy. So, while I miss the way people used to drop in, I really love my soft baggy cotton tee shirts (and no bra) and if I decide to sit at my machine with my coffee and piece instead of putting the dishes in the dishwasher that’s OK. I like to think my mother would be a little envious.

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    mawbell says

    I’ll bet you are wishing that state rep had a personal policy of calling before dropping in, huh?

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    I’ve never really done anything because “it’s the way it’s always been done”. Well, perhaps I just haven’t given it any thought since it’s probably an “auto Pilot” thing. Dinners are important. I like sitting down as a family and catching up on my dd’s life. Yea, and my dh too! I most always have candles going at dinner. It’s a ritual for me, it sets the mood to “we’ve got time to listen and be together”. Saying grace is another ritual as well as making a toast prior to digging in! As important as rituals are, they are a dying breed! I’ve come to the conclusion that life is as busy as you allow it to be. I find many people love to use that phrase “I’m too busy!” Sad! Many of my dd’s friends are taken aback when they have dinner with us. Their dinner is usually in front of the tv while the parents are busy doing something else. As for dropping in, Judy no need for you to call, come on over! I don’t mind “drop ins” as long as it’s not an everyday habbit! ;o) Great thinking post! Thanks!