Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Five: Rules

Jan posted an intriguing Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals:

"After a family vacation with our four children and three additional "partners," I am more aware of rules, spoken and unvoiced. Expectations are not always clearly expressed, but are still expected. . . . unbeknown to all unless one is not fulfilled! So how about writing about rules in your families and workplaces? Choose one or more for each category, especially if one seems odd or funny to you now."

1. Formal rules in family of origin

You go to church on Sunday. Even my father, who was usually hung over on Sunday, went to church, but he rarely made it before the noon or 1 pm Mass. I wonder if that late Mass was designed for Irishmen like my dad, or for priests like my uncle, who was also usually hung over on Sundays. Nothing like living in the middle of a Brian Friel play.

2. Unwritten and unspoken rules in family of origin
Only mom cooks in the kitchen, and don't get in her way or question the menu. Said uncle would often call on Sunday at 2 to ask what my mother was serving for Sunday dinner. If it was beef, pork or lamb, he'd come, often bringing another priest whose housekeeper was off on Sunday afternoon. If it was chicken, he didn't. It finally got to the point that when the phone rang at 2, my mother would simply pick it up and say "beef" or "chicken." She never complained directly to my uncle (one doesn't do that to a priest, even if he's your brother-in-law, son't you know) but made sure the rest of us knew she was unhappy. And insofar as the first part of the rule goes, I didn't learn to cook until I moved out of the house and went to grad school and had my own apartment. Now that I understand the meditative aspects of cooking, I think I get why she jealously guarded her privacy int he kitchen as she prepared meals.

3. Formal rules in current family or workplace

The cookee is never the cleanee (this translates into me cooking and PH cleaning, except when there has been a dinner party and there's too much cleaning up for one person).

4. Unwritten rules in current family or workplace

A member of this family is allowed to have a meltdown periodically and is supported in said meltdown, not criticized or fixed. That is not to say that help isn't offered; it just lets the person who is suffering be able to express that without judment. Most of the time...

5. When was a time that you became aware of different rules in different places/families than your own?

When I saw the mother of a friend beat her with a stick when we had made a mess int he kitchen. I got an occasional whack on the bottom (very occasional) but nothing like what I saw there.


Processing Counselor said...

Yes. Hearing about corporal punishment of friends when I was a child scared me.

Jennifer said...

I ,too, grew up in a "no hitting" zone and am shocked by its reality inother families.

altar ego said...

Sounds like you've made healthy transitions in your life. Glad, especially, that meltdowns are okay!

Jan said...

You helped me to realize that we, too, have the rule that the cook doesn't have to clean up! I hadn't thought of that as a "rule," but it is.