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House rules on phone use

Growing up it seemed like we had a bunch of crazy rules.

Some of them maybe were… “Don’t sing at the table or you will marry a crazy guy” was one.

At dinner the other night, I learned that at least one other person in our group of friends had a similar rule. Of course, his family rule was “No singing at the dinner table” and had nothing to do with marrying crazy guys.

One of the rules that slayed me as a teenager was no phone calls after 9 p.m. Back in the day, this one made no sense to me whatsoever. Sure my parents went to bed early. And sure my little sister was usually asleep at that point. But why on Earth was I forced to wait until school the next day to find out the latest he said, she said?

I bucked this rule and my friends close to me knew the routine. If it was an emergency (if it happened too frequently I was certain to be found out), but if they needed to call me then they could phone.

I would grab it after one ring, always before my step-dad did, but when he would answer in his booming scary “You better not be calling after 9 p.m. voice” we would be quiet. Not say a word. Then, he would hang up — grumbling about a “breather” — while my friend and I remained on the open line.

Kids today have it so easy… cell phones, texting and IMing. Not having that obnoxious ring affords them a lot of leeway.

How old fogeyish do I sound if I admit that the “No phone calls after 9 p.m.” rule is one that I now like. And even though my kids are too young to really even use the phone other than to phone grandparents and sing songs to, it is a rule that I have tried to implement in my home.

I think that at our age now people are a whole lot more considerate about phoning a house with small children after a certain time. In my mind that certain time is 8 p.m., but I realize saying no phone calls after 8 p.m. might classify me as being a member of the loony bin. Or probably more accurately, as someone who just really doesn’t like the phone much.

My reasons are different then my parents were when I was a teenager, but the rule lives on in my house. Though enforcement is difficult since the only people who call after 9 p.m. are my in-laws. So while they don’t get the stern, “No phone calls after 9 p.m.” lecture like my friends did in high school, I might have a slightly grumpy voice when I need to go fetch my husband and then put my daughter BACK to sleep for the second time in one night.

Disclaimer and caveat… to my in-laws, love you guys!

And to my friend who is 36 weeks pregnant, you can call anytime!