Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

The trouble with “we”

with 5 comments

DH and I are a cohesive unit. After spending over half our lives together, it’s inconceivable that we would ever face the world any other way than with each other. Everything we do is a joint decision (except when I’m buying handbags, about which he sometimes might not find out until the item’s old enough to be classed as “this old thing?” [Just kidding, DH]).

In short, I love being a “we” with him. I love it.

DH and I – a “we” forever, I hope. Just not when it comes to household chores.

But lately we’ve started having a problem with the “we”. There are times that he uses that word and it brings out the worst in me; it makes my blood boil.

Some examples would be:

“Before we leave for school can we just make sure DD’s hair is brushed?”

“Next time the gardener comes, can we ask him to trim the bougainvillea?”

“Can we make sure that DD brushes her teeth every morning?”

“Can we ask Gerlie to sweep the yard more often?”

“Can we please hose the bird shit off the garage door?”

“Can we get DD to finish her homework before the weekend?”

All very polite, right?

But therein lies my problem: In trying to be polite and courteous to me, DH manages to irritate me beyond belief because there is no “we” involved in any of these tasks. To say that there is is to pretend that he’s here during the day to help with the things he thinks “we” should be doing.

What he actually means is: Can YOU please do that? Will YOU please check that? And when he says “we” instead of asking me outright, I always give him some snarky response, like, “Why don’t we ask Gerlie when we see her at the weekend?” or, “I don’t know – can we?”

After some time, I realised that this was what was happening, so I explained to DH why his good suggestions garner such snarky replies. “Please can you just say ‘you’ if that’s what you mean?” I said. “I find it far less offensive than the pretence that you’re involved in any of these arrangements. It drives me crazy!”

A slow “you shouldn’t have told me that” smile spread over DH’s face.

“Okay, sure,” he said. “Now… what have we cooked for dinner?”

Written by mrsdubai

November 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

5 Responses

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  1. We have a similar one. DH always says “would you like put your bike back where it’s supposed to be” and “would you like to get the salt and pepper” to which he usually gets the equally polite response from DS “no thanks” as he skips off into the distance


    November 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

  2. Argh. Nothing annoys me more!


    November 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

  3. My husband also do the ”Can we…” all the time and one day I might tell him that ”we can go play on the highway”. But he sure know the YOU word also “why didn’t you…………” or “why haven’t you……”, and that is way more annoying than WE in our home :P.

    They are lucky we love them


    November 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm

  4. Hmm. I think it’s important to find a fine line of instructing our partner vs. doing something that one is capable of doing themselves. May you find an all-consuming passion outside of household chores and child care that will enable you to inform hubby: Do try it. And doesn’t matter how you do it as long as it’s non hurtful and gets the same result.


    November 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm

  5. I use “we” for things we truly do together freely and willingly. If it’s something we agreed upon earlier and practice it continously, “we” maight be appropriate. Other stuff where it’s clearly my skill or his skill/actions, the right noun is used, not “we”.

    It’s better to express how I feel, by expressing, “I feel xxxxx” instead of using “we” which can be paternalistic/condescending. In this way, you truly send a clear message to your partner what you truly think. And for him, vice versa.

    Or say “I am angry”, “I am frustrated”…


    November 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm

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