From the moment I started thinking about Rob in boyfriend terms, I resisted the word "we." The concept of "we" is fantastic: We are going out; We are getting married; We adopted a kitty. That was all fine. I was wary, however, of statements like "We hated that." Because I didn't want to speak for him. It didn't matter if we were talking about movies and not, say, politics. I don't like to assume I know what someone else is thinking, and I find that statements like "We can all agree that..." are almost always untrue. And even if Rob did dislike the movie exactly as much as I did, I reserve the right to change my mind at any time!
When I got pregnant, it suddenly became imperative that Rob and I speak in "we"s. He and I had to be on the same page--about attempting to have a home birth, about my going back to work, about who was going to sleep when--and if someone changed her mind after we'd come to a conclusion, it wasn't practical (or even possible) to agree to disagree.
The move toward plural personal pronouns became even stronger when our baby became a child who needed rules, which we would have to enforce. It does absolutely no good for me to tell Westley, "Daddy doesn't want you to climb on the coffee table"--even if I don't really have a problem with it.
I find myself very tempted to resort to phrases like "We don't..." when guiding Westley's behavior. For example, "We don't hit the kitty." Except, I think as I listen to myself, he clearly does hit the kitty. It's like ending sentences with "okay?" which drives me absolutely batshit insane when I hear it. Because, of course, the clear answer to that non-question is, in most cases, "No! Not okay!" And yet, it's so tempting to say.
I think I have only "okay?"-ed Westley once. And after I heard myself, I corrected, "Do you understand?" (I think that is what's meant by "okay?" at the end of a statement. It's actually there to ask, "do you understand?" or "did you hear me?" and not, "is that all right?") Unfortunately, I find the draw of "we" much harder to resist. But "we" isn't much better than "okay?" In using it, I'm still asking Westley to go along with a plan he doesn't like--and not saying what I really mean:
"No hitting the kitty! Hitting hurts."
I still kind of suck at saying no, despite being in a position where I'm required to say it all the time. "We" is a convenient way of avoiding the potential harshness of "no," but it's wrong for me to rely on it. As much as I like "we" as a concept for our family--We like to dance; We eat a vegan diet; We don't hit--I can't speak for Westley. I can tell him what to do and what not to do, but I can't tell him how to feel about it.
"No! Not okay!".....................................