I Bet Emmeline Pankhurst Was a Pain the Arse as a Child (and the truth about having a strong-willed daughter)

My eldest is awesome. She really is. She’s funny, clever and loving. The day she was born was one of the best in my life, and I still get the same buzz every time I look at her. I can not imagine my life without her, I really, really can’t.

But my god she’s bloody hard work.


For every day that I could burst with pride, there’s a day I’d like to put her in a straight jacket in the corner whilst I drown myself in gin.

It’s all my fault. I was determined upon the arrival of said daughter that as she grew up, I would be straight talking and honest with her, and in return would teach her to be honest and open. I wanted her to make her own mind up about things and I didn’t want her to grow up arrogantly thinking that everything she does or will ever do is perfect. I didn’t want her ever to be afraid of asking questions or to question the world around her. I didn’t want her to grow up in a world where she feels that she needs to accept something even if she thinks its wrong, just because someone told her so.

I’ve created a monster.

I take it all back. I do want her to accept things because I TOLD HER SO. I do want her to keep her mouth shut when people ask her opinion on things. I do wish she would be more fearful of asking questions. WHAT WAS  I THINKING???

I bet Emmeline Pankhurst was a pain in the arse as a child.

I bet that when her mother told her it was time to go for the bath, she too faced a million well reasoned points as to why she didn’t need to go in the bath. I bet when she was told to get in to her school uniform, she protested that her uniform was demoralising and that what she really wanted to wear was her tiny suffragettes outfit. I wonder if strangers told her mother “Oh you’ve got a feisty one there!” (read:why is your daughter such an argumentative little git?). I wonder if her mother’s friends reassured her that little Emmeline was ‘just strong willed’?

And I reckon, if she were alive today, she would have told her aunty that no, she wasn’t going to wear some pretty ballet shoes when she was the bridesmaid at her wedding, because those shoes are girly and rubbish and she was instead going to wear green converse. Or wellies.

The latter is just one of the ways my tiny little independent woman has asserted her authority over our household. She argues with everything. No, I mean, everything. You give her something she doesn’t want. She argues about it. You give her something she wants: She argues about it. I need to explain myself over every request to her. Only once she is satisfied with my answer will she consider doing it. In addition, even the stuff she does do, I get an answer for. I’m not kidding.


This conversation actually happened:

Me: “Darling, don’t scoot too close to the road!”

Sprog 1: “why?”

Me: “Because you might get run over. I want you to be safe.”

Sprog 1: “Oh Mummy. Why are you so obsessed with me being safe all the time? You’re holding me back in life! it’s ridiculous….”

My husband came home from work one night to be told that she had had a “really stressful day” because “Mummy is being completely unreasonable, and expecting [her] to be a SLAVE.” I explained that telling her to tidy up her own mess is not slavery, and that maybe she could explain to Daddy why all of her belongings were now on her bedroom floor. Without saying a word to me, she looked at my husband, nodded her head in my direction- said, “You see Daddy. She’s been like this all day.”

She has so much confidence it’s terrifying. She is not afraid to talk to anyone about anything, or question anyone about anything.

For example, I recently gave birth to our youngest daughter. The run up to her birth was far from smooth, and unfortunately I suffered bleeding right up until she was eventually delivered at 35 weeks. But more on that another day. More unfortunately, my daughter had to witness this on a few occasions. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m really pleased that it doesn’t appear to have traumatised her for life. I’m glad that she can talk about it with people without being fearful. I truly am. But… I could really have done without her telling the POSTMAN that Mummy had been in hospital because she was bleeding out her bum all over daddy’s new car.


Yes, I’ve been very successful in creating a fearless and totally honest young lady.

The honesty has been a problem. Again, I taught her this. But honesty needs to go only far really, doesn’t it? I mean, I don’t want her to lie. But when we go to a restaurant, and the chef comes out and asks how the food was, I wish I didn’t have to clench my bum cheeks and lower my head as I hear my daughter tell him, “It was ok, thank you. The gravy and vegetables were good, but the meat was a little bit dry and Daddy’s roast potatoes are a bit nicer.”


I could go on. I could go on for the next twenty blog entries about the situations my daughter has gotten us into inside five years. Yes, only five years. Two of which she couldn’t even talk. I wouldn’t be surprised if by time she reaches adulthood I am in an institution.

The big problem is, every time I think I really need to reign her in, she does something to prove why I wanted her to be like it in the first place. In school, the children love her because she will stand up for anyone. If someone has been left out, or is being picked on, she will be the first one to speak out. She doesn’t care if she will get in trouble, she will not see anyone overlooked unfairly. She will speak out against children twice her age if they’re being mean to her or to anyone else. I’m told by her teacher that when she saw a year six boy steal a ball from one of the other reception children, she went right up to the boy and would not give in until he returned the ball back to its owner: who was crying in the corner of the playground. I love that she is strong enough to do that.

I imagine a young Emmeline Pankhurst’s Mum despaired over her tiny daughter’s strong-willed determination at everything. I wonder if some days she wondered if she could handle another debate over the simplest of things.I wonder if there were days when she considered trying to get Emmeline to just stop being so opinionated.

But then, if she hadn’t, perhaps we wouldn’t have the vote. Perhaps if she had reigned in her daughter then she wouldn’t have been one of the most influential women of the last century. Perhaps, like Emmeline, my girl will grow up to achieve great things and influence whole hosts of people around her. (Or perhaps she’ll just be arrested for being a menace to society…)

I know her disposition will help my daughter to become a successful adult. I know it will mean that she will stand out from the crowd, and she will be determined to follow things through. I know, without any reasonable doubt, that what makes her a difficult child will make her an amazing, honest and successful adult.

Let’s just hope we both survive until then.


I write more about my little mentallist, as well as many other crazy ramblings on my Facebook page, you should take a look. You know, if you want. Whatevs. (Oh please like it…..)

Best of Worst
Friday Frolics
Mummy and Monkeys

90 thoughts on “I Bet Emmeline Pankhurst Was a Pain the Arse as a Child (and the truth about having a strong-willed daughter)

  1. Wave to Mummy says:

    While I do not doubt for a moment she can be difficult to deal with I think you deserve congratulations on raising a daughter that acts kindly, seeks justice and speaks the truth. There aren’t enough people like that in the world – I think we would live in a much better place if more people were like your daughter! She sounds like she will make a great friend, and maybe a great influence when she will be older 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • theridiculousmrsh says:

      She’ll be great. My daughter had some really shy kids in her class, and by the end of the first year they’ve come right out of their shells! The more confident ones always tend to take the quieter ones under their wing! xx


  2. Andre'a Cross says:

    She sounds “Awesome” to me! I’m sure her personality can be tough to deal with at times. For a parent, it would appear easier to have a quiet, more passive child..but is it? (I don’t know first hand..I have 3 daughters with ‘strong personalities’ ☺). Your daughter sounds confident, outspoken and kind (she does consider the needs of others and jumps right in to assist. .I Love it!). I’d say that you have a leader on your hands!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karina - My Letters of Transit says:

    Your daughter reminds me so much of myself as a child, honest and blunt, confident and oppinionated. Thank you so much for being such a patient mom. In my experience, life and other people tend to want to break girls that are like this early on, as many don’t consider these traits in a girl to be positive. I can’t tell you how important it is to have parents that are supportive and accepting, yes it creates uncomfortable situations, but better a confident and assertive daughter than an insecure one that is afraid to speak her mind because of how others will react. I hit that phase around puberty and it took a long time to recover and realize there was nothing wrong with how I was naturally. Thank you for sharing!


  4. pinkpearbear says:

    Oh my gosh, I think we may have the same daughter!! (Except she looks a little different in your pictures!😉) You have described my life to a T, even the bit about regretting teaching her to be so flipping stubborn, I mean, to totally be herself, until she does something awesome that makes me proud. Great post. 😄


  5. Lynnie says:

    That did make me chuckle I had 1 of these at that age. I now have a not so confident 12yr old because a particular teacher didn’t like that trait and bullied it out of her. But that said she is a kind empathic girl who soaks up learning on the gifted and talented register and the senior school teaches are encouraging her questions. Good luck it does get better when you learn to accept they’re right most of the time haha


  6. kerryvillers says:

    This is brilliant. Your daughter and mine sound so similar! She makes me so very proud and drives me so very insane all at the same time. There are questions every 2 seconds and she’s so persistent. She needs to know everything about everything. She also has the same shoes. See? Twins I tell you xx


    • theridiculousmrsh says:

      Same shoes, the Docs? They’re awesome aren’t they? We also bought a pair of glittery ones last year and those are the favourites. I was in a mood because I wanted some. Thank you for reading, I’ll raise a glass of vino to you and PinkBear from above tonight in respect of fellow ‘Strong Girl’ survivors!


  7. Life Love and Dirty Dishes says:

    I love this post. Really made me smile. Your daughter sounds identical to my eldest son. He turned 6 on Wednesday. He is so confident, knows his own mind and tells anyone anything. It has actually gotten to the point that if we are getting ready to leave the house and the neighbours are outside, I delay leaving until they are gone for fear of what he will say!!! Wouldn’t change him for the world though. Most days. 😉 Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics


    • theridiculousmrsh says:

      Thank you! Yes every time we meet anyone I always sit there thinking ‘Oh God, what’s she going to say…’ Lots of people after reading this have told me that its children like ours that go on to rule the world… God help us all!! Thank you for reading! xx


  8. Mama says:

    I’m pretty sure there’s a meme floating about mentioning wanting to raise strong, questioning, leading children….who do what they’re told, when they’re told. I totally get the dilemma. I have no experience and can offer no advice other than sometimes things are a little less annoying if you have a glass of wine in your hand.



  9. Fabiola says:

    I think you’re doing a great job! Children should be allowed to express their personality. They need to be guided, not reigned in. I’m sure it’s difficult for you, though. But children grow up fast, that’s what I tell myself when my 7-year-old is acting up…again.


  10. Marina says:

    Needed this today, struggling with strong willed 2 year old daughter (also a red head), hope she turns out as compassionate to stand up for others


    • theridiculousmrsh says:

      I’m sure she will. You won’t believe the amount of ladies who have told me that they were the same and are now big time go-getters in very important jobs, so there’s hope for our little monkeys! In the mean time, there’s gin! xx


  11. beautwins says:

    I adore this post for so many reasons. Firstly, hooray to you as a mother. I think what you are doing is truly wonderful. Secondly, even at two years old I know I have the same in the making. My two are very defiant, forward, confident, challenging and that’s just scratching the surface. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You are nurturing nature the best way possible. X


  12. beautwins says:

    adore this post for so many reasons. Firstly, hooray to you as a mother. I think what you are doing is truly wonderful. Secondly, even at two years old I know I have the same in the making. My two are very defiant, forward, confident, challenging and that’s just scratching the surface. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You are nurturing nature the best way possible. X ps: your daughter is utterly gorgeous too


    • theridiculousmrsh says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, and for reading! I’ve had so many ladies comment telling me that they were the same as kids and are now lawyers/doctors/ similar type go getters, so we can tell ourselves that our kiddos will be just fine (with a glass of wine in my hand though…)! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. suzanne3childrenandit says:

    I have one of these feisty little divas and oh my goodness, it’s hard work! But yes, I totally ‘get’ your pride when she stands up for what she believes in or refuses to join in with the masses. We’ve made a rod for our own back but I think we will be so proud one day! PS My FLD is 14 next month – we’re surviving…..just!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The Monkeyfooted Mummy says:

    Imagine when she stands up to that teenage boy/girl and says no I won’t let you make me feel like I have to do… I don’t want to and it’s not right that you’d make me feel bad to say no!

    Imagine when she stands up and says no more we won’t tolerate this injustice and I have a plan to fix it. Imagine the world she can mould with her determined mind….

    And then Imagine you aren’t alone, My four year old shared with her nursery class how mammy will get the baby out, and how it got in. Sadly not all parents are as upfront as Us they didn’t all appreciate the info!!!

    Stay strong mama our girls will change this world xx


  15. .Sara. (@OoSerzoO) says:

    Oh my goodness! I can relate to this!!! My daughter can be opinionated when she feels like and my god, she questions EVERYTHING! And she always has an answer.
    Some of the conversations you’ve had are quite funny, haha. And being unreasonable for making her tidy up her mess, oh it’s a hard life being a child (Thats what I tell my daughter, while rolling my eyes).
    It’s good she has a lot of confidence, it’s a good thing to have in life! I wish I was more confident and I really wish I could speak my mind sometimes, it’s not a bad thing in the adult world (to an extent).
    Lovely post xx


  16. Angela Milnes says:

    oh gosh! This is a little funny to read but sometimes it can be a worry when kids are too confident. I’m trying to help my daughter get the balance between confident and not too cheeky or rude and not too shy.. it’s not an easy one… your daughter sounds very confident!


    • theridiculousmrsh says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. For every time I’m glad she’s confident, there are times I wish she wasn’t! At the moment she’s very good in school, but hopefully as she gets older she gets a bit more of a filter! xx


  17. steph_baybee says:

    This post is so funny! I know I shouldn’t as I know how cringing it is when they open their mouth and say something you really wish they hadn’t! However I look forward to hearing more! You are doing a great job and she will be so confident in life which will give her the chance to explore new things and to try them out. She will stand up for herself and be able to make new friends when put into new surroundings. As she grows older she will learn when and how to use her confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ana De Jesus says:

    She sounds like the kind of friend I like – honest, straightforward and faultlessly outspoken. While it is true that her behavior may prove challenging you have raised her right, I would rather her be honest then lie!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. janettedavey says:

    I have a girl who is just the same. The things that she comes out with makes her sound like she is old before her time and she has such confidence with it. Her teacher feels that it is great but then she doesn’t have to get her to do things she doesn’t want to – she loves school and lessons so no problem there. But I bet both of our girls will grow up to be strong independent women.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. LadyNicci says:

    I love this post! I’ve saved it to share on my own social media accounts because it reads as how I imagine my one year old daughter will be. Feisty and unafraid! Actually it reminds a bit of myself growing up too, but you know, life knocks the sharp corners off and rounds you up a bit. She sounds great! I love the stories of the restaurant and the postman. Gas x

    Liked by 1 person

  21. helen gandy says:

    This is truly brilliant, you have a right little character on your hands…..! She reminds me very much of my 3 1/2 year old son, my god he is an independent, strong willed chap and he has no problems saying it how it is (mummy your boobies are big, mummy you have had a poo etc etc….!). Oh the fun, I imagine if they ever met it would be battle of the wills! Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst would love it you popped by again! X


  22. hayley says:

    Lol oh this is a brilliant read! She sounds like such a character! My son is 2 and very very headstrong, and has such a strong personality already – its quite amazing to watch such tiny little people develop these personalities all their own!


    • theridiculousmrsh says:

      Thank you! Yes she is a nightmare, i’m thinking i could write another ten entries just listing the times she has said something mental! But they say the apple never falls far from the tree, so I guess I have only myself to blame! Thanks for reading xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  23. leslierickerby says:

    Oh my days! She sounds amazing! I’ve just read this after it was tagged up as a favourite on the best and worst linky. Brilliant post, I actually read most of it out to hubby too.
    Cant wait to see what she gets up to in the future


  24. Ickle Pickle (@IcklePicklex) says:

    Love it! We spend half our time telling our children what they should do – and the other half telling them not to do it! Brace yourself – it’s going to get worse!! (as a mum of two teen girls aged 19 and 15!) and a teen boy 13 as well as Pickle who is 3! Good Luck! Kaz x


  25. Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby says:

    She sounds amazing, your eldest.
    I regularly experience this dichotomy of being so pleased with my opinionated, strong-willed Little Miss A (currently 2 1/2) and yet wishing she would just do as she’s told now…rather than “In just a second, Mummy” 🙂
    They’re pretty great these girls, aren’t they?!


  26. acornishmum says:

    I think she sounds amazing – but then I suppose I don’t have to live with her 😉 she reminds me of one of my nieces who seriously keeps my sister on her toes! Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x


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  28. sacha says:

    Your site is so cute, the first picture reminded me of cartoon character. LOL, your daughter is going to be a smart outspoken woman who will amount to a lot of great things.


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