She’s Stronger Than Me

I have many worries for my daughters – will they be good people, will they help others, will they do well in school, will they never live in my basement, will they have a good haircut that matches their face, and of course will they please never wear capri pants. You know, the typical mom worries that we all have.


My biggest worry is that they will become doormats, and if they do it is completely all my fault. I hear the things I repeat to them over and over: “Serve and yours will come.” “Never be first in line.” “Share everything.” “Use your manners.” “Offer up yours to a friend.” “Look for people who are sitting alone.” “Wait for others.” “Never take the first piece.” “Never take the last piece.” “Always stop to help.” “Be the first to ask a friend what is wrong.” “Walk away from violence, but protect a friend.”


I mean sure, I tell them that no one is allowed to touch them without their permission or get in their space, and that no one has the right to hurt them. But mainly I tell them to wait their turn before standing their ground.


My advice works perfectly at home as, and I know this sounds weird, my children do not fight. They share their toys, and take turns watching shows, they play together perfectly, and serve each other meals.


In theory it seems my advice would make the world a perfect place to be – but since it’s not possible to mother all of the world – my advice mainly falls flat because sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself.


Which I honestly never have done. So lately I had been trying to figure out how to give my children better advice…. “How to stand up for yourself politely, but still mean business.”


As it turns out that maybe they’ve already figured that out all on their own.


Another parent mentioned that his first grader got upset a few weeks ago by what a fourth grader said or did on the bus, and he wondered if my kids had said anything to me. He said that this boy had written some bad words on the bus seat and then was showing the other kids the words and was saying the words to the littler kids. His daughter came home and of course asked what the words meant.  The parents just kind of let it go as annoying but harmless kid stuff, but recently asked their daughter again if he was still doing it, and she told him that he just suddenly stopped and now rides the bus very quietly, which is weird because even before the incident, he was a very loud kid.


So yesterday I asked Eloise if anyone ever did anything on the bus that bothered her or the other kids.


“Well, no not really. Just typical silly boy stuff sometimes, but I just tell them that they are annoying and to stop.” She responded.


Has anyone even said bad words on the bus?


Pause. “Well, yes, Michael*** was writing really bad words on the seats for awhile and then saying them too. And then he would ask the little kids to listen to him saying the bad words.”


Did you tell him to stop or go to the bus driver?


“Yes, I did both. I told him to stop and I told the bus driver. The bus driver told me to go sit down and didn’t listen to me at all..and I told him two different times about it.”


You know you can tell you teacher or principal too, right? And me. We can make something inappropriate stop on the bus.


“I know. But I already took care of it.”


What do you mean by that?


“Well, I told Michael that he wasn’t allowed to say those things or write those things or ruin property like that. That I wasn’t going to allow it. And then I got really close to his face and I looked right in his eyes and I told him that from now on I was the boss of him and since I was the oldest of the 1st-4th graders in the front of the bus, that I was in charge and we weren’t going to listen to him be mean anymore, and that I would protect all the kids on the bus before he hurt them or say things that were bad, and he was to sit there and say nothing for the rest of the school year..because if he didn’t – well he would have to answer to me. And now all I have to do is look at him and he behaves.”


Well next time, if the bus driver won’t help you, you should really tell me and your teacher, okay.


“Well this time I’ve got this, Mom.”


And I think she really does.


***Not his real name.


About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, and fashion expert - and ruler of my own little universe(very small). Aren't we all. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    “And now all I have to do is look at him and he behaves.” Wow! She could charge a price for lessons on how to deal with such nonsense. You know she learned that somewhere, don’t you? She knows strength because she’s borne witness to it.
    Shannon recently posted..Girls and their Games

  2. says

    Oh, I am SO PROUD of your girl!! What a cool young lady.
    I am the rude person who never minds being the first in line for a buffet or too shy to take the first piece of cake… but I think it’s because I am in love with food. :)
    You are a great mama and you’re raising strong daughters. Just like you.
    Kristin Shaw (Two Cannoli) recently posted..Kindergartners unmasked

  3. says

    When I was in the 7th grade I saw a boy in 6th grade picking on a girl with special needs. My brother also has special needs so I told the jerk that if he kept doing it I would beat him up. He decided to tell the principal. So I got called to the office, calmly explained what was going on, and the principal let me go back to class. I told the principal I would not apologize, and I meant what I said. I didn’t tell my mom about the situation. I wasn’t in trouble so I didn’t see the point, but being in a small town the principal did mention it to her in passing. No harm ever came of it, and that boy is still a jerk, but he never did tease that girl again.
    Katie recently posted..Race Recap: Get Lucky 7k 2013

  4. says

    Your daughter is awesome. That being said, I would be havint a sit down with that bus driver. What a horribly irresponsible way of dealing with bullying. He should be reprimanded and not left in charge of the safety of young children.

  5. says

    yes, YES. This.
    (although I don’t know if I worry so much about Jacob or Gio wearing capri pants)

    I love that she has taken all those amazing things she’s learning at your knee and putting them into practice and making her world (and ours by extension) better.

    it’s inspiring
    Kir recently posted..She’s So Good with Her Stilettos {WOE/Trifecta}

  6. says

    No matter how much you think you haven’t taught them, you have. YOU are responsible for her being the way she is: kind, gentle, and willing to kick boys if need be. It is YOUR strength that she’s learned. Yours.

  7. Kathryn says

    I love that! Good for her! The world needs more strong girls who know what’s right!

  8. says

    Way to go Eloise! I’m beaming with pride and I don’t even know her. But she is the future. And it just got brighter.

  9. Ginny says

    So proud of how she handled that. I think what you are teaching the girls is working. Shame on the bus driver. I bet Eloise and the boy will become friends in time. You must be so proud.

  10. Melanie H. says

    Absolutely outstanding! Way to go, Eloise! While you can’t mother the whole world, I think you have succeeded in mothering your own children quite well…so that in fact your actions & theirs are making a positive difference on the world around them. Now that is awesome!!

  11. says

    Oh my gosh! I love her!!! You have some awesome kids. I struggle daily with teaching my daughter a balance between being kind and standing up for herself. It’s not easy since I’m not very good at finding that balance for myself.

    Does Eloise have plans for the summer? Maybe she’d like to spend it in Virginia teaching my 5 year old her techniques.

  12. Diana D says

    I don’t believe for a second that she is stronger than you…….she is strong BECAUSE of you! She is strong in character and conviction because of you, silly mama! What a proud moment for you. Like others have said, “Way to go, Eloise!” I am so happy to hear that she is confident and self assured enough to handle a situation like this with such grace and firmness.
    I also am quite disappointed in the bus driver for not listening to her and stepping in to handle the situation for her. Although, this is such a great confidence builder for any future incidences she may come upon, it is probably best that she had the opportunity to assert herself now.
    This just made my day! Please share with Eloise how proud we all are of her for standing firm and protecting the others on the bus. I hope there are more like her coming up in this new generation…..we certainly need them! :)

  13. says

    Good for her! I just knew your girls were going to be agents of change. By teaching them kindness and humility, you’re also teaching them to recognize when it’s not being practiced by others and to stand up for its importance.
    angela recently posted..Walk Away with Me – A Review

  14. says

    Is she available for coaching?

    Actually – I have been thinking about this. The other Sunday my 12 y.o. and I were at our neighborhood farmer’s market and a man completely blew his top at me, for reasons too boring to go into. I think if I’d been alone I’d have just shook my head and walked away, but that wasn’t what I wanted my kid to see. So I confronted him, politely but firmly (my heart racing a thousand miles per hour as I did) and he ended up apologizing.

    The bullies never go away; we just get better at handling them. Kudos to you for raising your girls right.
    Nancy Davis Kho recently posted..You’re Halfway There (to Some Bon Jovi Tickets)

  15. says

    Interesting, the things you tell them.

    I wonder if you would say the same if they were boys?

    Because I didn’t see the part where you say “If someone punches you and you tell them to stop and they don’t, then punch them back. Only harder. And I’ll buy you a cupcake.”

    On second thought, I tell that to my daughter, too.


    (Good for Eloise, of course! And that’s a scary bus driver.)
    Cheryl @ Mommypants recently posted..Four

  16. says

    Your daughter is such a good role model for other children. Something you should be proud of. You are doing such a wonderful job. I love reading your blog Tracy. Its so real and it reminds me of the type of things I will experience when Sylvia gets older. Plus I love fashion too:)

  17. says

    So much amazingness. She got up close to his face, looked him in the eye and told him she was the boss of him! I want to be Eloise when I grow up. While you might not think that you’ve taught your girls this, they do have a pretty kick ass mom as a role model.

  18. says

    I have been recently doubting my parenting, teaching my kids to be polite, ect. and it has not been easy living in a country where politeness does not exist, and the girls/women are all badass. After reading this ost, I will not worry again and keep on the same track, confident my daughter will be both strong and polite like yours.
    Catina recently posted..Daycare and Preschool: You suck!!

  19. Elizabeth says

    If she can get a little boy to get in line that young… I’m impressed… She sounds like a born teacher :)

  20. says

    I have three kids who ride the bus. I worry about it all the time. But- I rode the bus and learned A LOT about life that way…good, bad, ugly. I was bullied in kindergarten. A girl took my hat and tossed it all over the bus while everyone laughed. My mother drove to her house, knocked on the door, made her apologize, and got the hat back. This post resonated with me…thanks for sharing!!
    Brooke Spater recently posted..Welcome To Now