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  • Writer's pictureRamona Baxter

"The Slap": Parenting Mistakes Age Well with Humor

Updated: Feb 24

Growing up within the righteous bubble I was raised in, it makes me smile when I look back on the ways of our small community. My sweet mother was a modest freak! I will never forget the incident of what came to be known as “The Slap.” 

It was a sound that would echo through the ages. The summer before my ninth grade year, I was laying out at the local pool (working on my tan) in one of my girlfriend’s bikinis. A neighborhood friend of my mother’s drove by the pool and saw my “practically naked body” (as my mother had put it). Horrified, the neighbor rushed home and called my mother to report the appalling scene she had just witnessed within the righteous bubble we lived in. 

Woman sunning herself at the pool

Upon receiving the shocking phone call, my mother jumped in her big red van and sped down to the city pool. The clock was ticking. She had to get to the crime scene before anyone else in town had a chance to see my scandalous behavior. What were the ladies in church going to say? She had just given her lesson on parenting teenagers in church last month. It was titled “Modesty = Chastity.” This scandal would be gossiped about for weeks!

Lying on my beach towel, slathered from top to bottom in Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil, I blissfully inhaled the smell of coconut while basking in the hot sun--fantasizing about what it would be like to actually have boobs. 

Suddenly, the sun’s heat was gone. . .it got eerie and quiet. I opened my eyes. . .and there was my mother–standing over me. To say my mother was livid is a gross understatement. Furious? Crazed maybe. . .there was no way this situation would end well. My mind began to race, contemplating exactly how bad it was going to get. 

In front of my friends, my mother hollered, “Young lady, you get in the van this instant!” The jaws of every teenager within earshot all dropped in unison. I was horrified! I quickly grabbed my beach towel and hopped up. Not because I was afraid of my mother, I knew the sooner I fled this unthinkable situation, the sooner she would be gone as well. 

I would never live this down among the unpredictable tribe of sun worshipers–all staring at my mother in shock and disbelief. There was no coming back from an event like this. Little did I know, it was about to get a thousand times worse!

To add another layer of humiliation (one wouldn’t think that was even possible), my mother slapped me on the butt as I passed her! The already-opened mouths of every well-tanned witness to this horrific scene let out an audible gasp. Yup, my mom said that. . .she did that. 

I thought her showing up and yelling at me in front of my friends was the worst thing that could happen. Boy, was I wrong! It felt like I was in the Twilight Zone as we drove home. Something this asinine just didn’t happen to a girl my age.

Mother daughter smiling at each other

Thoughts on Parenting Mistakes

The slap. . .what can I say? Sometimes, things that were such a colossal embarrassment give us nowhere to go, but they sculpt us. Of course, I have forgiven my mother for that ridiculous incident. Right or wrong, my mother did her very best with what she knew–every single day. I appreciate the belly laugh it gives me whenever I think about it.

Is it okay to publicly shame your child? Never, never-ever. I don’t care what they’ve done. Two wrongs do not make a right. To think you’re teaching your child a lesson by humiliating them is ignorant and cruel. That being said, I don’t think my mother set out to humiliate me that day–she was humiliated herself. And in the moment, she cared more about how it made “her” look within our righteous community than thinking about the impact it would have on me.

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