I recently remembered a time when I was 15 and my Mother became frustrated with my terrible behavior. She was attempting to do something nice for me and I was being obnoxious and rude. She had either been making my brother and I breakfast, or possibly we were dyeing Easter eggs. Exactly what we were doing has now slipped my mind, but I was being terrible to her. Unexpectedly, she just decided to crack a few raw eggs over my head while we were in our kitchen. I will NEVER forget the nasty feeling of having raw eggs dripping down my face and back, or how the utter shock made me stop whatever beastly behavior I had been carrying on with. I had been acting like a snotty, rude “asshat,” complete with all the typical teen eye-rolling and contempt for my parental figure. She obviously knew nothing compared to my wiser and cooler youthful self, so I was well within my right to be nasty.
My egg incident would have occurred in about 1987-ish. The Aqua Net hairspray and ginormous hair was out in full force; glorious… mile-high…. and… indestructible (almost). Raw egg and crispy, product-laden, shellacked hair, do not mix too well. I had spent hours fussing over my hair and honestly, this was probably the ONLY form of intervention that would have had any effect on my atrocious behavior at this point in my know-it-all phase of life. My big hair mattered. Big hair was EVERYTHING! After the initial shock, the anger dissipated, and we all busted out into laughter. I certainly did watch my behavior after that. It was almost as if my self-centered teen brain had needed exactly that type of unexpected and shocking action (peppered with some ridiculousness) to jolt me back into reality.
For a whole week beyond the yolk assault, I kept finding egg remnants in my tresses, despite frequent hair washing. The hairspray, gel, and eggs had created some odd, liquification type chemistry experiment in my hair and it just kept resisting multiple washes. My hair also smelled vaguely of hard-boiled eggs for a few days. I’m sure that my gentle fart-like essence had boosted my in-school popularity during that week. It was the gift that kept on giving and it reminded me throughout that following week that my Mom was not going to take any of my disrespect. At the time, I was initially annoyed and incredulous that she would have done such a thing. Sure…. we had laughed about it, but I was still stunned and slightly offended. I was after all….a complete and utter delight. Wasn’t I? This egg intervention certainly did make me pause and reflect on my behavior.
Borderline insanity? Sure.
But it had worked.
My Mother would always bend over backwards to do everything for her family, but she would not take being treated like garbage. She really did do EVERYTHING for us, and we certainly didn’t always appreciate it. As Moms we are constantly doing all the “little things” that keep the family unit flowing smoothly, but the kidlets rarely realize. The clean, folded clothing just materializes in drawers after the mythical house fairies have done their puttering about. The snacks are replaced by the invisible “Gods of Snackdom,” and the kitchen messes magically disappear when the kitchen gnomes emerge from their cupboards to do their bidding. (The gnomes hide behind the multitude of coffee mugs that we never use due to their being too small to adequately hold enough caffeination.) It must be the gnomes and is certainly NEVER Mom; it is inexplicable magic.
Fast forward to 2021 and having three kids of my own (including one who is now my twin at 15) and I just want to tell my Mom that I COMPLETELY GET IT NOW! My Mother always has been a GREAT Mom! She is snarky and humorous, which is what prompted “THE GREAT YOLKING INCIDENT.” Humor and really, really….. REALLY wanting to crack an egg over my head. I don’t blame her. I was being an incorrigible brat. Nothing was getting through to me and she had enough of it. What is missing in today’s approach to parenthood is any type of punishment or intervention with lasting results. We all tread too carefully. Children seem to have more rights than parents these days. We cannot harm their fragile souls. That old lady in Target will make underhanded comments if your kid is running amok in the toy aisle but if you raise your voice, the resulting looks of discomfort and under the breath “tsk, tsk’s,’ are unavoidable. You just cannot win.
I may or may not have recently found myself holding an egg and contemplating a re-creation of that memorable day in 1987 on my own teenager. The difference today is that now I would be told something to the effect that behavior is communication, and I would be urged to discover what is at the root of my teen’s angst. Be their friend. Punishment is a No-No. I do acknowledge that being less authoritarian and more understanding matters, but the pendulum has just swung way too far these days. If I were to crack an egg over my surly teen’s head, I would probably be looked at in a negative light for not giving her more respect. But shouldn’t it be the other way around? Respect for adult figures is seriously lacking these days. We need to be comfortable with being UNCOMFORTABLE by doling out more stern interventions that make a lasting impression.
I think we need more eggs.
Thank you for always being an amazing and supportive Mom, even when I was a pain in the butt. I love you Mom.
Jenn Miele Leslie lives in Woodbridge, CT with her husband, three kids ages 8, 10 and 15 and two bulldogs who likes to fart and snore. Originally from Long Island, N.Y. (yes, that IS how you say it – if you’re from there you just understand) she misses being able to find a decent bagel or breakfast sandwich. Once an Art Therapist specializing in working with adults with various developmental disabilities, Jenn now spends her time shuttling her minions to: school; playdates; dance classes and competitions; occupational therapy; coding classes; and what feels like a million additional places, on a daily basis. In her occasional down time, Jenn enjoys photography, painting and an iTunes playlist that boasts way too many 90’s alternative songs.