A Mother’s Conundrum

“Are you nearly ready, Annabeth?”

“Yes, mom,” came the reply from upstairs.

“Leaving in five minutes.”

“Okay, mom.”

Sarah Hayes finished loading the breakfast things into the dishwasher and set the program. Her briefcase was already packed with the things she would need for her day’s work at the realtor’s office in the center of town. As soon as Annabeth was ready, she would drive her daughter to school and then travel on to the office.

Just as she was about to call out again, Annabeth raced down the stairs and burst into the kitchen.

“Ready, mom.”

“Okay, let’s get going.”

“Oh, just one thing, mom. Could you sign this please?” Annabeth placed a yellow form on the kitchen table, one hand holding it firmly in place while the other offered her mother a pen.

“What’s this?”

“Just something for school, mom. It’s no big deal. You just gotta sign right there.”

As the two stood next to each other, Annabeth’s long reddish-brown hair contrasted with her mother’s darker brown, shoulder-length hair. While Sarah wore a smart grey trouser suit, Annabeth wore tan-colored jeans and a black short-sleeved shirt.

“Move your hand out of the way, Annabeth. I want to see what I’m signing.” Sarah Hayes tried to push against her daughter’s hand.

“You don’t need to read it, mom. It’s just a load of school nonsense.”

“Annabeth! Move your hand!”

With her mother’s voice raised, the seventeen-year-old knew her mother wasn’t going to back down, so she reluctantly moved her hand to one side.

“Annabeth! This is a release form to allow the school to paddle you! What’s this all about?”

“It’s nothing, mom. Three of us got caught off-campus yesterday and we got sent to the vice-principal’s office. Mrs Cartwright issued us with yellow slips.”

“But the school is supposed to offer you the choice between detention or a paddling.”

“Yes, mom, I know,” Annabeth sighed with impatience. “And they did. But the detention was for next Saturday morning, and we decided we had better things to do on a Saturday so we’re taking the paddling option. Okay?”

“No, not okay. You’re not a child anymore. You’re seventeen now and surely too old for corporal punishment, don’t you think?”

“We’re not too old in Mrs Cartwright’s opinion. And students are paddled right up to age eighteen, anyway.”

“Well, that’s as maybe, but I’m not sure how I feel about you getting your butt swatted. It’s pretty painful, you know.”

“It won’t be that bad, mom. It’s likely Mrs Cartwright is going to do it herself, and she’s always fair. It’s no big deal.”

“It’s five swats, Annabeth! That’s going to hurt whoever does it. Will there be a witness?”

“Of course. Probably Miss Tyhurst. She’s a relatively new teacher for Math and Economics, and she’s an athletics coach as well. She takes me for running and she’s really nice. It’s no big deal.”

“Hold on, looking at all these tick-boxes, it says I have the right to also witness. Hey, I even have the right to administer the spanking myself. Is that right?”

“Mom! You’ve never spanked me. Why would you want to start now?”

“Annabeth, I’m trying to help you here! A school paddling might not be the easy way out you seem to think it is.”

“Mom! I know what a school paddling feels like!”

“Really? How?”

“I got a swat years ago for talking too much in class. It didn’t kill me.”

“You’ve been paddled before? You never mentioned it.”

“It was nothing. Like I said, just a single swat years ago. I was about twelve at the time. I never mentioned it because I knew you’d get all uppity about it, like you are now.”

“I’m being uppity, am I? Okay, well I’ll certainly sign to say they can paddle you. But, I’m going to tick the box that says I can witness them doing it. Okay?”

“You don’t need to do that, mom.”

“I know I don’t need to, but I want to. There, that’s all signed, and it’s time we got going. You don’t want a yellow slip for being late, now do you?”

As they drove to Annabeth’s school, Sarah Hayes questioned her daughter about the forthcoming paddling. It was due to take place at 3.30 that day in Vice-principal Cartwright’s office. To make sure no further alterations were made to the yellow slip, Mrs Hayes took the form herself to the secretaries’ station and handed it in.

One of the secretaries, Mrs Gonzales, received the form and looked it over.

“Sorry, Mrs Hayes, there’s been a few alterations. Just so we’re clear, you want to be here when Annabeth is paddled? Is that to witness, or are you going to spank her yourself?”

“I’m not really sure. Do I have to decide now?”

“Not at all, Mrs Hayes. I’m sure Mrs Cartwright will want to speak with you anyway before the event. You can then decide what you’d like to do.”

“That’s fine.”

“Okay, so we’ll see you at 3.30?”

“You will.”

Sarah Hayes left the school building and made her way into her office. While she sorted out the calls and visits she needed to make that day, her mind kept straying to what she would do when she returned to Annabeth’s school at 3.30. Had Annabeth chosen the Saturday detention option, it would have meant an extra chore driving her into school on her busiest day of the week, and she could do without that. Then again, she wasn’t that keen on her daughter getting a school spanking.


Sarah looked up, awakened from her thoughts by her colleague and good friend, Emma.

“Sorry, Emma, I was miles away.”


Sarah explained her conundrum as briefly as she could.

“She was given a choice and she chose to take a paddling?” Emma observed. “Let her take it. It might even do her some good.”

“You think?”

“Sure. I got a couple when I was at school and it did me no harm, aside from a sore butt.”

“I don’t know. I’ve never spanked Annabeth. It seems I have the option to do just that this afternoon.”

“Yes, I heard they do allow parents to apply the paddle nowadays. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not.”

“What would you do, Emma?”

“I’d let the school do it, then just be there to mop up the tears. But that’s me. You need to make your own decision.”

“Yes, I do, don’t I?”

The rest of the day passed slowly for Sarah Hayes. An early afternoon viewing at least took her mind off school matters for a couple of hours, but then a glance at her watch showed she needed to forget work and get to the school. She arrived at 3.25.

Inside, she found Annabeth anxiously waiting for her.

“Mom! I thought you’d never get here.”

“It’s alright, hon. I’m here now.”

They went straight to the secretaries’ station.

“Hello, Mrs Hayes.” Mrs Gonzales came straight to the counter when she saw Annabeth and her mother approaching. Mrs Cartwright is waiting for you. Annabeth will show you where to go.”

Annabeth led the way to the vice-principal’s office where her two friends and their mothers were seated on four chairs in the hallway. One girl, Mary Smithers, stood so Sarah Hayes could sit down. Mary smiled weakly at Annabeth.

“This is all very tense, isn’t it?” Sarah said to Mrs Hornby as she sat next to Becka Hornby’s mother.

“I feel like I’m waiting to get paddled myself!” Mrs Hornby whispered.

“I know what you mean,” Sarah replied. “Do we know what happens next?”

Just at that moment, the door opened and Mrs Cartwright came into the hallway. “Could the three mothers join me in the office, please?”

With their mothers now safely the other side of the closed door, Becka Hornby whispered, “Does this just suck or what?”

“You bet,” Annabeth whispered back. “And I still don’t know whether my mom is going to spank me, or Mrs Cartwright. How about you guys?”

“I don’t know either,” Becka answered.

“Nor me,” said Mary, running her fingers through her mid-brown hair and re-setting her glasses carefully on her short pug nose. “I sort of hope mom does it, not that she’s ever spanked me in her life.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Becka replied. “At least Mrs Cartwright knows what she’s doing. Our mothers are unknown quantities. They might do it soft, but then they might do it real hard.”

“Fair point,” Annabeth nodded towards the blond-haired girl.

“What are they talking about in there?” Mary asked.

“Beats me. I wonder if we can hear.” Annabeth got up and carefully put her ear to the door.

“Annabeth! What if Mrs Cartwright catches you?” Mary said, as quietly as she could and still have her friend hear.

“Shush! No, I can hear a load of talking, but can’t make out what they’re saying.” Annabeth sat back down again.

“This waiting is worse than getting the spanking,” Mary stated.

“Really? You have experience, do you?” Becka asked tetchily.

“Well no, but I reckon anything is better than this delay.”

“I don’t. They can keep talking for the rest of the day and all night as far as I’m concerned,” Becka retorted.

Annabeth was just about to say something when the door opened and the three mothers came out into the hallway. The vice-principal, Mrs Cartwright, stood in the open door. Mrs Smithers remained standing, while Becka and Annabeth’s mothers re-took their seats.

“Mary, you’re up first,” her mother told her.

Mary sat with her mouth open. It was only when Becka pushed her out of her chair with a gentle shove in the back that she stood up and reluctantly went through the open door into the office, her mother and Mrs Cartwright following. Mary was seen to give the seat of her faded blue jeans a rub.

“What was all the talk about?” Annabeth asked her mother.

“Oh, not a lot. Just organizing who is going to do what.”


“And Becka will be going in next, then you last.”

Annabeth noted a look of horror on Becka’s face.

“Okay,” Annabeth replied thoughtfully. “So, are you spanking me?”

“No, Mrs Cartwright will be doing that, and I’ll witness, along with Miss Tyhurst. She’s in there too.”

Annabeth thought about her mother’s response.

“I wouldn’t mind if you did it, mom.”

“Mrs Cartwright knows what she’s about. Better she does it.”

“Mom, how hard can it be? All you gotta do is slap a wooden paddle against my butt.”

Before Sarah Hayes could answer, a loud pop sound was heard from within the office. No one spoke, or even drew breath, as four more similar popping sounds emanated from behind the closed door. Moments later, the door opened and a tearful Mary Smithers emerged, followed by her mother. Mrs Smithers was carrying Mary’s glasses. Both avoided eye contact with the four sitting outside the office. As they walked slowly along the hallway, Mary tenderly rubbed the seat of her jeans.

“Mrs Hornby? Becka?”

The two mother/daughter couples had been so intent on watching Mary walk away, they hadn’t noticed Mrs Cartwright appear in the open doorway.

Becka’s mother stood up immediately, but she had to encourage her daughter to do likewise by tugging at her arm. Becka seemed to be adjusting her underwear through her white denim jeans as she was pushed through into the office, and then the door closed.

“Mom, please spank me,” Annabeth wailed as soon as they were alone.

“Not this time, hon. If you like, I’ll try and pick up a few tips for when we’re at home,” Sarah Hayes said with a smile.

The attempt at humor was lost on Annabeth. She sat with her hands on her head looking down at the floor. Only when the popping sound was heard again did she look up at the door. Her eyes were moist now, close to tears. Her body shook with nerves.

In less than two minutes, the door opened again and Becka and her mother walked slowly out into the hallway. Becka, mopping tears from her face with a tissue, gave a weak smile in Annabeth’s direction, then headed along towards the secretaries’ station.

Annabeth stood up and smoothed down her tan-colored jeans, even before Mrs Cartwright appeared in the open doorway. It caught the vice-principal by surprise.

“Oh! Come in, Annabeth. We’re ready for you.” Mrs Cartwright waited for Sarah Hayes to follow, and then closed the door behind them.

As Annabeth looked around the room, she half-smiled to Miss Tyhurst, her coach on the running team. In her mid-twenties, Linda Tyhurst was a fit, suntanned young lady with long auburn hair. She wore a white floral dress, and was standing beside a small upright chair, its back towards the center of the room.

“Don’t worry, soon be over, Annabeth.”

Annabeth nodded, not sure she really wanted this attractive young teacher watching her get a spanking. But, she was going to see, and the seventeen-year-old had no choice in the matter.

Elsewhere, a wooden paddle lay on the vice-principal’s desk. It was eighteen inches long, four inches wide and about half an inch thick. Made of a light-colored wood, it seemed innocuous enough, but Annabeth still shivered when her eyes focused on it.

“Okay, Annabeth,” Mrs Cartwright said, interrupting the teenager’s thoughts. “It’s five licks. Before you go over to that chair, please check you have nothing in your back pockets.”

Inserting both hands into the back pockets of her jeans, Annabeth found a small piece of paper in one pocket, removed it and handed it to her mother.

“All clear,” she confirmed.

The act of having to remove even a tiny piece of paper in case it interfered with the paddling brought home to Annabeth the seriousness of what she was about to endure. She recalled her mother’s warning that a school paddling was not something to be taken lightly. Now, she was afraid.

“Annabeth, I’m going to ask you to go over to that chair by Miss Tyhurst and bend over the back of it,” Mrs Cartwright said in a calm, even voice that Annabeth found quite chilling. “Get your head down low and thrust your butt out. Okay? Go ahead whenever you’re ready.”

Annabeth wanted to put on a show of bravado, especially for Miss Tyhurst, but somehow her legs struggled to carry her the few short steps over to the chair, and she was shaking visibly. Seeing Mrs Cartwright pick up the paddle did not help.

As she approached, Annabeth noticed an odd sort of sympathetic smile on Miss Tyhurst’s face. Gripping the top rail of the chair so tightly her fingers hurt, Annabeth risked a hasty glance round at her mother, who appeared worried for her daughter. Yet both were clearly prepared to witness Annabeth getting her backside pounded with that awesome wooden paddle. With everyone watching, waiting, Annabeth contemplated her final surrender. She quickly dived headfirst over the back of the chair and gripped the edge of the seat for all she was worth.

“Stick your butt out more,” whispered Miss Tyhurst. “Maybe get your head a bit lower down?”

Annabeth followed the direction as best she could, surprised the friendly young teacher was offering advice on how to get her butt properly spanked. Now her tan-colored jeans felt very snug around her ample bottom-cheeks and her eyes were just below the level of the chair seat. It wasn’t a comfortable position, and she wondered if she would be able to hold it when the paddle started hitting her backside, yet she knew she just had to. Somehow, it was her duty to hold still and make the paddling of her backside as easy as she could for the vice-principal.


Mrs Cartwright applied the paddle right across the center of Annabeth’s jean-covered bottom. It stung like crazy. With a pause of just a second or two, the paddle spanked Annabeth for a second time, bringing increased smarting and stinging to her bottom. The third, the fourth and the fifth swats rained down quickly, and Annabeth sensed her bottom was on fire.

“That’s it, you’re done, Annabeth.”

Annabeth heard Mrs Cartwright’s voice, but the words didn’t register. She remained bent over the back of the chair.

“Spanking’s over,” Miss Tyhurst confirmed, placing a consoling hand on the girl’s shoulder.

Annabeth slowly raised herself up from her bending position and instinctively rubbed her bottom with both hands. She sniffed back a couple of tears, but still found her eyes watering.

“Come on, hon, let’s get you home,” Sarah Hayes said when her daughter turned away from the chair.

“You okay with that paddling, Mrs Hayes?” Mrs Cartwright asked cautiously.

“Yes, I guess. Certainly fair and reasonable.”

Mother and daughter went along the hallway and past the secretaries’ station. Neither spoke. Annabeth knew the secretaries were all looking at her, and she did her best to walk steadily through the wider hallway and along the hall to the lockers. Several students passed her and they could clearly see Annabeth was upset. They would speculate, correctly, Annabeth had just had a paddling. Some would sympathize, some would find it amusing. Ignoring them, she selected the books she would need for her homework and went with her mother out through the main doors. They got to their car and Sarah Hayes pressed the key fob to unlock the doors. They both got in, Annabeth taking unusual care as she sat in the front passenger seat. She squirmed, her discomfort clear.

“You okay, hon?” Sarah Hayes asked her daughter.

“Fine,” replied Annabeth abruptly, then clenched her mouth shut.

“Wish you’d taken the detention now?”


Sarah Hayes started up the engine and drove out of the school campus.

“I almost asked Mrs Cartwright to go easy on you. She was swinging that paddle with some force, you know.”

“I know. I felt it.”

“I should have said something.”

“No, I’m still glad you didn’t.”

“Really? Why?”

“Pride? I had to take my spanking just like Mary and Becka. It would have been awful if I’d had special treatment.”

“Yes, I see what you’re saying.”

Mrs Hayes thought deeply as they drove through town.

“So, do you think Mary and Becka are regretting they took the spankings? Does Saturday detention appeal to you a bit more now?”

“I don’t know about the others, but I’m still glad I took the paddling. I reckon they’ll feel the same way too.”

“You think? I don’t get it. Mrs Cartwright spanked you real hard, yet you sound like you’re supporting her.”

“I am.”

“Can you explain that to me?”

“Mom, we broke one of the basic rules; stay on campus at all times. We knew we were breaking the rule, so we knew we would be punished if we got caught. Okay?”

“Yes, I understand that.”

“We got caught. There were three possibilities; counselling on how the rule was there for our safety, and that could go on for hours. Big yawn. Detention on Saturday, and that also really sucks. The spanking? Quick, soon over and done with, and a good reminder to behave in future. There’s no contest.”

“So, you’re not uptight about it?”

“It sucked having my mother there to watch me get spanked. I’m not sure about Miss Tyhurst, but she seemed okay about it.”

“Hey, I’ve grounded you a couple of times. Are you saying you’d have preferred a spanking?”

“Yes, of course I would.”


“Mom, you’re my mother. You’re not my best friend. There’s been so many times you should have disciplined me, and you didn’t. You just went all cold, or silent. I knew I’d disappointed you, but the way you reacted was awful. I hated it, and then I started hating myself.”

“So, what should I have done, in your view?”

“Spanked me! Punish me! That’s what mothers do, or should do.”

“Even now?”

“Yes, even now.”

The End

© Kenny Walters 2022