(WMC-TV) - The woman dubbed "Gatorade Mom" is trying to turn her situation around after she was charged with child abuse after beating her son for stealing a bin of the drink.
Nicole Wright's son is staying with his father and she's entering a parenting program. However, in the meantime, she's dreading the thought of spending Christmas without her son.
"I'm trying to tell him and show him this is not the way because he's missing out and I'm missing out," Wright said.
The Memphis mom is facing a child abuse charge and a restraining order, after beating her son for trying to steal a Gatorade bin from a Memphis Athletics Ministries basketball game.
"He came in with his coat on - came out with it off. He had it wrapped up under his arm," she said. "I was like, 'Nicholas, put your coat on. We're getting ready to go. It's cold outside.'"
She then noticed a huge bin of Gatorade wrapped inside the coat.
Her son said the coach gave it to him, but after the coach told Wright he did not, she admits she beat the 6-foot tall, 200 pound 13-year-old.
"That broke my heart; embarrassed me," Wright said. "Because they know I'm a single mother with three boys and trying to keep them on the right path."
Wright said the beating was not as severe as the police report alleges. She said she didn't throw her son down and kick him in the face. Wright said she grabbed him and he fell.
Wright said her son has been suspended from school eight times, is bullying his younger brother and has threatened his teachers.
She said she did what she knew to try to turn him around.
"When I was young and stole from my cousin, my mom got me home and tore my butt up," she said. "Ask me if I stole anymore. No, I didn't."
She said she has considered a "scared straight" type of program for her son, but she thinks he just misses his dad.
"I think he's where he wants to be, which is with his dad," she said. "I was trying to fix the problem myself and I know I can't do it by myself."
Now, Wright's enrolling in parenting and anger management classes to be a better mom.
"I go to my higher power and try to pray, try to keep it together, try to stay humble and it's working," she said. "It's working."
In addition to facing criminal charges, Wright said she also lost her job over the incident.