Mom Talks Embarrassing Son, 12, at School in Viral Video: 'Loved You Since…I Pushed You Out'

“I’ve been embarrassing him since he was a little baby, that’s just our thing,” Tonia Erin tells PEOPLE

Tonia Erin
Tonia Erin and son Ashton. Photo: courtesy Tonia Erin

Embarrassing your kids is a normal part of being a parent, but this mom is taking things to the next level — and going viral for it.

Tonia Erin, 36, has dedicated a whole TikTok series to documenting all of the creative — and hysterical — ways she embarrasses her 12-year-old son Ashton while dropping him off at school.

In one viral video, which has been seen over 21 million times, she delivers a very special goodbye with a little help from a karaoke microphone as her son exits the car in front of the school.

"Ashton, don't forget how much I love you," she says in the amplified message. "I've loved you since the day I pushed you out of my hoo-ha."

"Make good choices!" she adds as the video comes to an end. "Love you, baby."

As for how the video came to be, Tonia tells PEOPLE that she originally had a different plan in mind, which her husband talked her out of.

"I knew that I wanted to say something shocking, right?" she says. "I was talking to my husband about it the night before and I told him I was going to say, 'I've loved you since the day I pushed you out of my vagina.' And he was like, 'No, you can't say that. You can't say that in front of the school.' "

"So I settled on my 'hoo-haa' instead," she adds.

Tonia says that she and her son Ashton — who has fun making the videos and doesn't really get embarrassed by them anymore — were absolutely "blown away" after the video quickly blew up, getting a million views within 48 hours.

"It's just gone crazy," she says. "Ashton and I, we just laugh. We get excited."

"We actually got recognized for the first time in Walmart," she adds. "I think that's another thing I'm going to do, embarrassing and pranking him out in public."

Tonia Erin
Tonia Erin with sons Ashton and Jonathan. courtesy Tonia Erin

In terms of how the videos work, Tonia says that while her son never knows what's coming, she always gives him a heads up.

"I always ask him if he's good with it," she says. "But he doesn't know what I'm going to do, or what I'm going to say — he just knows that something's coming."

Tonia says the videos are a hit among his classmates and school, and "have actually elevated his cool-kid status."

"All of his friends and teachers think it's really awesome," she says.

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However, that doesn't mean she wasn't a little nervous when she got a message from the school's secretary one day.

"I was like, 'Oh crap, I'm about to get in trouble,' " she recalls.

Much to her surprise, the secretary was just reaching out to come up with a plan to collaborate on a video.

When it comes to the secret to their viral success, Tonia — who now has over 420,000 followers — says it's all about the special bond she has with her son.

"People love seeing the relationship between me and Ashton," she says. "I think it just makes people smile."

"We are both so appreciative of all of the love and positive feedback that we have gotten. We really hope that we just inspire other families, and parents and kiddos to have fun with each other and not care what anybody else thinks about 'em," she says. "Life is short. Just enjoy it."

Tonia Erin
Tonia Erin and son Ashton. courtesy Tonia Erin

As for what the future may hold, Tonia says an "embarrassing-my-mom" series might be on the way.

"Apparently my husband and Ashton are working on that. We shall see," she says. "I don't get embarrassed or very rarely do I get embarrassed, so we'll see what they come up with. I'm a little nervous."

She also hopes that she and her son can meet Ellen DeGeneres.

"We love Ellen DeGeneres," she says. "We know that this is her last season and we're just going to hopefully manifest that into our reality."

But more than anything, Tonia is enjoying all of the memories she's making with her son.

"I've been embarrassing him since he was a little baby, that's just our thing," she says. "But I just figured TikTok is such a great way to keep memories, right? And hopefully this platform is gonna to be around for a long time."

"It's just a way to be able to record everything we love doing and that makes us laugh," she adds. "And be able to go back and look at it years into the future."

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