For those who are passionate about parenting, either in practice or in theory, one common thread in effective parenting is the emotional bond a parent has with their child.
If there isn’t trust and an emotional connection, the child may not feel comfortable going to their parent with a concern, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
The Redditor, who has since deleted his account, had a special relationship with his daughter, as he had been the primary caregiver since she was born, so it came as no surprise that she went to him when she experienced her first period.
But when his wife was furious about her choosing her father over her mother, the Original Poster (OP) had some things to say.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for helping my daughter during a vulnerable time against my wife’s wishes?”
The OP and his wife had an imbalanced relationship with their daughter.
“I (36 Male) have a 13-year-old daughter whom I have been extremely close to her entire life.”
“When she was first born, I was the one who stayed at home because her mother was anxious to get back to work not even a week after she was born.”
“We spent every moment together that we can when I’m not working, and we are always going out for our adventures walking on bike tracks or going for ice cream, etc.”
“My wife, on the other hand, is ‘always too tired to spend time with her.’ This has been an excuse every day since our daughter was born, and she has hardly ever spent any time with her.”
“To clarify for those asking, we have worked on a daughter/mother relationship. We have been to family counseling, and every time, my wife will work on it for a couple of months, but it doesn’t tend to last more than that, and then she goes back to her old ways.”
The imbalance really showed when the OP’s daughter had her first period.
“Well recently, she has started her first menstrual cycle. Instead of going to her mother (who was home at the time), she came to me.”
“I showed her how to use a pad, gave her some, and offered to go shopping for some the next day.”
“She seemed happy enough and went on her way.”
“Her mother asked me what that was all about, and I told her that my daughter had her first cycle and wanted to know how to use the products.”
His wife didn’t take this well.
“My wife is now furious with me. She’s saying that’s ‘a mother’s job, and she should have asked her instead of me’ and now isn’t talking to me.”
“I said, ‘If she felt comfortable talking to you, she would have asked you, but you’re never around and never spend any time with her.”
“She responded that she’s busy working.”
“I said I am too, but I always have time.”
“She said she doesn’t always have time and doesn’t always want to spend time with a child.”
“She added she would rather spend time with adults and have drinks and have a conservation with them rather than childish conversation.”
“I told her that’s why our daughter felt comfortable asking me and not her.”
“Now she’s accusing me of inappropriate behavior towards our daughter.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the mother needed to be there consistently if she wanted to be there for this.
“NTA. You covered it in what you said to your wife. You don’t get to pick and choose which bits of parenting you get to experience and which you get to delegate.” – Crackles247
“What was he supposed to do? Let the kid suffer or embarrass herself? You would think the mother of all people would want to save their own daughter from that, SMH (shaking my head).” – HewktAwnPhonix
“She sees her dad as her caregiver because he is. I wished I had someone to talk to at the time.”
“My mom told me when I turned 12 that I knew where the pads were and to figure it out on my own because no one taught her. She was that way with everything like cooking and cleaning etc.”
“She’s one of those people who liked the fantasy of kids but none of the reality. She always acted like she hated kids.” – Successful_Moment_91
“This makes me quite sad. My mum made the day I got mine a big deal. She was happy, saw it as a milestone, and congratulated me on it.”
“She then went out and bought a pack of like everything. Pads, tampons, painkillers, etc., taught me how to use them. And then we went out for lunch. Got the whole day off from school.”
“Of course, she told all my female relatives when we saw them, so embarrassing.”
“But the fact that so many people get nothing or feel scared or ashamed is awful.” – chauceresque
“This is an especially great point seeing as how way too many fathers appear to love being a dad because the mother does the lion’s share of the work and they get to present for Kodak moments. This seems like one of those Kodak moments that the mother could brag about to her ‘adult’ friends.” – AtomicBlastCandy
“NTA. Your wife is reaping what she sowed. She can’t have it both ways. You can’t expect a kid to come to you with important things when you admit you don’t like spending time with them and have put zero effort into the relationship.” – No_Rope_8115
“Also, can I mention how it could possibly damage the relationship between OP and his daughter if he was to suddenly dismiss her like that to go speak to her mother instead? I love my dad but he was a very ‘go ask your mother’ type parent for everything, which in turn… made me go ask my mother for everything I needed and I rarely came to him for anything.”
“If OP was to suddenly do that, especially when his daughter is in a pretty vulnerable state as getting her first period, she may have been so embarrassed to not approach him again.”
“OP, you’re NTA, and good on you for being such a great dad.” – BlazingApp965
Others agreed and questioned how the mother even saw her daughter.
“I like to say I was wanted in theory but resented in practice. Pretty much sums it up.” – SeaworthinessNo1304
“It seems to me that OP’s wife sees this event as her daughter starting to become an adult and therefore is now worthy of her time. Once the daughter turns 21, mom will expect them to be BFFs and go out drinking.”
“NTA OP, but please think hard about continuing to raise your child in this situation.” – ZippyKat85
“I also want to point out that the daughter chose to come to her father instead of her mother because she felt more comfortable with him. That speaks volumes about how close she feels to her mom.”
“OP’s wife is trying to turn it into a competition when the daughter was clearly happy with the outcome. I think she’s more upset her daughter didn’t choose to confide in her so she blames OP.”
“NTA.” – LowImagination3028
“It’s a pretty stark reminder too about how s**tty of a mother she is when her own daughter would feel more comfortable going to a man about this.”
“She can pretend she does her part all day, but this is one of those things she can’t deny she’s failed as a parent, so naturally she’s deflecting and taking it out on the husband.” – GwenA
“My SIL never wanted kids but my brother wanted a big family; this was known before they got married.”
“They made a deal and he would take care of feedings, changing, and whatnot as she had her own things that she wanted to do.”
“It was a surprise when she actually started including him in things; of course, it wasn’t until he was older.”
“OP’s wife may have been the same way, or maybe she thought that she’d get a maternal feeling once she was pregnant.”
“Either way, OP is NTA and I really feel for his daughter, feeling unwanted or like a burden by a parent is a horrible feeling.” – nocleverresponse
“Whoa, NTA by a mile. I think you know this.”
“The ‘inappropriate behavior’ charge was certainly said out of anger, but I wouldn’t take this lightly. If things go south between you and your wife, this is almost certainly going to happen again.”
“It might be a good idea to keep a secret journal of these kinds of things, and document them carefully.”
“I’m not suggesting that you plan for divorce, but you should start taking steps to protect yourself. Even when entirely unfounded, these kinds of accusations can ruin your life.” – ProbablyLongComment
The subReddit openly praised the OP for helping his daughter and giving her an environment where she could comfortably go to him to talk about a sensitive topic.
But they were worried about the situation with the mother. Whether she was more interested in her daughter now because she was older, or simply thought she should be able to pick and choose responsibilities, they were concerned about the impact she ultimately would have on the household, not to mention the daughter’s mental and emotional development.