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Boss Refuses To Make Employee Put Away Her Mother’s Day Flowers After Employee With Fertility Issues Complains

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Holidays are often times to celebrate an occasion, a person, or an idea. However, if your experience with the subject of the holiday isn’t a positive one, it can make the celebration painful rather than fun.

Redditor maydaymothersday didn’t experience that directly, but had to handle it through one of her employees. When a request was made of them, the original poster (OP) denied it and now is wondering if that was the right choice.

So they took their query to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit, asking:

“AITA for not making an employee put away her flowers?”

OP explained how an employee received a bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day.

“Yesterday was mother’s day, for context.”

“I run a bakery, and have a staff of mostly middle aged women.”

“One of my employees Maria received a bouquet from her son for mother’s day and left it in a safe space on her work station. She doesn’t handle food or work near it so the flowers shouldn’t be contaminating anything.”

But another employee with fertility issues didn’t care for the reminder.

“One of my other employees, Iris, was very upset by the flowers and asked that I have Maria put them away.”

“To add some info, Iris has had issues conceiving and gets a little sensitive when it comes to the topic of motherhood.”

“I sympathize with her, truly, but I didn’t want to make Maria put her gift away as she really enjoyed them and they were a special gift.”

OP was stuck between a rock and a hard place, but ultimately sided with Maria.

“I told Iris I was sorry, but Maria was allowed to have her flowers on her desk. She became visibly upset and left early and called in sick today.”

“I feel like an a** because I know things must be hard for her, especially right now. Reddit. Am I the a**hole?”

The AITA board judges people based on their actions and choices. People tell their stories and await their decision.

This is given with one of the following verdicts:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The board decided that Iris’s request was unreasonable. It isn’t like she can stop all celebrations of motherhood in her life, and OP was right to let Maria leave her flowers out.

OP was voted to be NTA.

“NTA. It’s sad that Iris has had issues conceiving, but all of the mothers of the world can’t tiptoe around her because of that.” – lihzee

“NTA. Fertility struggles are hard (know from experience) but you can’t hide from other people celebrating just so your feelings don’t get hurt.”

“She can share that displays like this hurt her, but it’s no one else’s obligation to not enjoy what they have because she doesn’t.” – FlashRx

“NTA. Iris needs to deal with the fact that the world does not revolve around her fertility issues. She cannot expect the world to cater to her triggers and sensitivities.”

“She needs to work on that for herself and not expect everyone else to tip toe around her.” – Clare_schmare

“Also I do wonder if she does have children one day, will she celebrate Mother’s Day all out or will she not celebrate/avoid any mention of it in support of others that are still struggling with fertility – the way she expects others to do?” – _Raziel__

“NTA, it’s understandable that she’s upset by Mother’s Day as someone who wanted children but hasn’t been able to have them, but it’s not really realistic to remove all evidence of other people’s motherhood from the world for the sake of sensitivity.”

“If it doesn’t interfere with work and it’s her personal workspace it’s reasonable to let her keep them.”

“I think you did the right thing, iris sounds like she’s just having a rough time and taking space.” – here_wegoagain55

However, others were more sympathetic towards Iris. What she’s been dealing with isn’t easy, and it’s understandable why she might not want to be reminded of the day.

They wouldn’t go so far as to say that OP was wrong, but they didn’t think Iris was wrong either.

This led to a lot of votes of NAH.

“I’m gonna say NAH. Purely because the work setting is a bakery.”

“As someone who was a cake decorator for also 10 years, work made every single mother’s day incredibly hard as someone who lost their mom at a young age. I can imagine the pain of infertility can be just as crushing even if it is different.”

“The odds are great she’d been staring down mother’s day themed cakes, cookies, petit fours, etc. If she’s customer-facing, I imagine she had dealt with so many people coming in to order for and treat their moms.”

“You very likely have had Mom’s day-themed items all week and the flowers may have just been the straw that broke her ability to deal with the pain and her job.”

“Of course, Maria has every right to display her gift. I don’t think there would have been harm in asking Maria if she minded placing them elsewhere, privately, without letting Iris know.”

“That way, Maria had the full agency to say no and, if the answer was ‘no’, you as the owner could still take the heat and absorb any awkwardness or hurt feelings from Iris.”

“Mother’s day can be really hard for people for a whole host of reasons and I just don’t feel comfortable calling Iris an AH for struggling but I also don’t feel comfortable calling you or Maria AH’s either.” – JaydotFay

“Nah. I do understand how Iris feels. I was never able to conceive and ended up with cancer in my early forties.”

“It is hard…sisters’ baby showers, Mother’s Day flowers, and feeling left out of everything that involves ‘families’ because without children yours isn’t worthy…however, the world doesn’t revolve around our pain.”

“People are still allowed to enjoy things. She wasn’t wrong to have feelings about it and need a mental health day, but you nor Maria were wrong to enjoy the flowers and not ignore mothers for iris’ sake.” – scrannyB

“NAH…. Honestly, I would recommend allowing her to have Mother’s Day off every year. I worked at a bakery for 4 years and Mother’s Day was a very big day for us.”

“I’m sure the same may be said for your bakery. But with all of those reminders, I can’t imagine Iris was a very effective employee even before she left early.”

“If her co-worker receiving flowers hit her so hard, I can imagine all of the people buying sweets for Mother’s Day had her on the verge of breaking down, as it is.” – SilverPhoenix2513

It can be tough being in charge, and having to make calls like this. OP didn’t want to hurt Iris, but the request for Maria to not celebrate was too far.

At the same time, maybe Iris does need a few days to not be around this. It might be worth it to look at planning time off around Mother’s Day for her. It’s something to consider.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.