Sometimes when people think of childhood milestones, they only think of the milestones that occur for babies, like learning to crawl, walk, and become potty-trained.
But there are other milestones that come later, like the various aspects of puberty, that parents and children have to learn to navigate together, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor No-Tap8247’s daughter recently experienced her first period, so he found himself navigating the situation in his ex-wife’s absence.
But when his ex-wife later called him out and said he was excluding her, the Original Poster (OP) thought she was becoming angry about the wrong things.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not asking my ex for help when my daughter had her period?”
The OP had a terrible relationship with his ex-wife.
“My ex-wife works out of town. She works for two weeks and then gets a week off. I used to do that schedule as well but I now work from home as a maintenance planner.”
“When we divorced, I got primary custody of our daughter and son since I was the one available to do the parenting.”
“I have very little interest in discussing anything with my ex. Yes, there is a lot of bitterness and recrimination in our relationship.”
“I loved my ex with all my heart. And while I always thought she was beautiful it wasn’t as easy for other people to see. However, when you are one of a dozen women in a 2,000-man work camp, you get a lot of attention. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
When his daughter had her first period, the OP wasn’t interested in calling his ex.
“My daughter is ten years old and she just got her first period.”
“I grew up with sisters and I am not a complete idiot so I read up on what to do. I also talked to my mom and sisters about it. I had been prepared since she was 8.”
“I gave her the boxes of pads and tampons. I explained to her that it was normal and healthy. I watched a video with her that was a tutorial on what to do.”
“I also asked her if she would like to talk to either my sister or the woman I’m seeing about how to do everything right.”
“She said that she understood and would like to talk to my sister on the weekend.”
“After dinner on Saturday, my sister talked to me about it. She said that I had gotten the basics correct and there were only a couple of things she needed to explain or correct.”
The OP’s ex-wife later called him out on how he’d handled the situation.
“My ex called to talk to the kids yesterday and afterward yelled at me on the phone.”
“She called me an a**hole for excluding her from a milestone in her daughter’s life.”
“I asked her if it had happened during her week with the kids and if she would have told me about it.”
“She said that wasn’t the point. It was a mother-daughter thing and that I took it away from her.”
“I said it was a parent-kid medical issue and that made it a me thing.”
“I am a man so maybe I just don’t get it.”
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 were angry with the OP for not getting in touch with the mom right away.
“YTA for not giving your daughter the option of talking to her mother about it. You offered your girlfriend and sister but intentionally excluded her mother.” – No-System-3032
“YTA. Although you claim not to block or limit contact with mom, your disdain for her bleeds through here.”
“Why mention or hint at the reason for your split otherwise since it has nothing to do with the topic PLUS the sleep in the face that your wife was attractive only to you unless there’s a high male-to-female ratio?”
“So, you did many things right but you didn’t inform mom as you should’ve. It’s a simple part of co-parenting and you limited the options you offered your daughter regarding who she could talk to or ask questions. You are excluding mom regarding a critical milestone and not encouraging communication with her when your daughters will have questions.”
“This isn’t about a blubbering mother-daughter moment but no one who hasn’t had a period can understand what it is like to have one or will know everything to expect. Mom should be the first person you’re encouraging her to talk to regardless of what your relationship is like with her.” – LadyMuse20
“You didn’t OFFER to call mom, you offered two other women. She most likely knows you do not like her mom and went along with one of your suggestions instead.” – Bowser7717
“Why wasn’t her mother on the list of women for her to talk to? That’s the thing that makes me question you.”
“No matter how close she is with her aunt or your girlfriend, most girls would want to talk to their mom. Obviously, she could choose to do that on her own, but it’s weird that you deliberately left her out of the list of options.” – Solid-Technology-448
“YTA. This is an important milestone and you recommended people other than her mother to talk to her about it. Not cool. I’d be heartbroken if I was her mother.” – snorkelpug
“I might misunderstand, are you saying you didn’t even text your ex that your daughter started her period because you’re saying she could have called her?”
“I have two grown children and have had a divorce. I will still let him know absolutely anything that happens to his children, as I hope he would me.” – sweetkitty7272
“Kids pick up on this stuff. You might not have explicitly said it but do you really think your daughter isn’t aware that you and her mother have bad blood?”
“Do you REALLY think she didn’t notice that her mum wasn’t one of the options you offered her for support? If she was feeling a bit vulnerable, do you REEEEEEAAAAALLLLLY think she would have risked upsetting you by asking for her mum above your sister or current partner?” – therewillbedrama
“Gonna say ESH. While I applaud you for being able to explain it, you neglected to not include your ex in the list of people she could talk to (which is obviously going to impact what your kid does because she’s only 10).”
“You also did not give your ex a heads-up so that she could be able to make sure tampons and panty liners aren’t the only things she has at her house and that pads are also available. She also sucks for getting this mad about it.”
“Look man, kids can tell when their parents don’t like each other, divorced or not. They can tell when the subject irritates you. We all know that your daughter could have called her mom, and you did a good job of explaining it to her.”
“But regardless of the bulls**t reasons you keep saying here, you could have offered her as an option over your girlfriend or even included her in the options. You guys are supposed to be civil co-parents, but man I can tell how much you hate her just from this post.” – Striking_Ad_6573
“ESH. I’m a family law attorney. This is not legal advice. This is my experience of working with couples like this.”
“I would tear you apart on the stand for this. It’s very clear that you’re alienating your daughter. Saying ‘she can call whenever she wants’ doesn’t suffice for clearing the alienation boat.”
“As others have said, children are FAR more perceptive of your feelings about your ex and vice versa than parents think. You also asked her a leading question: aunt or girlfriend. Mom wasn’t a choice. Kids pick up on that too.”
“That said. Your ex should never scream at you.”
“You are both unhealthy co-parents and need to find a way to deal with it. You need therapy to get over your marriage the appropriate way. Only your children will lose here.” – DerpyEsq
Others applauded the OP for giving his daughter the immediate care she needed.
“NTA. You handled the situation very well and managed to teach your daughter everything she needed to know, as well as redirecting her to people who could also advise her.”
“I don’t see the need for you to have immediately gone to tell your ex about her first period, especially considering that it was already happening, although it might have been nice if you told her after you figured it out. Anyway, well done.” – PorQueMeHacenEsto
“I absolutely detest the idea that this should only be a mother/daughter activity, that tampons/pads should be hidden so the boys won’t see, refusing to let dads be a part of the discussion (as long as the child is comfortable), etc. We need to normalize periods; they’re a part of life that’s absolutely unavoidable.”
“My dad would take me for supplies (including chocolate!) and I felt no shame in letting him know if I happened to be on my period or was experiencing terrible cramping. I felt supported and safe through the process, and he was actually a LOT better than my mom.”
“Girls deserve to have support and not be made to feel like lepers. Parents shielding their boys from this like some dirty little secret are setting their kids up for failure. Should the boy happen to be straight, he will ABSOLUTELY be dealing with this in the future, and it’s mom and dad’s responsibility to teach him it’s normal and how to support the women in their lives.”
“Similarly, having a period is hard enough without being made to feel shame at a natural bodily function. Great job, Dad! NTA at all.” – RogueSlytherin
“What a wonderful thing for OP’s daughter to grow up expecting men to be comfortable and open about normal bodily functions. Now, when she grows up, she is appropriately going to think it’s weird when men refuse to talk about these things. OP did a great thing here. NTA, OP.” – schoobydoo42
“My dad was the best about periods. I always felt comfortable telling him I was out of pads, needed Midol, or even how bad my symptoms were that day. If I mentioned I was feeling bad, he would come by my room with a heating pad, hot tea, and a chocolate bar within the hour.”
“My mom was helpful with the anatomical logistics, but my dad’s attitude towards it is what empowered me to not feel ashamed about my period in future relationships. I hope OP’s great handling of the situation is able to do the same for his daughter. I didn’t realize how uncommon it was until much later in life.” – miraculous_milk
“You took good care of your daughter. You also showed her that some men do understand what is happening and what she may need. You gave her female options for questions you couldn’t answer, and you did it in a way that she didn’t need to feel ashamed or uncomfortable.”
“I commend you on a job well done.” – vomitthewords
While the subReddit could agree that the daughter’s care and education about her body was the first prioritiy, they were otherwise torn about how the OP handled the situation.
Some thought the OP had done the right thing by providing immediate care to her and giving her access to women in her life who could assist her right away.
But others thought the OP sent the wrong message by not immediately putting her in touch with her mother, and further solidifying the fact that the mother and father did not have a good relationship, which could hurt their child in the long-run.