A father and his husband raising a 13-year-old girl going through puberty surely comes with some challenges.
To save herself from embarrassment, their daughter would call to be picked up from school when she unexpectedly has her period.
The last thing Redittor "aita_dadnurse" needed was listening to the school nurse lecturing him about parenting after she accused his daughter of being manipulative.
Dad had some contentious words while defending his daughter but now feels guilty.
So he asked the "Am I the A$$hole" SubReddit community if his frustration was warranted.
"My husband and I (both 40m) are raising a 13-y/o girl, to clarify."
"My daughter struggles every few months with her period. She's fine most of the time, but some months she gets her period unexpected at school, and it's embarrassing to her."
"She won't carry pads because they have clear backpacks, and she doesn't like wearing her own slightly bloody underwear for half a day—understandable."
"When she gets her period, she goes to the nurse with 'an awful stomachache' and I am called (I work from home so it's easier for me to get her.) Nurse always reminds me that she 'could be faking' but I always pick her up and bring her home."
When the OP went to retrieve his daughter, the nurse had some words.
"Yesterday, she called again, so I walked into school to get her and the nurse was waiting in the office. Nurse asked me if I was aware that my daughter had 'a pattern'."
"I told her yes, but that we had things figured out. Nurse said that if she's really having stomach problems like this, I should take her to the doctor, because she might have anxiety. I said 'thank you, but my husband and I have things figured out'."
"Nurse got very cold. 'I don't think you're taking her anxiety seriously. Fathers are supposed to want what's best for their girls, and as a nurse I feel it's my duty to ensure she is safe.'"
"This lit a fuse with me. Here's where I could be TA: I told the nurse 'I know my daughter better than you do. It is none of your business what her stomach issues come from unless a parent tells you.'"
"She then told me: 'I am afraid if she is not anxious she is manipulating you into bringing her home from school. Is there a class she dreads? Does she do her homework?'"
"I said: 'My daughter is an honor roll student and an honest girl. I'm sorry you don't think so, but I know her and I know she's not lying to me. Stay out of our personal business.'"
"She turned over my daughter without saying much else."
The OP was forced to come up with an alternate plan to avoid future confrontations.
But his altercation with the nurse weighed on his guilty conscience.
"Daughter will now go to the bathroom and text me instead of the nurse—we'll just say she has 'an appointment.' I feel awful, though, for being ticked—the nurse is a professional who deals with awful parents daily, and I know she was just trying to help."
What followed was an interesting discourse about parenting, puberty and the pill.
This Redditor said "You're the a$$hole" (YTA), but explained that—unless she was suffering from a serious medical issue —saving her from distress every time sets her up for failure.
"YTA but hear me out. i'm sure she was only trying to help, and your daughter missing so much school is definitely an issue."
"she needs to carry some pads with her, maybe in a separate little decorative pouch so people can't tell what they are."
"throw some midol in there for the cramps. this is the hard part of being a woman, learning that life cannot completely stop every month when it comes."
"if there is a serious pain/discharge problem, she should visit an OB/GYN and if there isn't a serious problem, she should learn this lesson before she's fired from her first job for calling out sick every month."
"i realize how hard it is to not love on and nurture our babies when they're not feeling good but one woman's opinion, you're setting her up for failure by continuing the pattern without attempting to fix the issue."
"ETA i do think the nurse was a bit out of line by pressing the anxiety/manipulation dialogue but i still stand firm that you're unfortunately the AH here." – taylorgone
Some users talked about how schools should provide for feminine hygiene products available for emergencies.
"At school they should be free especially if a student had an accident. Back at my old high school if a girl needed one cause it came early, leaked through, or ran out we had to buy 1 from the nurse. $1 for pads $2 for tampons."
"Never could understand why they made us pay when they knew a good size of the student body couldn't do that." – Batcow2106
"There was a lot of poor and homeless kids who's families couldn't afford to get pads/tampons where i grew up."
"I remember one classmate who used towel scraps and wash them in the gyms bathroom if no one was watching. In middle school some female teachers will give extra credit if students brought in those items to help out other students." – Batcow2106
"Please do not blame the nurse. She is there earning a paycheck."
"If the school does not buy them... Can parents of females donate some to the school? Same as we donate supplies. As a teen I kept a back up pad and tampon in my locker." – megabitch420
"That is some f'ing bulls**t tampons and pads shouldn't be classified as novelty items and thus not be so f'ing expensive."
"it's not like you can stop your period at will. People need them for basic f'ing hygiene and it is such bulls**t that they're not cheaper/free." – littreshbag
Some users suggested oral contraceptives as an alternative, as the estrogen and progestin in birth control pills are known for regulating menstrual cycles.
"you can't call out sick just because you don't feel like carrying menstrual supplies."
"If she's getting more severe than average cramps she should try going on the pill. It was life changing for my sister who was suffering in high school." – insomniac29
"The pill can also be great because it makes your periods regular like clockwork, so instead of carrying supplies around all the time you know the exact day it's coming."
"I used to mark my calendar for exactly when it would strike, months in advance." – Errvalunia
However, there are some precautions to be aware of.
"There's a whole host of bulls**t that comes with going on the pill for some people, especially younger people."
"It should never be looked at as a quick fix for anything. If she doesn't want to fill her body with that s**t and she's not having sex, there's nothing wrong with taking an afternoon off from school once a month."
"I'm in my 30s and I take what I call a 'slow day' from work almost every month. I'm on birth control, but periods f'ing suck for some of us no matter what." – itsanincredibleegg
This user faulted the system and sided with the parent.
"This is an 'unintended consequence' of the rule that makes the kids use only transparent backpacks."
"I'm sure the school didn't intend to have a rule that seemingly discriminated against those girls that didn't want to advertise their periods to possibly every vulgar and immature boy in the school who may feel entitled to pass judgement, but it seems that to this pupil that's the result of this policy."
"The child has a right to her bodily autonomy, and this 'one size fits all' rule appears to have deprived her of that. Worse is the clueless nurse who instead of understanding the pubertal girls in her charge, decides to criticise this girl and her mother."
"There are definitely a$$holes in this story, but they're not the OP or her daughter." – FeteFatale
"I actually disagree about the nurse being out of line."
"I was younger than OP's daughter but I used to go to the nurse's office constantly because of stomach pain to the point that my school asked my parents to go to the doctor."
"I actually did have anxiety (although my parents didn't realise it wasn't normal for an eight year old to have pain due to stress and I wasn't taken to a psychiatrist)"
"My point is that the nurse has been seeing this young lady struggle and the parents seemingly not doing anything."
"It's not like you said 'she sometimes gets bad periods and that's why I'm picking her up.' You just said you have everything under control - that's what my parents said when they didn't deal with my anxiety."
"So I'm completely on the nurse's side here!" – JustHereToRedditAway
It's easy to designate someone as the a$$hole, but there is usually more going on than what is immediately apparent.