Dad Tells Stepdaughter She Can’t Leave Period Products In The Bathroom

The reality is that boys and men don’t get a firsthand experience of what it means to have that time of the month and don’t fully understand menstruation. So it makes sense that men shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter. Period.

One dad went online seeking empathy for a menstrual situation with his stepdaughter, but he didn’t exactly get it.

Let’s Be Real: Periods Suck

woman clutching abdomen bent over in fetal position
Photo Credit: Pexels / Sora Shimazaki
Photo Credit: Pexels / Sora Shimazaki

You don’t have to experience one to know that they aren’t exactly fun.

Between the painful cramps, the tendency to increase acne, and the straight-up discomfort of bleeding for a week, it makes sense that periods aren’t a walk in the park.

However, Most Boys Don’t Know Much About Them

group of young men sitting together
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Ryan Porter
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Ryan Porter

Unless they have a sister, girlfriend, or mother who’s very open about their monthly cycle, most boys grow up without any real understanding of periods and might even be grossed out about them.

That can continue on into adulthood.

One Stepfather Had Some Things To Say About It

the Reddit logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.
Photo Credit: Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

This stepfather took to Reddit to share a story about an argument that went down in his household.

He wrote in hoping to get some sympathy from people online who would support his side of the story.

So What Exactly Happened?

exterior of house
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Scott Webb
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Scott Webb

The man had moved his new wife and her daughter into his house six months prior, following their wedding.

Before this, he had just been living with his three teenage sons.

He’s A Big Fan Of His Stepdaughter

young woman studying at table
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kyle Gregory Devaras
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kyle Gregory Devaras

He spoke well of his stepdaughter, a 19-year-old, who gets along well with his own kids.

He called her a good influence and a very kind young woman, and he really does enjoy having her around.

However, There Was One Issue

stack of pads and tampons
Photo Credit: Unsplash / natracare
Photo Credit: Unsplash / natracare

All four of the step-siblings share one bathroom.

One week, one of the sons came to his father to say that the step-sister disposes of her used period products in the trashcan in the bathroom without disguising what they are.

The Boys Have Never Really Had A Woman In The House

interior of bathroom in home
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Sidekix Media
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Sidekix Media

This father has had pretty much full custody of his sons for most of their lives, them being aged 18, 16, and 15 respectively.

They’ve never lived with a woman, so they were uncomfortable with seeing period products around.

He Decided To Bring It Up

speech bubble on pink background
Photo Credit: Pexels / Miguel á Padriñán
Photo Credit: Pexels / Miguel á Padriñán

While the stepdaughter was doing schoolwork at the kitchen table with her mother nearby, the stepfather decided to speak up.

He told them both that his sons were uncomfortable with her disposing of her period items openly in the bathroom trash can.

Her Mother Came To Her Defense

row of unwrapped tampons
Photo Credit: Pexels / Anna Shvets
Photo Credit: Pexels / Anna Shvets

Her mother immediately laughed it off, saying that the concern was “rich coming from a man who sheds like a gorilla.”

The mom proceeded to explain that menstrual products can’t be flushed and that it’s wasteful for her daughter to fully bag and hide each one she has to throw out.

The Stepfather Wasn’t Happy About It

pad with red paint splattered on it
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro

In a later conversation with his wife, he said that it was unfair to her to make his sons uncomfortable.

In response, the wife said that her daughter has had her period of almost 10 years and knows how to handle it. Instead, she proposed that the sons “get a grip.”

The People Of The Internet Did Not Lean In His Favor, Though

YTA. How about you have a talk with your sons about periods instead of trying to shame a woman for bleeding.
Photo Credit: Reddit / itchybottombees
Photo Credit: Reddit / itchybottombees

Most of the people said that he was being the jerk in this situation.

Instead of asking his stepdaughter to change her behavior, many suggested that his sons instead should be more sympathetic to her and get over it.

Others Pointed To The Impracticality Of Worrying About The Boys’ Discomfort

YTA. She threw them in the garbage where they belong. What do you think is going to happen if your sons marry a woman? Are they going to ask their wives to hide something they cannot control?
Photo Credit: Reddit / akita2013
Photo Credit: Reddit / akita2013

People pointed out that he can’t shield his sons from the realities of a period for the rest of their lives: eventually, they might have to live with other women.

Others mentioned that it wasn’t like the stepdaughter was being messy. In fact, she was doing exactly what one is supposed to do with used period products: throwing them out.

Harmony Was Restored In The End

woman pointing to chart during presentation
Photo Credit: Pexels / Chrsitina Morillo
Photo Credit: Pexels / Chrsitina Morillo

To fix the situation, the mother and daughter put together a presentation—slideshow and all—on periods and had the male members of the house sit down and listen.

The sons and stepfather ended up apologizing to the stepdaughter, and all was right in the family.

Mom Encourages Sons To Carry Period Products In Their Backpacks In Case Their Female Friends Ever Need One

a blue background with tampons on it
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Josefin
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Josefin

When a girl is in middle school or high school, life is already really complicated, and everything seems like it’s going to make or break the rest of your life. On top of this, we are all having our hormones raging and puberty finally kicking in, and that means the glorious beginnings of periods.

While most of us have tried to block it out of our memories, I’m sure we can all remember a time when our periods showed up unexpectedly and we weren’t quite prepared for that to happen yet.

It Takes About Three Years For A Period To Regulate

a pile of tampons
Photo Credit: Pexels / Polina Zimmerman
Photo Credit: Pexels / Polina Zimmerman

From the time a girl has her first period, it will take about three years for her body to regulate to the normal cycle of an adult, which is 21–34 days, and that’s only if you’re in the lucky 60% who actually get there.

Until then, cycles can range from anywhere between 20 to 45 days, making it hard to know for certain when it would be coming, especially if you’re just figuring out your body. Periods are already awful and unpredictable, but puberty periods are that times 10.

On Top Of That, There Are Issues Like Period Poverty

a hand holding a pad
Photo Credit: Pexels / Polina Zimmerman
Photo Credit: Pexels / Polina Zimmerman

Period poverty is the lack of access to period products and education because they either can’t afford it or because they’ve never been given the proper “talk” from their parents. For a lot of people, the subject is so taboo that it isn’t discussed, or it’s thought to be something that men and boys shouldn’t have to deal with, which isn’t right.

A study conducted in 2019 stated that 92% of high school students reported needing period products at school but only 42% of schools offered them, and at a charge.

Part Of The Problem Is The “Tampon Tax”

women holding protest signs
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Victoria Jones – PA Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Victoria Jones – PA Images

The “Tampon Tax” refers to menstrual hygiene products being subject to value-added or sales tax, unlike other necessities.

Tampons and pads should be considered a necessity, and the fact that we pay tax on them, for some people, could make the difference between being able to afford them or not.

There Is One Woman Who Is Trying To Make A Difference

a mom taking a selfie in a car
Photo Credit: Facebook / Tara Epple Ahrens
Photo Credit: Facebook / Tara Epple Ahrens

Tara Ahrens wants to do what she can to help address some of these issues, even if it’s only in a small way. She’s the mother of a 10-year-old daughter and two teenage sons.

She knew that if she talked with her boys about periods and the female body without stigma, she’d be doing something to help.

Here Are Her Sons, Micah, 15, and Elijah, 16

boys standing in a store
Photo Credit: cafemom / Tara Epple Ahrens
Photo Credit: cafemom / Tara Epple Ahrens

She posted this picture on Facebook with the caption, “My teenage boys helped me shop today, which included buying their little sister’s first bras…because breasts happen. Both boys carry a tampon and a pad in their backpacks in case one of their friends needs one. Just a mom out here, trying to erase gender taboo!!”

In an article she wrote on the subject, she said: “‘Bleed-throughs happen,’ I’ve explained to my boys. ‘They are mortifying and can be traumatizing. Kindness and understanding from ANY friend goes a long way. Be that person.'”

Both Boys Were Happy To Start Carrying Period Products

boys sitting in front of their backpacks holding up period products
Photo Credit: cafemom / Tara Epple Ahrens
Photo Credit: cafemom / Tara Epple Ahrens

They told their friends that they had pads and tampons if they ever found they needed one, and they even went so far as to keep an extra sweater in their lockers in case a bleed-through happened and she had nothing to change in to.

Their friends were receptive, and even suggested they start keeping some in their car, too!

The Story Was Greeted With A Lot Of Praise

First facebook comment: Perhaps normalize it is so girls won't just
Photo Credit: Facebook / Meghan Kay Facebook / Angie Sigmon Powers
Photo Credit: Facebook / Meghan Kay Facebook / Angie Sigmon Powers

There were many women agreeing with Ahrens that more people needed to adopt this attitude, and normalizing periods will go a long way to addressing the other issues like the tampon tax and period poverty.

Women should not be made to feel weird about something their bodies do that is natural.

Others Weren’t So Sure

First comment: This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. It's a girl's responsibility to make sure she has what she needs. Keep a pouch in your purse with emergency essentials. There is no reason for a guy to be carrying around random tampons. Second comment: Why can't these girls be prepared? Dumbest thing I've heard of! Third comment: That's what girlfriends are for. Its a bit too much for I think. Creepy.
Photo Credit: Facebook / Lori Yardley Facebook / Lynda Lodoen Facebook / Donna Turnley
Photo Credit: Facebook / Lori Yardley Facebook / Lynda Lodoen Facebook / Donna Turnley

There were a lot of people, both men and women, who thought that men and boys had no place in the world of periods and went so far as to call it “creepy.”

It shouldn’t be a weird thing for people to want to help other people, right? What do you think?