Stepmom Buys Tampons To Help Stepdaughter -- After Her Mom Forbids Them

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Stepparents who co-parent with bioparents are often trying to figure out where the line is and whether they've crossed it. A woman recently took to the Am I the A---hole subreddit to lament that her partner's ex has a rule that their teen daughter cannot use tampons. But with summer here and dreams of joining the swim team on the horizon, the 14-year-old is struggling with having to be sidelined from the fun during her period. Feeling her stepdaughter's pain, the Redditor intervened and bought her a box of tampons. Now she wants to know if she's in the wrong.

  • In a since deleted post, the stepmom shared that when she met her husband, he had a 3-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

    Her name is Alexandra, or Alex for short. "I married Alex's dad when she was five," the original poster (OP) wrote. "So, technically, I'm her stepmom. Alex's mom is also remarried. She calls both me and her bio mom 'Mom,' and both my husband and her step dad 'Dad.' All four of us think of her as a daughter, and she lives with her mom and stepdad 50% of the time and me and my husband the other 50% of the time. Basically she has two sets of parents."

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  • The original poster (OP) said she "doesn't have any problems" with Alex's mom, "even though she's a bit on the conservative side."

    Translation, according to the OP: "She thinks tampons take your virginity. She has told Alex that she doesn't want her using them."

  • But the OP's stepdaughter is now 14 and wants to be on the swim team once schools reopen.

    The OP said that she and her husband also have a pool in the backyard and swim a lot in the summertime. Her stepdaughter "says that she doesn't like being the only one who can't swim when she's on her period."

  • According to the OP, her stepdaughter has expressed concern about how she'll handle her period when she is on the swim team.

    "She also disclosed to me that it's not fair that all of her other friends get to use tampons," the Redditor wrote.

  • So, later that night, the stepmom bought the teen a box of tampons.

    "I told her that they would stay at our house in the bathroom, and she could use them whenever she needs them for swimming," the OP explained. She also said that Alex's mom "didn't have to know."

    Although she had never "gone behind" her husband's ex's back before, the OP feels her stepdaughter's pain, because she also had a conservative mom. "I understand that it can lead to things that cause embarrassment (for instance, swimming in a pad)," the OP noted. "I didn't want Alex to have to go through something like that like I did. I feel like I did right by my daughter but still feel a bit of guilt." 

    She then turned it over to others in the community to ask if she's out of line for doing this.

  • Redditors generally agreed that the OP was right to get her stepdaughter tampons.

    One Redditor wrote, "Her biomom's outdated views about virginity are affecting her negatively, and they don’t even make any sense. You did what objectively was best for her and shouldn't feel bad about it. However, you should get your husband on the same page, so if biomom does find out, you weren't making a unilateral decision."

    Another echoed that sentiment, noting, "That's not how virginity works, and if Dad says OK, you're good."

  • Others asked about downstream effects of the biomom's draconian policy.

    "What happens when this poor kid does eventually have sexual intercourse?" one commenter wrote. "Does she get locked in a tower? Thrown out of the house for having brought shame on the family forever? I hope OP will consider an ongoing campaign of acceptance and healthy advocation for this girl, because she sure is going to get the opposite from her bio mother." 

    Another chimed in to brainstorm a way the stepdaughter can do what she needs to do without starting a war with her biomom:

    "Since she's obviously trusting you, you may soon be able to introduce her to menstrual cups. They are easier to hide than tampons, reusable and most importantly the sooner she learns and gets the confidence that she knows all the forms of catching blood, the sooner she can gain independence from her other mom. I think you have a perfect time to help her and let her mature while she's with you. Definitely talk to your husband first just so he's onboard, but cups are easier and cleaner and can be hidden since there's no plastic wrap."

  • In the end, most of the community rallied behind the OP.

    Although it's unclear how this will play out among the co-parents, the stepmom should rest assured that she was in the right. As one commenter put it, "You are an awesome mom for listening to her and supporting her choice of products."