As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer. If you have a story you'd like to share but aren't sure about how to put it into words, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "As Told To" for your story to be featured.
This is Dr. Gina Charles' story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
I've always been nontraditional and done things my way. When I first met my husband in college, we must've been on date #3 when I said to him, "One day I'm going to have a daughter named Asha, and a house husband too." Ha!
The power of the tongue is real.
I was born in Dominica, West Indies, spent a few years living in Antigua, then immigrated to Harlem, NY at the age of five where I lived with my mother, brother, and a few other relatives. I always knew I would become a doctor, and at the same time, I also had a love for beauty and skincare. I began testing the waters in beauty as a bridal makeup artist while in med school.
Eventually, I got married and became a Board Certified family physician. My husband left graduate school to pursue a career in photography and we formed a wedding company, where he is the main photographer and I am the main bridal makeup artist. After some research of corrective skincare and aesthetics, we realized that there was a high-demand for skincare services from my brides, so we decided to offer these services as well. Our clientele immediately expanded. And with the help of my husband, coach, and advisors, we birthed a boutique medspa in Philadelphia.
This all kept our schedules relatively hectic in itself, minus even factoring in our daughter.
But after giving birth, everything changed. Between the daily operations of the medspa, me being a practicing physician, and my husband running a photography business, it was almost impossible to balance our schedule with personal needs and professional obligations. My husband and I had many conversations about what would be best for our living arrangements, and ultimately, we settled with him being a stay-at-home-dad. He was a full time entrepreneur at this point, so, it was kind of a no-brainer.
Basically, I got what I manifested 18 years ago without having to say it again.
After a while, working as often as I did took its toll and mom guilt set in. I remember when I went back to work after four weeks of maternity, and each day I spent away from my daughter, killed me. I was pumping at work, calling on FaceTime, and asking for pictures every available second of the day. Naturally, I couldn't help but feel at fault for not being with my family for so many hours. I felt I should be there for all of her firsts—and I've missed a few—but my husband is brilliant and amazingly supportive in helping me feel at ease with these struggles. He happily answers my FaceTime calls or he'll document and send pictures of everything our daughter does.
But how did my husband adjust? Does he have any regrets? When I asked him, I didn't know what to expect to hear but here's what he said:
"Staying home, the adjustment was easy at first until we had a daughter, then it became a bit difficult. I had to learn to care for our daughter, run a business from home, and manage our household (cooking, cleaning, shopping, lawn care etc.) It took me about two years after our daughter was born to get into a rhythm that worked for me.
[In the end] the moral is simple: if she wins, I win, and vice versa. It's a team effort, whether in business or in the home. We abide by the philosophy that in order for us to win in life, to break generational curses it has to be a team effort and each team member has to do whatever is necessary to for the team to win."
Damn, I love that man.
Once we settled into a routine, I began to learn how to balance, and appreciate, me time. Sure, I don't get to be home as often as I'd like but I still need solid moments to do absolutely nothing from all risky stresses. Ladies, it's important for us to be fully aware of the fact that not being present in one area, means being overtly present in another. I chose to seek decompression methods: spending mornings practicing meditation in our meditation room; focusing on mindfulness.
I share all of this to say, in the end, your family is exactly what you want it to be. Forget societal standards and understand that no one can decide what a family's roles should look like to you.
Many have questioned our arrangement—you can see it on their faces and even hear it in their voices. We deal with them both directly and indirectly, often dismissing the negative comments, but also openly addressing them as well.
We know what works for us, and we're pretty good at it. At the end of the day, we do what makes us happy. My husband calls himself the happiest man alive because he manages his business from home, he's happily married, and he gets to raise our child by instilling certain values and laying the foundation not taught in classrooms.
I've also learned that there are many women physicians who have this arrangement with their spouse as well, believe it or not, which was rather reassuring.
My husband is more than a SAHD, he's been my number one supporter since my undergraduate years, and he's literally and figuratively "shot with me in the gym". He sacrifices in building our home and family's foundation every day as our personal photographer, chauffeur, handyman, chef, travel partner, corny joke aficionado, and best friend.
He gives me so much pride in what we are building; our journey works for us - it is uniquely ours.
And we're going to continue on this crazy journey, our way.
If you're considering a stay-at-home-dad arrangement, my advice would be to first, be honest with each other and plan out how each of you will contribute to making the home acceptable, or who is responsible for certain tasks and bills. Be confident in your choice of the arrangement. Your confidence will inspire others who are considering doing the same, but also may be afraid of judgement.
Hopefully our story can make it a little easier for you, or give you that nudge of confidence that you're looking for.
It's your family, so play by your rules.
For more of Dr. Gina, follow her on Instagram.
Photos courtesy of Dr. Gina Charles
- Father-Daughter Business Duos That Embody Girl-Dad Love - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- How Stay-at-Home Dads Are Redefining Manhood - The Atlantic ›
- Stay At Home Dad - YouTube ›
- 10 Habits Of Successful Stay-At-Home Dads | HuffPost Life ›
- What I've learned being a stay at home dad | Glen Henry ... ›
- 8 Realities About Being a Stay-at-Home Dad You May Find Surprising ›
- Millennial Stay-At-Home Dads: Isolation And Stigma Still A Problem ... ›
- What It's Like to Be a Stay-at-Home Dad | The Art of Manliness ›
- Don't Let Your Husband Be a Stay-At-Home Dad ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If there’s one part of the face that seems to be the most vexing to correct, it’s the under eyes.
This delicate area has a way of being tipped off by our irregular sleep patterns, stress, and the straining that comes from our computers and phone screens. From puffiness to dark circles, it can be irksome to find the right products to soothe our under-eye concerns. Thankfully, there’s one solution that delivers a brighter and more awakened look over time, and that’s under-eye masks and eye patches.
Eye patches are giving our under-eye bags an eviction notice because they can’t hang our glowing faces rent-free. The beauty of these patches is that they are designed to bring your eyes targeted results through concentrated doses of active ingredients directly to the skin under the eyes. Typically made of thin, gel-like material and infused with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and even green teas, these small but mighty patches depuff your puffiness, brighten your dark circles, or tighten fine lines.
While every under-eye differs in its needs, every eye can benefit from an under-eye mask or patch that suits its concerns. And to help, we’ve put together the best under-eye patches to hydrate, soothe, and brighten your eyes.
The KNC Beauty All Natural Retinol Infused Eye Mask, 5-Pack, is a retinol-infused, all-natural product designed to rejuvenate your eyes. It promises to provide hydration, smoothness, reduced puffiness, and brightness without the use of chemicals. With ingredients like retinol to refine skin texture and stimulate blood flow and aloe to soothe and reduce redness, it's like getting 8 hours of beauty sleep for your eyes.
These cooling hydrogel under-eye masks from Topicals promise to fade the appearance of dark circles and discoloration in just 15 minutes. The set includes six masks and offers benefits that brighten, hydrate, depuff, and cool your under-eye area.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Grab these eye contour gel patches to brighten the eye area and combat signs of aging using a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate, which is 50 times more potent than traditional vitamin C.
BeautyBio's Bright Eyes consists of 15 colloidal silver-infused eye gel patches designed to provide instant depuffing, brightening, and revitalization to the delicate eye area within 10 minutes. They also contain natural collagen to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, which we love.
These viral hydrogel masks offer moisture and nourishment to rejuvenate tired-looking skin. Their Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin," an effective moisturizing ingredient that soothes damaged skin and delivers deep hydration, making it suitable for dehydrated and damaged skin types. Your under-eyes will thank you.
Try these caffeine-infused patches to reduce puffiness in the under-eye area. The product features clean, vegan ingredients such as caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and moisture delivery.
The Forever Eye Mask is designed to be the “last eye mask you'll ever need.” This thin, lightweight, and reusable eye patch can hold gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for better absorption, helping your skincare products work more effectively.
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