On September 20, 2019, Andrew Sullivan on Real Time: With Bill Maher stated that "70% of black children are born without a father." While there's a statistic that states 72% of black children are born into single-parent households, that does not validate the stereotype that black fathers are not present in their children's life. According to Statista, in 2019 there were about 15.76 million children living with a single mother and about 3.23 million children living with a single father. While the numbers are much lower for single fathers compared to single mothers, fathers are very much present in their children's lives, despite marital statuses.
I want to shine light on the black men we know and love. The black men that may be overlooked who are proof that they are an active father.
I had the chance to sit down with a good friend of mine, Matthew Carothers, who was able to talk with me about his experience as a full-time single father. Originally from the west side of Chicago, Matthew currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his two sons Aaron (9) and Alvin (7). While being granted full custody of the children, given the circumstances, Matthew was ready to step up as the sole provider for his sons.
While parenthood is different for everyone, Matt and I were able to highlight three key areas on what life is like being a father.
“Fatherhood definitely showed me where I was lacking and where I needed to be.”
Becoming a parent can be one of the greatest and one of the most challenging experiences. You have to be able to shift your priorities because now it isn't all about you, but about you and your family. As a father, Matt explains that one of the biggest challenges is finances. "You have to make sure everything you get for yourself, you get for your children too. Like I can be lazy and say, I don't want to go to work. But, if I don't go to work, I don't get paid. If I don't get paid, who is going to provide for my boys?"
Managing purchases and even managing time can definitely be a wake-up call for most parents, but with challenge comes opportunity. Becoming a parent, you're able to tap into skills you perhaps would've never known you had without having children. "There is an instinct that you have when raising your kids that you later understand why your parents did what they did when raising you," he revealed.
Being a parent, especially a father, lets you see yourself in a new and different way. Now even with struggles, there are always rewards that keep you motivated.
"The best part about being a father is whenever I talk to my kids, they look at me like I'm a superhero. Like I am the strongest person ever and there is nothing that I can't do in their eyes. In my opinion, nothing can beat that."
Hearing this, I can only imagine how it feels to create someone who depends on you, looks up to you, and thinks the world of you. With that kind of responsibility, it helps you become more selfless and to think more about the future.
“In dating, I’m not looking for just anyone to date, I’m looking at the bigger picture."
We all need love, right? Whether you're a parent or not, we all search for someone we can share our life with. For Matt, dating hasn't necessarily halted. For him, it's important to be more intentional when dating.
"Dating as a single father is different for me. When I say different, I mean my mentality has changed. In dating, I'm not looking for just anyone to date, I'm looking at the bigger picture."
When you're a parent, dating becomes more serious. While you're balancing work and family life, finding someone isn't about who can vibe with you, but who can vibe with you and your kids. You are a package deal. As a father, Matt prioritizes if a woman he's dating will get along with his sons in the long run. He wants to make sure that if he does develop feelings for someone, they're already prepared to welcome his family with an open mind and heart.
Even if dating can become more serious, dating has to be fun too. "My mom taught me when I became a father that yes you are a dad, but you still have to find time for yourself."
“Do not try to be perfect, because you are going to make mistakes.”
When children are young, they look to their parents to teach them everything about the world. For a father and son, it can be about learning how to be strong and confident, how to navigate the world when you get older, and how to be one another's support system. A father and son bond is just as impactful as the bond between a mother and daughter. Since Matt is raising two sons, he mentioned that the biggest lesson for him as a father is how to raise them the right way.
"It's important to instill things in them when they are young or it will not catch. The biggest things I teach my boys is how to act when they are around other people and how to be respectful."
Whatever lesson a father passes down to his son, without a doubt, shapes how the son grows into a man. Fatherhood for Matt, ironically, is what helped him become a better man. The one piece of advice Matt has for soon-to-be fathers is: "Do not try to be perfect, because you are going to make mistakes."
We as humans put a lot of pressure on ourselves. After trial and error, it isn't about being the perfect person or parent; it's about doing the best we can. We must remember to always learn from our mistakes and keep getting better with our hearts in the right place.
That is what counts.
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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.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images