When you become a parent, everyone else becomes a critic.
When my first son came into the world, like every other newborn, he underwent a series of newborn screening tests. These tests look for genetic or developmental disorders that aren’t noticeable at birth. In the state of New York, infants are screened for 49 disorders. Soon after his arrival, I was notified by doctors that my son had hypothyroidism and I would have to put him on medication.
Looking at the results, things didn’t seem right, so my partner and I looked into a second opinion. My mother, however, strongly believed that I shouldn’t wait and aggressively suggested I put my son, only a few days old, on the medication. Her demanding attitude overwhelmed me, and although I know all she wanted was for him to be okay, she didn’t allow me to make my own decisions as his mother. Subconsciously, I felt like she didn’t believe in me and I resented her for that.
So, I stopped talking to her for a while. I needed to learn how to be a mother on my own and without her opinions. (My son is now almost seven and healthy!)
While I strongly believe it takes a village to raise a child, I believe society could be more respectful towards how it speaks about how people choose to parent. I see it all the time in Twitter debates. It’s either parents shaming other parents, or those who have never experienced parenthood ridiculing those who have children. Outside of having to establish your own ground rules when raising a child, society gives you a heap of guidelines and do’s and don'ts to follow, especially if you have a daughter.
Don’t let her wear a two-piece bathing suit.
No heels until high school.
Do not put makeup on your daughter–nail polish included.
Don’t put color in your child’s hair–even if it’s temporary.
Don’t put extensions in her hair.
If she’s rocking natural hair, make sure it’s neat–similar to that of North West and not so much Blue Ivy Carter.
I’ve seen it all.
With social media trolls at an all-time high, celebrities experience it on another level. Amber Rose is the latest to be criticized after posting a video of her and Wiz Khalifa's son Sebastian getting his nails done in a nail salon.
[Tweet ""F--- society standards and gender roles! Let your children be great. - @DaRealAmberRose”"]
Last year, NFL dad, Devon Still posted the first picture of his daughter, Leah, after the announcement that she is finally cancer-free! Go, Little Leah! The five-year-old is growing her hair back and slaying the hair game with finger waves, but many may have missed the memo that she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma back in 2014 and lost all her hair due to chemotherapy.
Comment sections were cluttered with mentions that Leah’s hairstyle was “inappropriate” and “too grown” for a child instead of celebrating the fact that this baby-voiced tot just kicked cancer’s ass. We make judgements about children that aren’t ours based off of ideologies imparted to and instilled within us. Sometimes, we know the story. Often times, thanks to social media, we just react.
Recently, Aliya S. King published a piece on The Root called “People Say My Daughter Is ‘Too Grown.’ I Think That Idea Is Detrimental to Black Girls—and Boys.” I loved every bit of it as she introduces the story of her eight-year-old daughter, Emmy, who wears medium-sized hooped earrings, delving into her child’s self-expression, the limitations she imposes as a mother, and the acceptance that comes with some of her child’s choices.
I, too, vowed to let my children express themselves as they see fit due to my own restrictions on clothing and hair growing up. Sometimes, I make decisions for my children that everyone isn’t comfortable with, but people need to stop condemning parents for doing something with or to their children that they wouldn’t do with their own.
It happened again this week when Christina Milian uploaded a photo of her daughter Violet along with teen beauty, Zendaya. In a photo of the trio, Christina originally captioned:
It’s official. I’m a #1 Mom in my daughters eyes! Last night I was fortunate enough to bring my baby girl @VioletMadison to meet Zendaya at the #InauguralWorldAIDSDaysBenefit. You can’t imagine how much it made her day. Plus she got to see how her selflessness, positive attitude and hard work can help inspire and heal the world. Kudos to you #Zendaya & Your sweet parents. You are a great young lady and I’m happy my daughter has someone to look up to like yourself. Thank you. (And she loved V’s hair)
But as the comments poured in, Christina faced the same crossfire of comments as that of Leah Still’s pic–her child’s hair was too much for someone so young. Extending her initial thoughts, the singer added:
For those of you more concerned with Violet’s hair (understandably cause you just don’t know) her hair isn’t in the twists, it’s another method used where they are tied into her corn rows. The hair isn’t heavy. If you’ve ever grabbed a bag of afri braiding hair you know they are very light weight. But just trying new things. Violet likes it and it’s not damaging. Xo
While many celebs feel the need to openly explain their actions on public platforms that change how we view the world and communicate daily, it’s unfortunate people thought it best to question her parenting and her feeling the need to defend her choices. The same choices she has to make and live with behind closed doors are now the topic of conversation amongst mothers and childless women alike who believe Christina is damaging her child’s hair.
Does the hair look heavy? Sure. But should people refrain from sharing their opinions about a child that actually likes how she looks (which is a journey in itself for young Black girls) and on a mother that is introducing the process of decision-making early on? Absolutely. For Violet to be around one of the most influential Black teens of 2015–the same woman that has spoken up and showed out when it came to diversifying hair this year–it’s a step towards growing up outside of the constraints placed on us.
To raise your son or daughter in opposition of others’ opinions is to foster a sense of liberation in that child, and Christina and Violet, Aliya and Emmy, and Devon and Leah all represent that freedom. Whether you think what they’re doing with their children is too much because they’re too young and it’s too grown, understand we’re confined to enough boxes.
Stop parent shaming and start minding your business.
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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