Meet MAYIM bIALIK
Daddy of the Year Ian Ziering talks family and fatherhood.
Published: ParentGuide magazine, August 2012
By Rachel Kalina
From child star in Beaches and Blossom, to adult actress on award-winning comedy series The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik managed to navigate a transition that most in Hollywood could not. While extremely noteworthy, her showbiz career is just one facet of her accomplished and family-oriented life.
Bialik’s also a thoroughly modern mother, boasting a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA, as well as a slew of published articles and speaking engagements. Most recently, she’s the successful author of Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way (Touchstone). Bialik’s book discusses the main points of this parenting theory: co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby wearing and gentle discipline. And while opinions greatly vary on the attachment method, Bialik says families that follow it adapt the principles to fit the lifestyles they choose.
Having first come across the concept through friends, Bialik remembers her initial reaction to it, noting, “It seem[ed] kooky to us, but these were friends whom I trusted a lot and were very compassionate people.” Along with her husband, Bialik observed how the children raised in attachment parenting families grew.
“We saw a lot of things that made a lot of sense in terms of a lifestyle lived with children,” she says. “There was a relationship, a real sense of calm and compassion in decision making.” Bialik mentions that an overarching principle in attachment parenting is “to believe that a child is not designed to manipulate you.” Children, she says, shouldn’t be viewed as though they constantly require management or permission.
The actress also debunks common stereotypes regarding the genre, saying “You see a child’s needs are the same as its wants. If you ‘give in,’ that doesn’t mean that you are raising a spoiled child; you are raising healthy dependents.”
Bialik was born to first generation Jewish American parents. Her youngsters, Miles, 6, and Fred, 3, are also being raised in this tradition. She enjoys the bonus that her beliefs guarantee: “For 25 hours of the week, I’m completely focused on my kids.” Bialik regularly shares her thoughts on Jewish parenting at Kveller.com. She has also written on the topic of holistic parenting, which, she explains, includes “green” parenting elements and touches on everything from homeopathy and non-toxic cleaning to eating organic. Being a vegan and environmentalist also tie into her lifestyle.
Although Bialik seems like the type of woman who doesn’t need labels for validation, a conversation with her makes it quickly apparent that she’s thoughtful, exceptionally sharp and kind. Surely, many admire her success in balancing family, career and happiness. Bialik admits that seeking to maintain this harmony isn’t easy, and like a true neuroscientist, she relies on her knowledge of science to understand why, saying, “Some of the specialness of the female body in particular and also the hormones make us torn in different directions more often than our male counterparts.”
Her solution to reconcile these parts is to continue to try her best to do as much as possible in each area. A flexible shooting schedule for The Big Bang Theory allows the mom of two a ton of family time. Her quirky and witty character, Amy Farrah Fowler, even takes a cue from Bialik’s real life. Fowler was deemed a neurobiologist once it became known that this was truly Bialik’s area of expertise.
“I’m really fortunate that this is where my life has brought me,” Bialik says.