Mayim Bialik Takes Attachment Parenting ‘Beyond the Sling’

By  March 13, 2012

Mayim Bialik has truly “blossomed” since her first appearance on TV in the ’90s. The neuroscientist, actress, mom, and now author, has written Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way. The book advocates the child-led approach to parenting through her scientific background and personal experience raising her two sons. The multitasking mama recently sat with The Moms to dish about her new book and answer bloggers’ questions. Below are a few excerpts:

On what sparked Beyond the Sling: It had never occurred to me to write a book; it just wasn’t really on my radar. Teresa Strasser, who’s a writer and a comedian, said to me, “I would never want to parent like you, I think it sounds crazy.” But she said, “The way you talk about it makes it sound like it makes sense, even if it’s not what I would do.” And she said, “You’re really not judgmental, and I’d like you to meet my book agent Anthony Mattero.”

On motherhood: I actually think of myself as a very normal mom. I’m not a perfect mom. I really tried to present a lot of that in the book. It’s important to me also that the book not be a parenting manual. I’m not a pediatrician. And I don’t get to tell people what to do. I think the general notion is that for people who practice this type of parenting, it is often ridiculed and put down and we’re accused of being passive parents and lazy, and have no boundaries, and our kids are going to be crazy, and, that may be true but it’s not because of what we’re doing,

On balancing a mother’s intuition with science: The notion is that, things that I talk about, like that deep sense of wanting to be connected to a child, which not everyone feels, but if you feel that, that that’s not wrong, that to me is an example of intuition and science that have met. The question of why some people don’t feel that is kind of a different question.

On attachment parenting for working moms: I know lots of different kinds of attachment parenting parents, and it’s not all or nothing. It’s so important to hold your child close when you bottle feed. And for someone who may not be able or want to sleep with a child, it’s still is important to have close time with them. You can still wear your child in a sling in the hours that you are home. There are women who find that pumping, you know, where possible, and of course where places you need to make it possible. But many women find that that’s a way to stay connected. But I think that the overarching principle, things like gentle discipline, things like understanding balancing a family. You craft it the way you can so it works in your family.

On celebrity moms: This is our culture; it’s part of the machine. So, if I were to say, “I don’t want to be part of it,” then I need to remove myself from it. And there are people who walk away. But once you’re in it, you’re in it. I’m fascinated when I hear these stories of people like Pink, who when she had a kid, made a statement and said, “No, you don’t get to get mad at me for not giving you what you think I deserve to give you,” right? It’s complicated, but I think every decision is independent. When you think of celebrity moms, you think “Oh,” but those are people. They’re people under there and I’ve seen celebrities in L.A. out at restaurants and with their kids, and yeah, they’re normal moms, too. It’s just their world works really differently. My son thinks it’s normal for people to come up to me and take my picture.

Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way is available at BarnesandNoble.com for $16.47