I bought this book mostly because I love Mayim Bialik. Honestly, I didn't "need" it. By the time I read it I had two natural births, been breastfeeding for over 5 1/2 years, using baby carriers with ease, sleeping with my kids for 5+ years, and had two kids out of diapers - one of which I had used the principles elimination communication part-time to achieve potty independence. Yeah, I guess I'm kind of a poster mommy for attachment parenting.
But what intrigues me about Mayim Bialik (besides that I loved the show Blossom) is all that I have in common with her. We are approximately the same age, went to school in the same period of time, I was a Brain and Cognitive Science major with a concentration in neuroscience, she has her PhD in Neuroscience, we got married and had two kids (very similarly spaced) in almost the same exact span of time - it's kind of uncanny! (And yes I want to be her friend in real life. Someday.) Of course there are differences, the biggest being her family is Jewish and mine Catholic, and of course that little actress thing she does on the side. ha.
So last winter when I heard that she had a book coming out about attachment parenting I was interested to read it for fun. I also had just really started to get into writing, and the thought of writing my own book seriously crossed my mind for the first time. Then I saw the Table of Contents for Beyond the Sling.
Oh well, C'est la vie. I trust that when the time comes and I am ready, my own voice and message will come out in it's own unique way. Plus, *somehow*, *someway*, I'm going to get Mayim to write a forward for my book. That will even things out!
Here are a couple of my favorite quotes and passages from early in the book:
What I had discovered, and what I seek to share with you, dear reader, is this: you already know the majority of what you need to know to be an incredible parent (emphasis hers). It was only when I believed this and began to apply it consistently to my growing family that my anxiety, worry, and exhaustion began to lift. It was then that I truly began to enjoy being a parent and to see myself as a successful parent; not a perfect parent, and not always the most patient parent, but a sensitive, loving, and confident person who truly loves this life I have chosen. That's really what this book is about: empowering you to make the best choices for your kids. (p 5)
My kids are flawed and they make plenty of mistakes, as do I. My kids are not always polite, patient, clean, wise, and quiet; nor am I, for that matter. (p 12)
I love how Mayim presents attachment parenting. She is kind about it. She does not claim to know the right way for every parent, she is only sharing what works for her family. The two examples above show how she debunks any thought of "perfection" from the first pages of the book. It's not about being perfect it's about listening to your instincts and your children.
Mayim puts all kinds of myths to rest about attachment parenting to rest (ie You have to be a "martyr" to do all that stuff! Only wealthy or advantaged people can afford to parent this way. Children will be spoiled, overindulged, whiny, etc. if parented this way. etc.) Not only does she address all of these concerns, but she does so with compassion, conviction, and humor. She acknowledges that everyone in the family has needs and that there are ways to meet these needs, it just may not be the way you used to before you had children or how you imagined it would look.
And the really cool part is that she puts her PhD to good use and explains the SCIENCE behind attachment and why it just makes sense to parent this way.
I've barely had this book in my possession 8 months - I even mentioned it here the day I received it in the mail! Mayim's book debuted a little before the controversy stirred up by the TIME cover showing a mom breastfeeding her 3 or 4 year old son standing up (not to mention the inflammatory title, "Are you mom enough?) In a way it was good publicity for her and she handled all of the extra attention extremely well. I myself wrote about being a "Closet Lactivist" and then why I think attachment parenting is the best way to parent during this time.
It's been an eventful span of time for me personally as I know it has been for her. But I'm ready to let this gem of a book go and inspire a new mom (or dad!) so that another family can benefit from all her wisdom.
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ps This is my used copy of the book and there are a few pages in the beginning warped by some water damage - in my pre-baby days I would have said it was from reading in the bathtub. Not likely to be the case anymore - no this time it is probably from one of many water spills that occur in our house daily! Don't worry it's still legible.