Beyond the Sling


Since I’m on maternity leave and have little else to do with my time apparently, I have been reading, A LOT. I recently finished reading Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik. If you’re older than me, you will remember her from Blossom. If you’re my age or younger, it’s probably more like The Big Bang Theory.

Most people are aware that she disappeared after Blossom and became a rocket scientist or something (neuroscientist, more accurately), but not everyone knows that she also birthed two children and has been using her PhD background to explore (and put into action with her own family) the theory of Attachment Parenting (AP). The book covers topics ranging from natural childbirth and breastfeeding to family bed-sharing and elimination communication.

Bialik begins by assuring the reader that her life is not perfect. She has no nearby family members or hired help that assist her and her partner in raising their children, like you might expect from a celebrity. She then goes on to give a brief description of the eight principles of attachment parenting (which vary slightly from the 7 B’s of Attachment Parenting as laid out here by Dr. Sears, the father of AP himself):

1. Birth

2. Breastfeeding/breast milk

3. Be sensitive

4. Bonding through touch

5. Bedding

6. Be there

7. Be gentle

8. Balance

While Beyond the Sling contains some information about each of these topics, it reads more like a memoir of Bialik’s experience with AP, rather than being “A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way” as the byline claims it to be. I did find it slightly annoying however that she kept reminding the reader how “normal” she apparently is. We get it. You aren’t the typical former child star.

I guess anyone writing a guide or advice book is bound to end up sounding at least a little bit preachy or judgmental, especially someone with a PhD, but surprisingly Mayim does a pretty good job not placing herself in that category. Although I think that would depend entirely upon the background and parenting style of the reader.

I fancy myself to be a fairly open minded person, but I’m not going to lie, as the book went on even I started to raise my eyebrow a few times. Is it terrible that I didn’t think she was completely nuts though until she said she didn’t let her kids watch TV? How does she get anything done?

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book and I think it’s pretty awesome that Bialik is using her celebrity to shed some light on attachment parenting, even if it might reaffirm for some disbelievers what they’re already thinking. That’s okay though. Attachment parenting is not for everyone. But if you think it might be for you, this is a good read. Just take from it what you will and leave the rest.