When we spoke with clever actress Mayim Bialik last year, she was juggling motherhood and keeping her fingers crossed in hopes that she’d land a guest role on the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. As it turns out, the seasoned television veteran who starred in her own series Blossom in the early 1990s, had no trouble cracking up The Big Bang Theory fans with her portrayal of the nerdy brainiac Amy Farrah Fowler and has blended in with the rest of the cast’s geeks so well that she’s earned a regular spot on the show.
“Being employed has been the biggest surprise!” she said when we chatted with her recently. “It’s such an interesting, specific character that I play and I seem to be fitting well into the show. Originally I was brought on as a love interest for Sheldon and now some of the plot lines I’m in don’t always involve him. I’m just happy when people tell me my character is a lot funnier than they expected.”
Playing the part of a neuro-biologist with an intelligence quotient off the charts is not a stretch for Bialik, who earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007 and wrote her thesis on a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome. She acknowledges the biggest perk has been the show’s schedule, which leaves her plenty of time to be with her family, teach classes in biology and chemistry at her home school community, pump breast milk for her youngest child, and serve as a spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network. Somehow the versatile dynamo found time despite all of these duties to also write a book about attachment parenting and delivered the manuscript to the publisher six months ahead of schedule.
“What can I say? I’m an overachiever!’ says Bialik with a laugh. “I don’t claim to be an expert on anything but my own family, but for some reason the publisher, Simon and Schuster, thought it would be fascinating. So I dedicated a chapter to all of the principles of attachment parenting and added plenty of anecdotes, tips and advice that worked for us about everything from home birth to breast feeding, manners and co-sleeping.”
While some may think her parenting choices are odd or even outlandish, Bialik maintains that she and her husband are parenting the way people have raised children for hundreds of thousands of years. For instance, she believes that natural childbirth is a right and a privilege and says the country needs to “step up to the plate” by educating women about the benefits of natural birth. She’s also not a big fan of strollers and preferred to carry both of her young sons in slings whenever possible.
“If the baby fits—wear it!” she says. “I found that I could go anywhere with my babies in a sling and they were calm, content and secure being close to my body or my husband’s.”
Bed time in the Bialik household means that everyone piles onto two futon mattresses on the floor. Flanked by her husband and her two sons, Miles, 5, and Frederick, 2, she relishes mornings when they all wake up and cuddle together.
“It’s the safest way to sleep for babies because there’s nowhere for them to fall if they’re already on the floor,” she explains. “But it’s also a beautiful experience.”
Bialik also practices “gentle discipline,” which means no spanking or “time outs.” She also believes children should not be inundated with the word “no” all the time and should be redirected with positive suggestions.
“My kids might have a bagel for breakfast and then ask if they can have another one,” she explains. “Instead of saying no, I tell them to choose what they are allowed to have. As a rule, they can have anything raw in the house, and they love fruits and vegetables as well as the Garden of Life Organic Super Seed® bars!”
Currently in the editing process, Bialik’s parenting book is scheduled for release in spring 2012. She hopes the book will allow readers a glimpse of her “perfectly imperfect” family and encourage every parent to try what works best for them.
“I hope parents will be able to see that some of us are doing our best in our own way, not because we think we’re better than anyone else, but because it’s the best way for us.”