Mayim Bialik's Parenting Style - Page 4
By Paulette Cohn for JustMommies
JustMommies: What about preschool for socialization? Organizations such as Head Start?
Mayim Bialik: Obviously, it depends on the community and what kind of resources you have. If both parents are working, sometimes the best thing for a child is to be with adults who can take care of them and other children. It is a misnomer to say that children need this aggressive socialization from the time they are two or three, or that they need academics. My personal opinion is that children don't need academics at three. But, again, that varies. My parents are teachers. My dad is a public-school teacher and my mom taught nursery school my whole life. I come from a family that teaches and loves learning. I will also say that the home-school families that I know have busier social calendars than anybody I know that goes to school, so I don't feel that socialization is lacking. If you home school, obviously, the old notion of people in basements with white-faced children who haven't seen the sun in days is passé, but that is even what I grew up thinking of when I thought of home schooling. For us, it looks really different. In the community we are in, we are very fortunate. There are field trips, there are classes, it is a really vibrant school-like community. We have a home-school scouting troop. There are all sorts of things. There are also sports. Our schedules are really different. We can do stuff during the week when everything is quiet and everybody else is in school. It is all there. There are kids of every size, shape and background. It is a very diverse community where we live, so we are very fortunate.
JustMommies: Because you have a community of home schooling, if you get an acting job when Miles is old enough to attend fulltime, theoretically, can you leave him with the other moms?
Mayim Bialik: Theoretically. A lot of the activities we do like our scouting troop, it is really a home-school scouting troop, meaning we are with our kids while we are doing our activities. My husband is a grad student, so we take turns if I have an audition or, if I am working, he has the boys. We are in an environment where we are all schooling our kids together. One of the classes I teach, I take my boys with me because it is in a big house full of toys and, while I teach, my boys can run around. It is really nice. It is getting back to the way communities functioned for all of human history. We have lost that. In the last 200 years society has changed a bit, and we are trying to figure out how to meet the needs of our productivity and also promote healthy children.
JustMommies: You have your Ph.D. in neuroscience?
Mayim Bialik: I use it every day, but more in examining my children and the people around us. I am not doing a professorship or a research position, which is what you normally do with a doctorate in neuroscience.
JustMommies: You can teach the science classes for the home school?
Mayim Bialik: Yes. I teach a neuroscience class for middle schoolers. Again, that is more for the community. When it became clear to us that the best thing for our kids was for me to be nursing on demand and really the primary caregiver, definitely for the first year, it became clear that a career where you are expected to return to work after six weeks wasn't going to be compatible with that. Again, that is not to disparage people who make that decision. Everybody decides what is best for them, so that is what we decided: for me not to pursue that career in academia. I really haven't acted as an adult and, believe it or not, the schedule is more flexible and gives us more ability to be with our kids more of the time, so that is really what I feel our goal in life is: How do we have a career and a life that facilitates us being with our kids?
JustMommies: Have you enjoyed acting as an adult?
Mayim Bialik: It is picking up. I am doing a film and I have two guest spots on the FOX show, "'Til Death," and I have a recurring role on "The Secret Life of an American Teenager." It has been busy. Fortunately, it is usually just a day or two of work, but it has been busy and it is enjoyable. Obviously, the world is very different now than it was when I finished "Blossom." The Internet seems to be the marker for how well you are doing. I have been doing some writing for Tablet magazine online and for a couple of other Jewish Web sites and I am getting some nice speaking engagements. I am also the celebrity spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network.
JustMommies: Are you vegan, because that is something the Holistic Moms Network promotes?
Mayim Bialik: I don't call myself vegan in political vegan circles, because I do eat eggs if it is in something, or dairy if it is in something and I taste it, it is okay with me. Our son is raised pretty much the same. As I said, in political circles, vegans don't consider me vegan, but I don't eat dairy or eggs, or fish or anything with a face or a nervous system. If I am around vegans, I say I am a vegetarian who doesn't eat dairy or eggs. I also don't wear leather.
JustMommies: Tell me about your work with the Holistic Moms Network
Mayim Bialik: It is an organization I was told about by friends when I had my first son. Basically, a lot of conventional parenting is not supportive or helpful if you are parenting this way, so Holistic Moms Network is a built-in support group and they have meetings monthly, playdates and you are surrounded by a community of people who really can be your mentors in this style of parenting and you are able to help each other. There is also a huge component of non-toxic living and how to make our lives green and safe for our kids. Again, it is not for everybody, but it really helps fill the void for people who really care which cloth diaper is the best. You don't get that from your average parenting magazine. Obviously, Mothering magazine is something that we turn to, but in terms of having a support group, Holistic Moms Network is really fitting the bill for a lot of people. I have never been a spokesperson for anything, but this was so much fun and so easy because I was a member before I was even a famous mom.
Image courtesy: Denise Herrick Borchert