Kat Armstrong: Celebritease


Actress Mayim Bialik Divorces Husband

And the media takes aim at her parenting style in the process

News today is that Blossom and Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik is divorcing her husband of nine years. The couple have two young sons together. The LA Times broke the story and asked first and foremost if Attachment Parenting had a part to play in the divorce. FIRST AND FOREMOST. Bialik, as you may remember, recently wrote an AP book and was snapped breastfeeding her toddler on the NYC subway system. It's always a shame when parents separate but to ask about their parenting choice (and it is joint, I've yet to meet any father/husband who solely goes along with what his wife asks him to do) and if that is the principal reason is just ridiculous. 

Full disclosure here: Matt and I practice a form of AP that works for us. We co-slept until H was nine months full time and then transitioned him into crib. He still occasionally ends up in bed with us if he's not feeling well or something (what kid doesn't?). I also breastfed until very recently (21 months, and I would have gone longer but for the fact that we only nursed once a day and it was a trickle that made H aggressive). These things worked for us. And they worked well. We wore H whenever we could (either in a sling when younger or in a baby carrier) and I wish he would still be willing to ride back-pack, but he's not. I think attachment parenting has lots of very good things that can be incorporated into parenting without going overboard (like in any parenting situation). But we're pretty laid back and I think it's made us good parents and worked well for us and our lifestyle, and I'm damned well sure those are the same reasons Bialik chose to do AP for her family. 

AP has gotten not-so-great media coverage in the last year—from the Time "Are you mother enough?" article to Bialik's subway breastfeeding, us AP parents are seen as over-the-top, granola-head hippies who are doing harm to our children by over infantalizing them and giving in to their desires. So, with Bialik's impending divorce, what better way to vilify the parenting style further than blaming it on divorce? Probably not much. 

Yet again, we see the media telling us as women and mothers that we're not doing a good enough job. By the Times asking if AP caused her divorce, what they're saying is, "you drove your husband away with the family bed and all the breastfeeding, isn't that right?" and it's unfair. Other media outlets have picked up the story adding "attachment parent" to the headlines. No one would EVER think to put "cry-it-out mom" as an epithet for someone, so why AP? 

I'm not sure what's so scary about attachment parenting—is it the idea that all family members play a role? Is it that often in AP families, the "it takes a village" mentality is not only used but utilized with shared work between mum and dad often breaking down modern traditional gender roles? Extended breastfeeding AKA not letting culture overly sexualize women's mammary glands against their intended purpose? I'm not sure what it is, but it's troublesome that Bialik found herself so passionate about something that worked for her family that she chose to write a book about it, and now people are taking that passion and trying to pass it off as the reason for her divorce. 

No one would ever ask a father if his divorce was due to something he advocated for. Ever. I for one think even just thinking about asking a question as asinine as this isn't even remotely close to journalism. It's childishness. 

So spill it! What do you think of Mayim Bialik's divorce? Was it unfair of the LA Times to ask about her parenting style?