Did attachment parenting do in ‘Blossom’ star’s marriage?
BY DR. LAURA BERMAN firstname.lastname@example.org November 30, 2012 9:58AM
FILE â NOVEMBER 21: Actress Mayim Bialik announced November 21, 2012 that she and husband Michael Stone will divorce. LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Actress Mayim Bialik arrives at the premiere of Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Updated: January 6, 2013 9:36AM
Actress Mayim Bialik recently announced that she is splitting from her husband after nine years of marriage.
Bialik is best known for her roles on “Blossom” and now “The Big Bang Theory.” Yet she also is well-known for her parenting philosophies, many of which she outlined in her book Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way.
Like many of today’s mothers, Bialik practices attachment parenting. Attachment parenting was a term first dubbed by pediatrician William Sears, and it is a philosophy that includes everything from prolonged breast-feeding to co-sleeping. Parents are encouraged to carry young children (particularly newborns) with them constantly throughout the day, which many mothers do in a sling (hence Bialik’s aptly named book). The idea is to create closeness and security for the child with constant touch, love and reassurance, and to allow the child to seek independence at their own pace.
While many parents embrace this philosophy, some critics fear such 24/7 parenting can be draining for the mother and father, particularly when it comes to their relationship. Indeed, Bialik recently told reporters that she and her husband had not enjoyed a date night in more than seven years. She also shared that they sleep in separate beds, each with one of the children rather than each other.
In a statement the actress issued, Bialik said her divorce has nothing to do with her parenting style, and we certainly can’t know what caused the sad dissolution of the marriage.
However, it does have many people wondering: Can attachment parenting lead to a detachment marriage? Consider the following:
Sleeping together helps create intimacy. A recent study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that couples might get health benefits from sleeping in the same bed, and that sleeping together might help to boost oxytocin and feelings of intimacy between couples who share a bed. Bonding such as this is part of the reason why attachment parenting proponents stress the importance of co-sleeping with your baby.
However, when people co-sleep with their children, the bed might become too crowded for comfortable sleep. This often can lead the parents to share separate beds or to sleep apart, which means that while they might be increasing intimacy with their child, they are simultaneously decreasing intimacy with their partner. Not to mention, when you are not sharing a bed (or when you are sharing a bed with your child), you are going to find it very hard to find time for sex and intimacy with your mate.
Of course, you can get creative and have sex at other times and in other places, but it will require more planning and effort (which is something new parents will likely not have time or energy to do).
A strong marriage is the best gift you can give your child. The unfortunate side effect of attachment parenting is that it causes many parents (particularly moms) to feel guilty if they take time for themselves. Carrying a baby in a sling all day is not only physically exhausting, it can be emotionally exhausting as well — not to mention, it can be very hard to feel attractive and in the mood if you never have a free moment to be alone with your partner.
However, having a regular date night and making time to be with your partner doesn’t make you selfish or a bad parent. Just the opposite!
By keeping your bond strong, you are ensuring that your children have the gift of a happy parents and a loving home.
When you are healthy, rested, and in sync with your mate, it will ripple throughout the rest of your family and your life, and best of all, it will give your children the example of a strong and happy relationship to look up to — and that can be one of the best gifts a parent can give a child.
Dr. Berman is the star of “In The Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman” on OWN and director of www.drlauraberman.com.