HMN Advisory Board Member

by Mayim Bialik who founded Grok Nation in 2015 as an online space for deep and dynamic conversations. She is a four-time Emmy-Award nominee and two-time Critics’ Choice Award winner for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on the #1 comedy in America, The Big Bang Theory, has a PhD in neuroscience and is the mother of two boys. She is also known for playing the young Bette Midler in Beaches, as well as for her lead role in the early-1990s NBC television sitcom Blossom.

She is the author of four books: Beyond the Sling, Mayim’s Vegan Table (February 2014, Da Capo Press), the New York Times bestseller Girling Up, and her latest, Boying Up.

Mayim begins the process of giving her boys wings as well as roots

I thought I was doing well. My boys are 9 and 12 and as I have written about before, they have started the natural, normal, organic process of pulling away from me as boys are wont to do.

Some study I read stated that boys actually start to find the smell of their mother – even unconsciously – a deterrent when they reach about the age of 10. My older son, when he reached 10 or so, replied when I told him of this study: “Yes. That’s totally it.” He was serious.

And I thought I was doing well. I was not nagging them or reminding them how much I loved them and asking them to show me love the way they always had. I mean, sure; sometimes I joke, “I nursed you for a combined 6 1/2 years; can I get a break here?!” But I think that’s fine, right?

It occurred to me it might not be right. And that I might not be doing well.

You see, it turns out I am a human. I know that sounds strange to say, but I think I may have a little bit started to think I was superhuman: super in tune with my kids, super educated about the brain and development, super cool with them growing up and individuating. You know: you give them wings, you have to celebrate them when they fly. Right?

But then one day, I wanted to kiss my Little Man. Like, I was feeling it. He wasn’t. And he didn’t say anything, but he definitely pulled away. He didn’t want it. I also found myself asking my boys more than once if they wanted a snack. After they had already politely said no. I asked again. Why did I do that?

And I realized with an audible gasp that there are times – there have been times in the past few years – that I have not realized that they needed more space. And I have done the things we do when we want more than the other person: I was smothering them.

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