Jun 4 2013
My crocheted kippah.
This is the first in a month-long series of posts Mayim will be writing about the Jewish aspects of divorce. Up first: head coverings.
I was raised in a traditional Jewish household attending a Reform synagogue. My mother was raised Orthodox but left traditional Judaism pretty much as soon as she could.
When we lit Shabbat candles, my mother covered her head with a doily and I had a matching one so I could be like her.
My mom’s older sister was very religious, so she and all of her daughters covered their heads all the time in tichels (headscarves), hats, and, for special occasions, fancy wigs. To me, head coverings were for super religious people. I had no problem wearing a small kippah sometimes when making blessings as a child, and one of my cousins in Israel even crocheted me one with my name on it which I treasured and still have and treasure. I saw nothing strange about women wearing kippahs, since in Reform and Conservative circles, it was acceptable. Why not? Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 29 2013
I know that I have so much to be grateful for, and I am. I live in a country of democratic ideals (even though it’s not perfect), I have a roof over my head, money for food and clothing and medicine, I am in fairly good health, I am employed, I have friends and family who love me.
I’ve talked a lot here on Kveller about my religious faith, even in the face of my horrible car accident, and even in the face of doubt and fear. And I think I have realized that it is that sense of faith that helps me get through my moments/hours/days/weeks/months of despair. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 29 2013
Pesach was good! Mid-divorce, I hosted everyone. And it was great.
In addition to my I-still-call-her-my-mother-in-law and Michael, my parents were there and my uncle. My closest and oldest friend and her 7-year-old daughter came and the kids had a blast. Her 7-year-old and my 7-year-old even let my 4-year-old find the afikomen because he was literally having a fit about the possibility of not finding it, starting at about karpas. Thank you, mature 7-year-olds! Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 19 2013
Passover is upon us and I am sort of almost ready. Because of my car accident seven and a half months ago and my tendinitis which I am just finally over, my cleaning and cooking will not be as thorough and rigorous as I like them to be, but I am doing things differently this year and that’s a good thing.
Here are the things I am doing differently:
1. Not obsessing as much as I like to. Traditional Judaism is a beloved religious undertaking for those of us on the Obsessive-Compulsive spectrum, with its myriad boundaries, numerical rituals, and things to do and not do in order to be “right” with God and the world. Even our spring cleaning is regimented, to a certain extent, and I usually take this time of year to go totally nutso bonkers with my cleaning. This year, it will be more by-the-books and I will save the super duper magnifying glass-type of scouring for another time when my hand is better. And that’s ok. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 27 2013
I wonder when parenting/my life will stop feeling like something to survive, but for today I can say with confidence and a smile on my face that we survived Purim.
As I described last week, despite the fact that we are in the middle of a divorce, our sons designed a family-themed Purim costume as they have in years past. The exact character designations changed slightly in the past week and here’s how it shook down: Fred, who is 4 and Miles, who is 7, went as everyone’s favorite French vintage comic book hero Tintin. Mike (my almost ex) went as Captain Haddock, like the fish. I still went as Snowy the Dog. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 19 2013
Purim is next Saturday night/Sunday. I’m getting divorced. Let me tell you what I’ve learned this Purim season: kids don’t give a good gosh darn if you’re getting divorced; they want you to show up for Purim in a family-themed costume.
Two years ago, we were all superheroes. I was Wonder Woman (tznius-style, complete with denim skirt past the knee rather than bathing suit), the elder son was Superman, the younger son was Batman, and the almost-ex was Robin. We were adorable.
Last year, we were cowboys. Also adorable. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 14 2013
Both of my boys were sick this past weekend. Thank God, nothing bad, not the flu, just high fever, runny, lethargic, and fitful all night and most of the day as well. I was alone with the boys, with my tendinitis hand and my low patience, which seems to be the tagline to my life right now: “Mayim Bialik: Actress, Neuroscientist, Low Patience.”
Here are the high points and low points, presented alternately, so as to spread out the bad and sprinkle them with good.
Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 12 2013
I am in the middle of a divorce. We’re in the home stretch and I have chosen to keep pretty much all of the details private for a few reasons.
What I want to share, however, are some of the things I have used as my personal guiding principles and tools, as it were, as I navigate divorce. Let’s call these “Mayim’s Tools for Divorce.”
1. Put the kids first. They didn’t ask for this. They will have a hard enough time coping with the irrevocable loss of their intact home; they don’t need more drama than already exists for them. Even if they’ll be better off in two happy unfighting homes than one unhappy fighting home, divorce sucks for kids. Period. I kept pictures of my boys all over my house and dressing room during this period so I constantly am reminded of them in this whole mess as I negotiate contracts and such. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 6 2013
Look ma, no nummies!
Well, nay-sayers, prepare to be proven wrong. All of you snarky mamas who glared at me nursing my 3 1/2-year-old on the NYC subway, prepare to be amazed. And to all of my family and friends who wanted to chastise me about nursing a walking, talking, thinking, laughing little man named Fred, thanks for holding your tongues.
Because we did it. Fred isn’t going to nurse on his way down the wedding aisle or at his high school graduation. I didn’t need to break him of a “habit” and teach him “who’s in charge.” I didn’t need to set boundaries you thought I should have set when I didn’t want to set them.
Because we did it: Fred weaned.
Fred weaned this past Thanksgiving, exactly a year from his night-weaning Thanksgiving of 2011, which I initiated reluctantly–and as gently as I could, and days before I released the public statement that I was getting divorced. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 21 2013
My car accident was five months and a week ago. My hand is still swollen, stiff, achy, and angry. I have about 86% strength in my right (dominant) hand. I still go to hand therapy three times a week.
I finally started driving again over Thanksgiving. I have some pretty strong Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stuff going on, which I don’t say lightly. As a neuroscientist and someone who experienced a significantly traumatic event in this accident, I fully believe in the clinical aspects of PTSD and although I don’t intend to share with you the particulars of my symptoms, let’s just say that even sitting in a car was a huge step for me during Thanksgiving. And PTSD is a real and intense disorder. Seek help if you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, which you can read about here. Read the rest of this entry →