Quirky, funny, scientist mommy and tuned in parent Dr. Lidia Prieto Frias is not your average mama! Born in Germany, raised in Spain, and welcomed into motherhood in the U.S., she has a unique, global perspective on the parenting game.
Dr. Lidia’s first Tuned In Parents feature was well-received. And we’re thrilled to invite her back to share with us. Without further ado, enjoy her guest post!
by Lidia Prieto Frias, PhD
Some months ago, Elle C. Mayberry was kind enough to think it would be interesting to interview me. I didn’t understand why, but the self-centered part of me was curious. So, I agreed to do it . . . and I loved it. I was able to share about myself as a person (because moms are people, too), and my process of becoming a parent. I was able to share my no-regrets and my fears. Opening up is such a hard thing to do. But as it turns out, sharing about yourself often reaches and resonates with others going through comparable experiences. Some parents who read my feature contacted me, and we talked about how similar our situations were. I am also very grateful that this experience allowed me to reconnect with some very important people in my life.
Since then — at the time my husband and I had just relocated from New York to Madrid with our baby girl, and I was enjoying being a new mom between jobs while settling our young family in — my life has changed quite a bit. My family is now settled in, and I found a highly satisfying job. AND . . . I’m pregnant again! We’re having another girl in November and we couldn’t be more excited!
I have decided to take time off work after maternity leave again, like I did with our firstborn. I am convinced that this will be the best for the baby and for the entire family. And I feel privileged that we can somewhat afford it. However, there’s small voice in my head that insists I’m making a mistake. That voice goes by many names. You may know it as Anxiety. It’s funny how we parents always have the same fears. Don’t we learn from our experiences? Or is it because of those experiences that we continue to have the same fears?
When I had my first child, I realized my biggest mistake was thinking I would be able to do a hundred things. I planned all those activities that would change my career and my life. I was going to write and read and do so much in my “spare time.” Ha! Of course none of that happened. Not only did I have a child that demanded all my attention, which I was happy to give, but I plain didn’t feel like doing all of those activities I had meticulously planned during my nesting phase. And oh! did that to-do list mock me! Though I still fear that unchecked to-do list on some level, with this second baby, I am trying not to make plans for my “free time.” Planning out free time. That really does sound silly, doesn’t it?
Another recurrent fear is whether I will be able to rebound professionally after an extended maternity leave. Spanish law allows 16 weeks; I’m taking more for my family. And I wonder, will the job market still consider me job-worthy? Will my self-esteem suffer like it did after my first maternity leave? Most of the time I think, I know, I will be able to overcome most barriers like I did the first time. I think, I know, I am resourceful and the (professional) world is not so unwelcoming to stay-at-home-moms. I think, I know, the (professional) world is not going to punish you for doing what you think is best for your children (Elle C. would interject that it varies country-to-country). These are real concerns that I know I don’t carry alone. But at the end of the day, I refuse to let fears guide my life! So here I go again!
Are you expecting? Can you relate to Dr. Lidia’s situation, pregnancy process, working mom concerns, and/or parenting fears?Thank you for being tuned in parents, and a special thanks to Dr. Lidia Prieto Frias for addressing some important and relatable parenting concerns! I welcome your comments, suggestions, and more sharing. Parents helping parents is a powerful dynamic! And congratulations to Dr. Lidia and her family on their second baby girl on the way! We will definitely ask her to update us after Baby is settled in.
-Elle C. Mayberry