(A brief) Absence makes the heart grow fonder…


My husband Karl tells me that the first time his parents left him for a weekend away he stayed with his grandparents. He had such a great time that, according to his mother, when she met him at the airport Karl looked at her, started crying, turned around, and ran away.

I spent my first night away from Ruby this past weekend.

This was the first time in 20 months that my husband and I got away from both our kids. It was magical. And not magical for the reasons you’re thinking (get your mind out of the gutter), although that part was nice too.

The evening away also happened to be the night of my husband’s company’s summer party. We stayed downtown at the Hotel Vermont. Firstly, if you’re looking for a terrific local hotel to stay in for a night or weekend away, I highly recommend Hotel Vermont (no, they are not paying me to say this—hi Jess!). The hotel is very family friendly, although I think you should go without your kids, the products are all local, the food at the restaurant is impeccable, and they have a coffee/tea nook on each floor. A COFFEE/TEA NOOK, people!! Upon arrival I checked in, got myself a cup of tea, and sat in the room by myself for 15 minutes. I did nothing but sip my tea. Don’t get me wrong, I had the usual moments of panic with all the epic silence, “Where’s ruby? What is she doing now? Who’s got the baby?!” It took me awhile to come down from usual manic mom mode.

couple, married couple, man and wife, silly hat, funny glasses
A night out…my husband needs a lesson in taking selfies…clearly.

When we arrived home the next day, my daughter shrieked in delight upon my arrival, “hi mommyyyyyyy.” She didn’t turn away, or even cry…she was full of pure joy. She hugged me, kissed me, and “nuggled” (snuggled) me repeatedly before running off to destroy another corner of our home.

The last few weeks I have not been full of pure joy. Seeking the joy in life has not been my priority. I have been grumpy, resentful, short-fused, and sleep deprived…oh and guilt ridden…but what else is new?

I accidentally weaned Ruby a few weeks ago. I know, how do you accidentally wean your child? We were down to one nursing session a day and I knew that eventually things would come to an end. She started skipping that one time nursing session and then she skipped two in a row. I thought to myself that this was the end, and I closed up shop. Three days later she demanded to nurse. I didn’t know what to do…so I said it was all gone. She cried. I cried. This happened for over a week. It was horrible. She’s fine now…I’m fine now. But as a result she has been ridiculously clingy. Like, I’d rather stab my eyes out with a white-hot poker than have to have her sit on my lap one more time while I take a dump kinda clingy. And you know what…I’m not even sure that the accidental weaning is what made her clingy…its these kind of stages that make me feel like I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent…and the best (worst?) part is that I already have another child, so you’d think I’d know what I was doing the second time around. You’d think I’d have a little perspective?!

Since returning from my night away I feel like a new mom. At least for now. I feel refreshed and am starting to be more honest with myself about the kind of stay at home parent I want to be. I’m not ready to find a paying job just yet, but I’m also realizing that it might make sense for my child to spend a bit more time away from me. I’m thinking that when she turns two this fall, perhaps going to a half day program at a “school” for a few days a week might be a good time for her. I think these occasional breaks will be good for us. I might be a better performing mother if I can get a more significant break that just my usual 30 minute run a few days a week. And guess what, I don’t feel guilty about this realization. I know that those in the attachment parenting camp might feel differently and that’s ok too.

We do the best we can for our children, and that’s all they ask of us. It’s all that I can ask of myself too.

little girl, doughnut
My sweet donut buddy.


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Heather Polifka-Rivas
Heather is originally from upstate New York but her family returned to Vermont 4 years ago. They have lived in NYC and Chicago the past 10+ years and are happy to be back in Vermont. Heather's previous jobs as a starving actor in NYC, package design guru at Estee Lauder, and advisor to fortune 500 companies at Chicago’s top business school have not prepared her for her current job today: stay at home mom to Henry (7) and Ruby (3). A self proclaimed foodie, Heather spends her "many" hours of free time preparing elaborate meals, eating out, tending to her garden, canning it's bounty and willing her one tapped maple tree to weep more sap. She is also a mother runner.


  1. Great post, I’m glad you had a night away. The few times I have had those I’ve always come back to my kids ready for more, haha.


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