Kat Hudson

Kat Hudson
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Birthday
May 16
Bio
Kathryn Hudson has been a writer for most of her life. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, she currently calls Baltimore, Md., her home. As an award-winning journalist, Ms. Hudson spent several years as a newspaper reporter. She is currently raising a beautiful daughter on her own as a single mother along with two obnoxious cats (they are probably both French-Canadian). In her free time she writes. In her regular life, she juggles a cute infant along with a job in sales, blogs, and short films about everything. She welcomes new friends and correspondence, especially from befuddled new parents like herself.

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FEBRUARY 6, 2013 3:47PM

Doing it all, whether I like it or not

Rate: 6 Flag

“Bad keee!” My 20-month-old toddler shouted at her two cats this morning. I was sipping on my first cup of coffee as our 15-year-old cat, Cassie, got pummeled by our younger cat, Zuzu. I’ve admonished them on many occasions for their kitty spats which often result in flying fur and extra vacuuming for me. This morning, however, it was cute. Not the cat fight, but my daughter’s mimicking of me. I whipped out my cell phone to text her father.

“That’s why I love her,” he texted back an hour later. Then, “I hope I get to see her soon.”

As a single mother, I used to get mad when he’d passively back out of a visit. Wednesday is one of his usual “visit” days. Normally, we have a pretty set schedule, but since losing my job a month ago, things have been all over the map. I wasn’t too upset because he has gone out of his way lately to help me any way he can. When I had a last-minute job interview last week, even though he was sick, he made it over and gave me time to get the interview done as well as run a few errands. Still, he spends around eight hours a week with our daughter while I am with her almost every hour of every day. Lately, I can see that we could use a little more time apart.

My friends have tried to spin my current joblessness as positively as possible. “Look at the bright side, you can finally spend more time with your daughter,” they say. I am not arguing this point, but most of my friends who are mothers also have a partner who lives with them. Eventually, that partner comes home at some point during the day and they have a break. I have no such thing. Believe it or not, I’m not complaining, I just wish people could see things from my point of view.

When I learned that I was pregnant, I had no delusions about the future. My daughter’s father and I barely knew each other. As soon as I told him I was pregnant and going through with the pregnancy, he became cold and our “dating” relationship ended. Every mention of my daughter was met with indifference and sometimes hostility. Eventually, he disappeared and began dating another woman. I was five-months along at the time. I didn’t miss him or want him back for my sake. What I wanted was to make sure my daughter had a father in her life she could count on. And when I was being completely honest with myself, I wanted someone I could share some of the parenting burdens with, too.

My daughter’s father eventually returned. He came back just in time, really. The night my water broke, I texted him to tell him I was headed to the hospital and where he could come if he wanted to be there for his daughter. To my surprise, he arrived at the hospital the following morning just around the time my labor pains were becoming very intense and I was feeling scared and alone. My best guy friend, Chuck, had driven me to the hospital and had spent much of my labor by my side, but it wasn’t his kid or his responsibility. My daughter and I needed her father.

Our daughter was six weeks’ early. After an emergency Caesarean, she spent 10 days in the well-baby nursery at the hospital with minor complications. Her father visited every other day or so. He and his girlfriend had just moved in together and he was in the thralls of a new relationship. It was probably for the best that way. I knew the moment I brought her home, it was all on me.

Now, almost two years later, I’m used to being “the one.” I am the one who kisses away her small bumps and bruises and perceived slights. I am the one who feeds her, bathes her and teaches her manners when her frustrations take over and utensils are tossed. I am the one who makes sure she has all of her “friends,” an assortment of stuffed animals,  with her in bed each night along with her pacifier. I am the one she wakes in the morning while she babbles, giggles and practices new words while kicking the slats of her crib. I am her first smile; she is my goodnight kiss. We live in such a magical bubble most of the time, but I cannot forget the reality that is lurking in the shadows of that bubble.

Since becoming a more independent child lately, even small tasks are hard to manage alone with her. Once upon a time, she was content to sit in a grocery cart at the store. Now, she flips her body like a fish being ripped from a lake as I try to place her in the seat. She takes my hand for a few moments, but her desire to break free and explore on her own is strong and so is she. When I took her on a brief trip to a clothing store to return some wrongly-labeled pants, she pretended to be shy for half a minute before diving into a rack of cheap costume jewelry necklaces. As I attempted to fill out a credit application (foisted on me by two sales clerks who insisted I should do it so I could get a discount on my purchases), one of the clerks said flatly, “Ma’am, your daughter can’t play with the jewelry.” It took everything I had to not say what I felt: I can’t do it all. And, HELP ME!!!

I’ve tried hard not to become some sort of shut-in because my daughter deserves the chance to explore the world outside our one-bedroom apartment’s doors. So do I. Yet it’s not always easy to do this on my own. I have very little support and I’ve finally come to the realization that I need more than what I’ve got. I know I need to find it.

The number of people I have to watch my daughter in my absence is small. Her father does his best to accommodate me when he can. I have my good friend, Chuck. As a man who’s had two kids of his own, I know he’s not perfect, but he shows up and gives her his full attention. Aside from another friend or two, I just don’t know a lot of babysitters nor can I afford them. The going rate on websites like Care.com is around $10-$20 an hour. I had been paying $225 a week for daycare when I was working.

Last weekend, I had every notion to go out and have fun. A bunch of my friends were going to karaoke, a special fundraiser, actually, and I was dying to go. Things changed, when the weather did. With two bad knees and no health insurance, my social life was suddenly back to its “dead” status. My daughter didn’t mind. Instead of singing to a group of half-drunk friends and strangers, I sang to her. She clapped appreciatively. It also helped her fall asleep.

My daughter is napping as I write this. I look around our small, cluttered apartment feeling twinges of guilt. There is a sink piled high with dirty dishes that need to be loaded into the dishwasher. A few bags of trash need an escort to the trash chute down the hall. Laundry needs to be folded and put away. My daughter’s toys have yet to learn to make their way to the toy box. I managed to feed myself lunch, but because I didn’t pay close attention, I misread the microwave instructions and burned it a little. I need to e-mail my resume to about 10 new job leads.  I need a shower.

When my daughter wakes up, I’ll feed her something before we make a hasty trip to the store for milk. It’s supposed to snow or rain or something and since I don’t know when her father will be over again this week, I’ve got to do this myself. Oh and there’s that e-mail from that nice single father I need to reply to when I get another free moment. But that can wait. I really need that shower. And a small army to help me get it all done would be nice, but as usual, that’s not happening. It’s all on me.

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Comments

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Kat, you are doing such a wonderful job with your daughter. I'm glad you had a few minutes to share your story with us, and glad her father is in her (and your) life even though it isn't perfect. R
I know it's a lot of work. Yet you write this in such a way, that the apparent underlying sweetness would be hard to miss. ~r
I wondered how you and your baby girl were doing. Sounds like things are hectic and fine. Even with a partner in the house, the trash can pile up and the laundry languish but it'll get done eventually. Be sure to find time to read to your little one. Best wishes.
It's great to get an update. I'm glad your little girl's dad is still in the picture, but I understand your feeling overwhelmed. I think the most important thing is for your daughter to know she's loved - and that, you're doing a great job of. It seems like the toddler years are the most difficult - soon she'll be going to school, I imagine, and you'll have more free time, and from what I've heard from other parents, you'll probably feel a bit bad and miss her lots, at least at first. Still, I do hope you'll find a way to have a little more time for you. Best of luck to you and your daughter.
It's great to get an update. I'm glad your little girl's dad is still in the picture, but I understand your feeling overwhelmed. I think the most important thing is for your daughter to know she's loved - and that, you're doing a great job of. It seems like the toddler years are the most difficult - soon she'll be going to school, I imagine, and you'll have more free time, and from what I've heard from other parents, you'll probably feel a bit bad and miss her lots, at least at first. Still, I do hope you'll find a way to have a little more time for you. Best of luck to you and your daughter.
Thanks for the update. Don't put off that nice email from the single father. There are people out there who might not be perfect but who would be willing to fill that gap you have in the Daddy department. It would feel so good to connect with someone like that. Put it up on the priority list because it is important. I think you are doing great!
Thank you, everyone! I am re-organizing my priorities. I've MISSED writing. I've also missed my OS family. Things are actually quite awesome, though I'm back on the job market (seems to be the story of my life!). No sadness or bitterness, though! I have such a rich life, the only thing missing is money! LOL!

Love you all!