THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Tyke trouble: Kiddies complicate work lives

Here's what it looks like to have a flexible schedule for kids and work all day: a computer with a broken K key.

Usually I tell people I can't talk after 1pm. That's when I take care of my kids, and I know I can't have a serious conversation with them around.

But now, when I'm doing radio and TV to promote my book, I'm not really in the driver's seat when it comes to scheduling. The first time I took an interview after 1pm, I was living in a fantasy world where the kids would care for themselves. That's the time that somehow my son who has never displayed a penchant for small-motor skills, dismantled my K key and lost it.

I told myself that I'd replace it. Can you buy a K on the Internet? And then I told myself that I would move the Q key to the K spot. But the truth about having a great flexible schedule where kids and work mix is that there's never any time for things like replacing a K. So I just learned to come up with words that don't require it.

And I continued. But then I get a day like the one when Fox News calls at 3pm. I can't tell them call me back, right? It's not like I'm endorsing Fox News here, but I am endorsing the idea that being on Fox will sell some copies of my book. So I take the call.

They want to talk about canceling email at work to increase productivity. I have a lot of opinions on this completely inane idea dreamed up by some luddite CEO who can't get a handle on his inbox.

But my two-year-old is trailing me, not really being noisy, but doing things that need some attention. At first I pay a little attention to him and a little attention to Fox. But I worried I was messing up by letting myself get distracted. So I took out a box of Cheerios and let my son dump them on the floor. By the end of the call, I have endeared myself to Fox, I think. But you can imagine the house: crunchy and disgusting.

So it's no surprise that when I have a radio interview at 4pm, I plan an intricate babysitting scheme, but the babysitter gets sick. So I try to weasel out of the interview, but I worry that this is something that women with kids are known for. 

So I take the kids swimming, and I plan a scheme where they are nonchalantly eating junk food next to the TV when it's time for my radio interview, and then I sort of disappear. But other kids come and then I have to reveal to the other parents that I'm dumping my kids in front of the swimming TV. And then the radio show is late, so I have to reveal to the manager that my kids might be unruly and there is actually no one supervising them.

The manager is so nice that she lets me stand in the broom closet so there's no background pool noise.

So this weekend I decided that I need to get a grip. I don't want to be the author who does phone interviews from broom closets.

The thing is, I don't really know how to solve that problem right now. So I solved the problem I could, and I bought a new computer: Check out my new K. It's everywhere.