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 can tell people I can’t talk after 1pm. It’s when I take care of my kids, and I know better than to think I can have a serious conversation with them around.
But now, when I’m doing radio and TV for my book, I am 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 that the kids would sort of 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 is 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 me 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.
But it is not good news. It is good news that they want to talk with me about my opinions about cancelling email at work to increase productivity. You can imagine, I have a lot of opinions on this completely inane idea from 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, like investigating the lamp switch. At first I pay a little attention to him and a little attention to Fox. But you know how right before you are going to die you have ten thousand thoughts in one second? I had that – I had ten thousand thoughts about how this is my big break in television and I am messing it up by letting myself get distracted by my kid. I am not being as scintillating to the producer as I could be.
All this in one second. And in the next second, I am taking out a box of Cheerios and letting my son dump them on the floor. This is very interesting to him. For a minute. Then, when I fear he might be getting up to do something I’d have to pay attention to, I take out Coco Puffs. He dumps. Then walks. Then stomps. 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 is no surprise that when I have a radio interview at 4pm, I plan an intricate babysitting scheme where I give up hours on three days to get extra hours on the day of my interview. And then the babysitter is sick. Of course. So I try to weasel out of the interview, but I worry that this is something that women with kids are known for. (Are they?)
So I take the kids to 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 is no background pool noise.
So this weekend I decided that I need to get a grip. I don’t want to be the book author who does 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.