When I first heard about Mika Brzezinski's book, “All Things at Once,” (Weinstein Books, 2009), I was excited to read a book by a working mom who claims to have found a way to balance home and a very public, very demanding professional life. The flap copy sold me: “...Mika Brzezinski's illuminating book shows us all how to reach our full potential in all areas of life, at every stage of the journey.” Count me in!

Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe show and a long-timer on the TV news circuit, has two young daughters and a husband with an equally demanding career as a TV news reporter. I was hoping she'd have some interesting anecdotes and helpful tips about how to keep all the balls in the air without giving up your sense of identity, your dedication to your job, and your connection with your family.

Here's her secret to doing it “all at once:”

Hire a nanny. Hire two or three, if you need them and it gives you the time and space to pursue your deepest desires.

Brzezinski makes no bones – and no apologies – about her inability to take on the traditional mothering role. While kids were always a lifetime goal for her (the sooner, the better, she advises), apparently becoming a mom in any traditional sense was not part of the picture. She doesn't cook. She has round-the-clock care for her kids. She doesn't enjoy overseeing discipline, chores, homework assignments, or housework. She misses more of her kids' events than she attends. And she refuses to apologize for it. In fact, the family's Christmas card the year she started on Morning Joe shows her husband and two daughters next to the Christmas tree... with the nanny. “If you see mommy, wish her a Merry Christmas!” the caption says.

“Oh my goodness, it's hard work, being a full-time, stay-at-home mom! Ten times harder than doing a piece for the CBS Evening News. I just wasn't up to it, I'm afraid,” she writes. And while I found her candor about her shortcomings as a mother refreshing, I had to raise my eyebrows more than once at her admissions. “As I write this, I'm missing Carlie's elementary school graduation, so there's a constant tug and pull between what I need to be doing at work and what I'd like to be doing at home,” she confides. Reading that, I suddenly felt guilty – now I, as a reader, felt party to her neglect of her kids.

And neglect is what it is. Sure, to each her own, and all that. But when you have kids, you make a bargain. To put their needs first. To be there for them. To make sure they're getting what they need from you, even if that means you miss the scoop of the century because you had to tend to a kid with strep instead of getting on a plane to set off to cover the latest devastation in Haiti.

My problem with Brzenski is not so much the choices she made – though I disagree with them – but that she seems to think she can take the path she's on without negatively impacting her kids. Her decisions have consequences, not just for herself, but for her entire family. I don't for a minute believe that her daughters won't regret the time they missed with their mother, and be the worse for it. She's taught them that they are lower down on the priority list than her own needs and desires, and they will suffer because of it. You can't just plug another warm body – even the most responsible and loving of nannies – into your role, without that impacting how your kids feel about you and themselves.

Someone once told me, “You can be replaced in anything you do except as the mother to your kids.” I took that to heart. I sometimes bemoan the fact that I am not as far up the totem pole as I might be, had I devoted more of my life to my career and less to my family. But that's a momentary regret, one that passes as soon as I remind myself of the greater good of our family. I'm far from the perfect mother, but my kids know they come first – on my calendar, and in my heart. There will be many other days for me to write that book, but there won't be another elementary school graduation.