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A Day in the Life of Jana Oleksinski

Jana Oleksinski, creater and owner of the developmental DVD series Sparkabilities, lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her two children, Emma, 9 and Orson, 5. Recently, she celebrated her 40th birthday by getting engaged to her long-distance boyfriend, Mark.

6am My iPhone signals to me that it’s time to wake up. I disagree and touch the pretty blue “snooze” rectangle.

6:09am Why did I think that nine extra minutes is going to make a difference? Turn off the alarm and check e-mail on my phone before I even get out of bed. My web developer has sent me design comps to approve for my Sparkabilities Web site. I respond with my blessing to move forward.

6:15am Make coffee. Ding! I get a text message from Mark. “Good morning. I love you!” it says. I respond with: “XOXO – I love you!” (It’s no good morning kiss, but it’s the best we can do 1,000 miles apart.)

6:20am Get dressed in my workout clothes, pull my hair back in a ponytail and wash my face.

6:25am Pour a cup of coffee … ahhhh!!! Sit down for five minutes of peace and then start breakfast.

6:45am Wake up Orson and lay out his school uniform. Emma’s next. She’s not a morning person and wants five more minutes. She snoozes me!

6:55am Emma reluctantly wakes up and Orson is dressed and smiling – a study in opposites. The kids eat breakfast, and I squeeze in a quick conversation with Mark as he drives to work.

7:10am Emma goes to her room to get dressed and I clean up the breakfast dishes. I put some makeup on and brush my teeth, while Orson shows me how strong he is.

7:20am Upload a Sparkabilities postcard to an online print service. Emma and I have a disagreement about her wardrobe choice. We agree that I won’t throw away her favorite pair of pants if she won’t wear them to school anymore. She goes back to her room for round two.

7:25am I put a snack in Emma’s bag and fill in her reading log. I remember that it’s trash day, augh! Emma comes out with an acceptable pair of pants on. I pull her hair back in a ponytail and we’re off.

7:30-8:15am Carpool time. I quiz Emma on her spelling words before she gets out of the car. At Orson’s school, I run in and take a picture of his “word wall words” with my phone, so I can make some flashcards for him.

8:15-9:15am Take a semi-private Pilates class with Patty, my business partner. We have worked together for the past year to create Sparkabilities baby DVDs based on her PlayWisley developmental play system. We try to talk, but our instructor reprimands us: “If you can talk, then you aren’t doing it right!” Grrrr.

9:15-9:30am Patty and I discuss beginning the toddler DVD series. We set a weekly meeting up for Wednesdays to start concepting the segments.

9:40am Starbucks!

10am Get home, make my breakfast (egg whites and toast), take a shower and get dressed for the day.

11am Sit down at my laptop and start to work. Attend to various e-mails first. Confirm a conference call at 1pm today with my publicist.

11:30am-12:45pm Work on creating this week’s Sparkabilities e-newsletter. While the DVDs are designed to entertain and develop essential learning skills, we also want to provide parents with developmentally appropriate ways to play with their babies at home. I really love doing this work.

12:50pm Realize that I am hungry. I eat a skim milk mozzarella cheese stick and some crackers. I grab a bottle of water and some almonds and head back to my laptop.

1pm Conference call with publicist in Los Angeles. Jessica Alba bought Sparkabilities at a baby boutique in Denver, and we talk about how to leverage that for coverage.

1:15-1:50pm Finish up the e-newsletter and schedule it to send.

2pm Have to go to the grocery store.

3pm Pick Orson up from kindergarten and go home to put groceries away. I make a snack and we wait for Emma’s school bus. I have to ship product out today, so I print labels and box them up.

4pm Leave for Emma’s swim team practice. We go over her spelling words in the car again.

4:30pm Drop Emma off at swim team and Orson and I go to the post office. He checks my “locker” for mail.

5pm Orson and I play basketball in the gym and then watch the last 15 minutes of swim team.

5:40pm I drive home and call Michael, Emma and Orson’s dad, to try and coordinate upcoming schedules and events.

6pm Get a bath ready for Emma, make some pasta for dinner and pour myself a glass of wine. We eat dinner, and then I check on the e-newsletter distribution.

6:30pm Bath time for Orson. I wash my face, while he’s in the tub playing with cars. “What’s this Mommy?”…“Those are your testicles.”…“What do they do?” Oh no! Panic! I remember advice I read somewhere about giving only as much information as you think they require in these situations. I answer, “They make you a boy.”… “Does Grandma have testicles?” I want to laugh, but respond with a question, “Is Grandma a boy?”…“No”… “Then Grandma doesn’t have testicles.” How will I ever make it?

7pm The kids use some of their “screen time” and watch TV. I clean up the kitchen.

7:30pm Read to Orson and we search for “word wall words” in the book. I didn’t get around to making flashcards today. Maybe tomorrow. He blows me kisses as I walk out the door.

8pm Get Emma in bed and she reads
out loud to me as part of her homework assignment.

8:30pm Tuck Emma into bed after several attempts on her part to postpone bedtime.

8:35pm Pour a second glass of wine and call Mark. We talk for the next hour about each of our day’s successes and failures and then discuss our plans for the weekend … I can’t wait to see him.

9:30pm Say goodnight to Mark. I get ready for bed and check my e-mail again.

10pm My head hits the pillow hard. I think about a quote my friend Kristi shared with me a few days ago: “Reality is so much more interesting than happily ever after.”