How She Does It
CHANEA WELLS BOND
Educator | Mom | Partner
Chanea (sha-nay) Wells Bond describers herself as an educator, a mom, a student, a scholar, a dedicated public servant, an activist, a partner, a sister, a daughter, a reader; a woman with many different intersecting identities trying to make sense of the world.
Chanea juggles a lot of things on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis as a working mom, taking care of her daughter, loving her husband, and managing a demanding career in public education. We sat down with Chanea to learn how she makes the most of her time and where she struggles. What we love about Chanea is her honesty, her willingness to own her challenges and tackle them head-on, and her prioritization of contentment over balance. Here’s our conversation with Chanea, our first amazing women of the How She Does It series:
How do you typically spend your time on an average day?
Wake up, eat a bowl of Organics peanut butter dots cereal, get my daughter ready for daycare, drive to work, teach two classes and have an off period to grade, call parents, meet with administration, plan, etc. I teach four more classes with a break in between during which I lead PLC (professional learning community) meetings with my team and the other teachers in our department. After school is out, I stay for tutorials, grading, organizing, prep until about 5:30. I pick up my kiddo from school, we have dinner, I give her meds and daddy gives her a bath while I finish the work I need to complete for the next day. I upload my lessons for the next morning. Take a shower listening to a podcast or an audiobook as my only free time, and I fall asleep.
What in your life is most important to you? What makes you feel most fulfilled?
My family, my daughter is my raison d’etre. I can see all the good things I aspire to be in the way she looks at me. My career makes me feel like I’m making a difference in the world. Education is such a hot-button career; we work too hard for too little money. But working through complex issues with my students is so valuable.
What do you struggle to make time for the most?
TIME FOR MYSELF IS NONEXISTENT. I’m in the car right now writing all of this so I can have a break!
How would you define “balance?” What does balance look like in your life?
I would define balance as being able to leave work at work and being able to set healthy boundaries for how much I allow into my home life from work and other forces.
How would you rate your balance?
Poor. I’m so bad at balance.
What would make it easier to improve your balance?
Routines. My toddler and I are establishing night time routines and it clicked one day that I NEED THAT TOO!
Do you think we should be striving for something other than “balance?” If so, what should that thing be?
“ I think the most stressful thing for me is balancing work and life. Making sure I am present for my kids—dropping Blue off at school, taking Rumi and Sir to their activities, making time for date nights with my husband, and being home in time to have dinner with my family—all while running a company can be challenging. Juggling all of those roles can be stressful, but I think that’s life for any working mom.”– Beyonce Knowles Carter
Do you keep a daily or weekly routine? If so, how did you create that routine and what are your secrets for maintaining it?
I don’t have a routine. I fly by the seat of my pants 9/10 times. It’s always worked for me in the past, but as I’ve gotten older, I see the benefit of a routine.
How do you split responsibilities with your partner and/or your tribe?
My husband does routine things like give the baby a bath and my mom definitely meets me halfway in terms of taking care of responsibilities. I’m very blessed to have someone who always has my back as a mom and as my best friend.
What helps you get in the zone and be your most productive self?
My sister and I have a tradition. On especially intense/important days, we call and give each other pep talks. Like, locker room, before the big game pep talks. Her encouragement helps so much. I try to focus on tasks at hand to be productive. I like to make beginning, middle, and end points so that I can measure my productivity.
What would make your workplace and/or work life more conducive to living your best personal life? How can workplaces better serve women?
The adage that the world expects mothers to work like they don’t have kids and parent like they don’t work is so true. It’s so unforgiving, even before I had a kid. As a woman, I feel like we have to work harder to prove ourselves and so saying “no” is rarely an option.
“My family, my daughter is my raison d’etre. I can see all the good things I aspire to be in the way she looks at me.”
“We have to encourage one another and tell the truth. I am a champion for women and my favorite thing to do is tell women how amazing they are. Finding words of kindness and comfort for someone when the world is so cruel and our inner voices are so cruel can make the difference.”
What do you do to take care of yourself? How do you make time for self-care?
I talk a lot with my therapist and I’ve started journaling. I’ve also started setting boundaries about work and how often I’ll work at home. I make time to spend with my daughter, no communication with anyone else.
If you could share one secret to success with other women for taking care of yourself, what secret would you share?
Taking time off is okay. Very little in this life is life-or-death, so creating a boundary that allows you time to regroup and recharge won’t be the end of the world.
How do you evaluate taking on additional obligations like volunteering, side hustles, etc.? When do you say no and how do you say no?
I just moved, so I am very careful with what I say yes to. Being in a new environment has allowed me to start from ground zero in terms of commitments. I talk with my husband, my mom, and with my therapist about adding things to an already crowded schedule.
No woman can do it all herself. What is one thing you find yourself needing help with the most?
I NEED a routine! And a housekeeper lol!
If you could ask the women in your life one question about how they manage and make the most of time, what question would you ask?
How do you carve out time to be just yourself? I am always teacher, wife, mom, etc. When do you find time to just be who you are?
If you could share one secret to success with other women for managing and making the most of your time, what secret would you share?
I’m LITERALLY juggling my daughter and my coffee on a Saturday morning as I find time to answer the second half of questions, so I guess my only advice is to be flexible and allow yourself some grace. It’s impossible to get everything done in a day and that’s fine. The world will not implode.
What can women do to be more supportive of one another?
We have to encourage one another and tell the truth. I am a champion for women and my favorite thing to do is tell women how amazing they are. Finding words of kindness and comfort for someone when the world is so cruel and our inner voices are so cruel can make the difference. Also, honesty! “How she does it?” Barely, and with a lot of caffeine and mistakes!
How She Does It is brought to you by Liveli Planner. At Liveli Planner, we value the women who do epic sh!t in their communities, homes, and workplaces. These ordinary women do the incredible every day but we don’t always hear their stories. Liveli Planner wants to change that. We believe that by sharing the stories we don’t always hear about, we’ll learn from each other’s wins and struggles and hopefully realize we are pretty extraordinary too.