I first met Chali on set for our spring / summer '21 shoot at Commodore Perry where she and her daughter Rubye were modeling our very matching house dress set! We chatted throughout the day and I loved watching her interact with Rubye, speak about her background in teaching and the way she was fully present with whomever she was speaking to. There was a true magic to her!
We recently caught up with her at her home in Austin that she shares with her husband and three children and I got to dig a little deeper.
What's your name, where do you live and who lives in your home?
My name is Chalimar Chieza and I live in Austin, Texas with my beautiful husband and best friend, Tatenda as well as our three children, Rubye (6), Solomon (4) and Zeke (2). We also have two puppies- Zola and Fadzi.
What are you most enjoying these days about this current stage of motherhood?
My favorite part of motherhood right now is celebrating the moments together. At the age that our kids are right now, everything is joy and wonder. It makes life feel like a magical fairy tale even when you know the world isn't nearly that way. You can live in their innocence and celebrate all of the little things because to them- they're everything! I love playing with my kids and being loud. I love making messes with them and then teaching them to clean it up. They are literally down for anything right now so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!
You are a teacher by trade. How do you think your years teaching informed how you approach motherhood?
Being a teacher definitely taught me unconditional love and patience and empathy in a whole new way. I learned to meet my students, who I called my children anyway, exactly where they were. I have to do that every day with my three. They are their own whole self and T and I allow them to embrace that. We ENCOURAGE it. At the last school I worked in, I was there for more than a decade. Some of the most pivotal moments in my life happened while I was working there and being a part of a community like that helped me grow as a person in so many ways. That undoubtedly helped me be better as a mother also. The foundational principles were to: fall in love with learning, realize your profound beauty and live with courage and authenticity. That ethos was just so powerful and really resonated with me. I work to live out those words as a mother.
Where do you find peace among the chaos that is raising small children at home?
I love working out! I grew up an athlete and played soccer competitively my whole life. I still play on Sundays for a women's league here but before I had Rubye, I also played in an indoor volleyball league. I bought a used Peloton off of Facebook Marketplace right before Christmas this past year and that has been so much fun. If I have time, my workout of choice would be to go for a long run with Zola but usually I am working with a 3 minute window at the most before someone comes looking for me. I love to read and can't wait for the day that I have time to join a book club. We have bookshelves in every room of our house. T and I both really love cooking (and eating) and we have a really sweet garden at the house that he built, so it's always fun to see what we can make with the random things that we will grow.
What is something you have learned recently about motherhood?
Something that I learned recently about motherhood is that it's so important to really focus on the details. The small things. The things you can't see in pictures. Like the dimples on their little hands where their knuckles are. Or the way their mouth curls at the corners when they grin and you can see the little nubs of their new teeth coming in. The way that they write their "s" when they first start to write. Or the way that they say "fock" instead of "fox" for a while. You have to document the things that you can't see. I've always been big about taking pictures of my kids but more recently, I've started to take more videos and I've been journaling about what we have been doing- creating their living History.
A perfect day in Austin with kids?
A perfect day in Austin with kids would be Belgian waffles with fresh fruit at the Mueller Farmer's Market followed by splash pad time. Stop by the Thinkery and play until exhausted. Then, every single child would nap for a minimum of 2 hours and not one of those naps would be taken within proximity (or even in the same room) as you. A quick lunch at home, followed by a fun hike on the greenbelt and swimming/splashing in some natural springs before dinner at one of our favorite spots like Justine's, Fresas, Elizabeth Street Cafe or I would be remiss to not mention the kids' favorite- Chuys. If it was summer time and during the week, the kids love Blues on the Green and Shakespeare in the Park but we would love to grab Hey Cupcake! or an after-dinner ice cream from Amy's and just head home. That would all be pretty perfect. :)
You can follow Chali on Instagram here.