name: Shaunna Nygren
kids, age: Lorea Darling, almost 3
where do you live on Maui: Haliimaile
occupation: Stylist + Editor in Chief of Pacific Weddings magazine
what are you passionate about: I’m passionate about relationships and design and travel and music and yoga! Any sort of printed ephemera gets my heart rate going. I’m a total sucker for magazines with beautifully thick paper stock and cool typography. I love watching small companies develop and grow and I’m really into helping my friends on their creative journey with all of the stylish details that go into creating a brand identity. Those creative collaborations really fuel me. I’m passionate about that do-it-yourself spirit that comes from small communities like ours. What else? I love exploring new places to find the best local eats, beer, strong coffee and storefronts with an indie spirit. I’m passionate about things that tell a story. High up there on my list of loves though is live music but I have to travel for that fix.
why did you choose to raise your children on Maui: Jason is from New Mexico and I’m from Boston. We met in Hawaii then moved away soon after (we landed in Texas, Georgia, and Oklahoma for his job). We called San Francisco home for a bit before returning to Maui. So we’ve tried out a few places on the map. Drop us in a city, any city, and we will eat and drink and shop our way through it. It completely inspires us both but we couldn’t quite imagine doing the family thing at that pace. We love the feeling of the desert in the Southwest with its open roads, amazing landscape, and element of strange. But Maui is the spot to raise a kiddo. A few reasons why: salt air, bare feet, minimal layers, health-conscious + active people, unpretentious people (most of the time), fruit trees in the back yard, play dates under the sun, and the kid scene at baby beach. Sounds like some sort of utopia, doesn’t it? But then you have the cost of living and the great distance from everywhere else! We won’t get into that.
Another thing about Maui that I’ve realized over the years is the ease at which we connect with one another. I find it easy to vibe with other moms here because of our shared reality. Its unlike living anywhere else in that most of us transplants are far away from our families and hometown network. We’ve decided to live on an island in the middle of the ocean. We’ve made that choice so we have something in common right away. That adventurous spirit and intention to live a different day-to-day connects us and I’ve grown to appreciate that.
what is the best part about being a momma: I’m sure a lot of moms say this but I always thought I’d have a family “some day.” When I found out that I was pregnant, I just couldn’t imagine the reality of it. I was never one to babysit or show interest in kids so I wondered if I would enjoy being a mom. You rarely hear parents tell you the real genuine, good stuff beyond the cliches. I guess you just have to live it. Now I always tell my pregnant friends, “You are going to love being a mom. It’s fun!” Raising Lorea has brought me such great joy. Her thoughts make me smile and her growing personality makes me laugh. The best part about being a momma is the good times and natural love.
what’s your favorite thing to do as a family: Those non-moments at home when Tom Petty or Greg Brown is sounding in the backdrop and we’re cooking dinner and drinking beer (!) while Lo is playing (she’s usually in some interesting mashup of clothes, singing or coloring or begging us to watch a show) are my favorite moments together. It’s rare that its ever just the three of us at the beach or out to eat. But Lo loves her aunties and uncles and friends who take care of her like their own.
how did being a mom change you: It shifted my priorities which has been a refreshing change. It feels like such a worthwhile pursuit—to place your love and energy and intention on someone else, your child, and take the focus off of you or some trivial matters. I will say that being a mom has made me less uninhibited and free which is probably natural (for now) but I’d like to bring some of the wild back! It’s hard to totally “let go” in all aspects of life as a parent. You have this crazy important obligation to another person and that is definitely in the back of my head every minute. Even when I’m out with friends, childless for the evening, there is still this feeling that I need to keep my shit together. It’s been a slow process getting that carefree spirit back. I’m close.
But to touch on the relationship aspect of how becoming a parent changes you, being a mom has made me really appreciate who I married! Co-parenting is where its at. I’ve grown to like the person my husband is more and more with every passing day that I watch him with Lorea. He is such a cool dad! He seems to know her every feeling and need. He’s a real natural— super patient and silly and playful. He nails that whole discipline/ setting boundaries thing (all of the stuff that I’m not too good at). I shine at saying yes to Lorea;) I think he has taught me the most in my new role as a mom. In the same breath, becoming a mom has challenged me to be more intentional in showing my man the love. In giving so much attention to Lorea, our relationship doesn’t get the same nurturing that it needs. It ain’t easy! But its tops on my mind lately. Mommas, keep the date nights alive.
what is one thing you want to teach your children: I remember my mom telling me to always be nice. It’s such simple concept. Growing up, there were kids in school who were quiet or different or not totally into sports and the prom and all those social norms. And my mom always encouraged me to reach out and connect in some way, and just be a nice person. You never know how you will impact somebody’s life. I want to teach Lorea a depth of character and meaning and connectedness. And on a completely different note, I want to teach her that she is more than a good body in a bikini and all that superficial bullshit that arrises as a female, now more than ever, especially when you live at the beach. It’s a fight we are all fighting on some level. I want to teach her to be an empowered, thinking girl.
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