5 Minutes with a Northwest Arkansas Mom: Shanda Hunter

Name: Shanda Hunter

Where do you live in NWA? Fayetteville

What brought you to the area?

5NEWS hired me as an executive producer from Miami, Florida in 2009. I left in 2013 for a News Director job in Tennessee but returned to NWA in 2015 as the 5NEWS Assistant News Director and to marry my now husband Chase.

Children’s names and ages:

Henry James-3
Violet Ann-1

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in far northeast South Dakota. Any fellow South Dakota State Jackrabbit alums around here?

How would you describe your family’s “personality”?

We have a fun-loving personality in the Hunter house. It’s never boring, that is for sure! I’m an extrovert. My husband is an introvert—but also very hilarious. We’re always laughing.

Tell us about a day in your mom life:

Being a mom with a career in television news brings a lot of challenges. It’s a lot to juggle, but I believe adaptability is key to happiness. Our “routine” is often and delicately freestyled around breaking news interruptions.

6 a.m. (ish)
Wake up!
Get me dressed.
Wake up kids, pick their clothes, get them dressed.
Re-dress the naked, tantrum-stricken three-year-old because he wants to wear the clothes he picks out.

8 a.m. 
Mom begins fielding calls from reporters, while trying to find someone’s missing shoes and fielding snack requests from toddlers.
(No! Henry, you cannot have marshmallows for breakfast…*five minutes later*…Okay, Henry! I’ll give you two marshmallows if you’ll put your pants back on.)
Mad rush to get kids buckled into their car seats.

8:30 a.m.
Get the kids to school/daycare before breakfast.
Full disclosure, we’re typically five minutes late.

8:40 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Time for work and all the chaos that comes with being a TV news manager.

Best. Job. Ever. But also stressful and very busy.

I also check on my kids via our daycare app and their live-cams at least a million times.

6:45 p.m.
Dinner with the kids, if they haven’t been fed already.
Find missing sippy cup.
Refill said sippy cup.
Put kid back to bed.
Negotiate one last book.
Lights out. (probably)

8:45 p.m.
Chores and Mom and Dad time!

10 p.m.
Catch the 10 p.m. news.

What’s something that just made your mom day recently?

Henry and Violet are learning to keep each other company and play together.  Hearing them laugh and talk makes my heart so full!

Favorite all-time movie?

It’s a dead-lock tie: Anchorman and Wayne’s World. (Don’t judge.)

What’s something new you’d like to learn?

I would LOVE to learn how to paint with watercolor or learn calligraphy.

Where does your family love to play in NWA?

We are big fans of the Amazeum—but we also love to go to any local parks and festivals.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? 90s Country Music

What’s the best thing about being a mother?

Giving and receiving unconditional love. The smiles, tiny hugs and the unexpected I love you’s in a sweet toddler voice.

And the hardest thing?

If potty training is an indication of how good a parent you are, I’m failing. Lol.  This is definitely the hardest, most frustrating part of parenting, so far.

Who’s your role model? Why?

My mother. She raised four daughters mostly by herself, while my dad worked a hard-labor job away from home.  She’s the one who taught me how to be adaptable, strong, independent, kind and loving no matter what.

Where do you like to go when you need some “me” time?

Ha! Me time is rare, as it is for most parents, but I do enjoy a hot bath and a book when given the chance!

Where did you meet your husband?

Ha! Funny story, actually. On a random weeknight June 2011, I went to Papa’s Pizza in Fort Smith for a slice and a brew after work. My friend was bartending that night. I saw Chase from across the restaurant looking my way and flashing a smile.

This went on for awhile, so I decided to shoot him a wave and a smile back. To my surprise and embarrassment, he wasn’t looking or smiling at me at all—he was watching Cardinal’s baseball highlights on ESPN on the TV above my head. Later I confronted him about it and the rest is history.

Was it love at first sight?

There was definitely chemistry!

One word to sum me up … Passionate