We’re Hannah and Kelty — twins, mothers and works-in-progress. Through our podcast, speaking engagements and The RESIST Approach, we help parents like you align their daily discipline practices with their greatest values for a happier home and a brighter future.
Our weekly podcast conversations seek to unite a band of conscious humans who bravely share their struggles, creatively pursue their dreams and passionately elevate the dialogue around what they believe and why. Tune in every Monday as we chat with artists, activists, musicians, poets, authors, nutritionists, and designers about LIFE… especially the challenges that have spurred us all to grow.
Some are parents, some are child-free, others are on the fence. All show up to share their wisdom and tools for living with greater awareness and alignment as human beings. It’s all connected, baby.
The hard stuff is the good stuff! The children in our lives don’t bring out the worst in us; they challenge us to become our best. These episodes are a twin-talkin’ examination of ways we can better align our ideals with our daily parenting practices via the Resist Approach. Join us to stay sane as we raise the next generation of ass-kicking, compassionate innovators that our world so dearly needs.
Every other Monday we roll through a common parenting challenge or ideal, raising awareness and building skills around the only thing we should control — our own thoughts, beliefs and behavior.
We live on an organic farm just outside Portland, Oregon with our partners and kids, ages 2, 3, 4 and 5. The early days in parenting were TOUGH- we worked our assess off to keep our little humans alive and our heads above water, sorely lacking a community of like-minded parents to buoy our skills and spirits. We found ourselves desperate to investigate and hash out THE HARD STUFF in hopes of mining some meaning amidst the madness. Though we hadn’t quite realized it, Upbringing had been born!
Reaching out via the interwebs to connect and kvetch with other tortured moms helped us a great deal that first year, but looking back it was the books that saved our asses for reals. The more we studied up during nursing breaks and nap times, the more we questioned and got clear on what truly felt best for our families. We began to feel more optimistic and empowered as we engaged with our babes and identified as parents.
We weren’t just raising kids- we were growing up right alongside them! Research-based, respectful parenting approaches like RIE, Positive Discipline and Simplicity Parenting taught us some snazzy new skills and mindsets, subverting the conventional wisdom that so easily undermined us and our kids. Like, what conventional wisdom, you might be wondering?
Here’s an example. Why did we seem to think that it was our J.O.B. to entertain our babies? To teach or encourage them to walk? To (even lovingly) talk down to them? To manage their emotions? To micromanage their eating? The more we geeked out about developmental readiness, the glorious spectrum of temperaments, emotional regulation and attachment theory, the less (dare we call it patriarchal?) control we felt necessary to exert on our kids.
Suffice it to say, we felt crazy-liberated by this growing perspective and diminishing to-do list, and made it a practice to note our gratitude and shout our wokeness from the rooftops as we supported friends going through similar challenges.
As jazzed n’ proud as we felt about all this work we’d undertaken as parents of babies, we soon found that respectfully parenting TODDLERS (one of the leading causes of insanity) was an unholy new ballgame. Our respectful parenting mojo was profoundly put the test when our kids (four under four, god help us) grew old enough to say just one magical word: “NO”.
Where we once held all the influence, all the physical power and all of our marbles, the tables began to turn as our inspiring / infuriating offspring began to resist us ALL.THE.TIME. Early on in our parenting, the never-ending whining, defiance, frustration, tears and anger routinely brought us to our knees. In moments of conflict, we found ourselves responding in one of two ways. (see graphic)
Neither parenting “strategy” was, er, ideal. Worse yet, any kind of power struggle always seemed to end in a lose-lose. The drama of daily discipline slowly-but-surely morphed us from zen goddesses into raging dictators, pitting us against the kids we loved so dearly. Unsure of how else we could maintain order, preserve our sanity and raise responsible adults with passable hygiene, we finally broke down and began to explore the struggles we faced when it came to discipline. Eventually, we got humble and subsequently hip to the primary cause of the head-exploding, Jekyll & Hyde madness that lead us to behave as immaturely as the kids we were raising…
We came to realize that mainstream culture (aka a bunch of old white dudes’ ideas that we’ve grown up to believe are our own) was at it again... We had been duped— conditioned through our own upbringings, communities and pop culture to believe that kids’ resistance is downright BAD— counter-productive, manipulative antics that need to be controlled (sound eerily familiar, herstorians?). This cultural conditioning collided face-first with the conventional discipline approaches it promotes in response to kids behavior. As socially-conscious and compassionate people, responses like time-outs, ultimatums, hands-on-hips, angry-face, etc. felt TOTALLY WRONG to us. Like, twisted, barbed-knots-in-our-souls-kinda-wrong. All we wanted was some respectful dialogue, damnit. Some lovin’ connection, for all that is holy. Some peace, harmony and blessed quiet in our homes, for crying out loud!
We began to fear that the stress and cognitive dissonance of modern motherhood could lead us to strangle our husbands or drink wine for breakfast… so WE RESISTED. We put on our big-girl pants, hit the books all over again and got fired up in search for a win-win, middle way to this whole raising-an-empowered-human thing. In the process, we realized we already had the answer.
Over time, our obsessive child development research, in-depth parent coach trainings and beloved feminist lit kept curiously leading us back to that single, magical word we mentioned earlier: RESISTANCE (“no” in toddler speak). Culturally, we celebrate resistance as the glorious spark working to dismantle hateful systems like racism, heterosexism, classism and ableism. Resistance courageously challenges power & privilege — and has always begun with one honest soul bravely announcing, “UM, HELL NO.”
The more we explored these concepts, the more we recognized an unconscious hypocrisy at play between our parenting and our values. Like upstanding citizens and “good feminists”, we rallied at local protests, fought for women’s rights and united to challenge the crazy-ass leadership of our country. As women, we RESISTED. But as mothers, we came home and told our kids, “Don’t resist ME.” Shit.
The goal became alignment over obedience.
So maybe we had a little work to do in the whole walkin’-the-walk department when it came to aligning what we did as parents with what we valued as people. Granted, toting our kids to rallies, avoiding the pink aisle and cuddling up with gender neutral fairy tales was totally legit and pat-ourselves-on-the-back-worthy parenting stuff! Discipline, though, was where we began to realize the real work awaited.
With time, we began to personally accept and publicly acknowledge that the hardest, most cringe-worthy moments with our kids were actually sweet (okok, bittersweet) opportunities to nurture some kick-ass skills and values like consent, non-violent communication, emotional intelligence, body positivity and beyond.
Side note: as we came to terms with all this, we felt compelled to check our privilege and remind one another that A. None of these concepts and tools is taught in Parent School, that B. Parent School has yet to be created, and C. We should therefore give ourselves some divine F-ing grace to move forward on this parenting journey with trust + empowerment rather than fear + judgement. Just sayin’.
Back to our point: which is that we all have dreams for our families and for our world, right? Beyond a fulfilling life and a new president, our hopes often circle around raising a much-needed generation of thought-leaders, innovators and free-thinkin’ peacemakers. Badass rule-breakers who will live large and love themselves unconditionally, applying their wit and wisdom to make some beautiful (and oh-so-necessary) change. But how?
Where our #1 question had originally been “How the hell can we get our kids to STOP resisting us?”, the question soon became: “How can we ACCEPT our kids’ resistance— not just as a human right but as a symbol of their authentic self?” This notion required that we surrender our previous, totally understandable goal of THEIR obedience and focus instead on OUR alignment. What the hell did we have to lose?
Not gonna lie, this was a big ask for us at first. It felt downright backward (or what some may call woowoo or permissive) to welcome our kids’ gnarly feelings, ridiculous personal preferences and incessant demands. Yet with time, we began to see that the idea behind accepting their feelings, honoring their bodies and respecting their will wasn’t total baloney. And it didn’t lead to absolute chaos, major resentment on our part or the entitled brats we’d feared. It surprisingly lead to the opposite. Less drama. More connection. Major learnin’ and high fives for us and our kids were just some of the unthinkably awesome effects of this new mindset and approach.
We shared this and more on the Upbringing podcast, which launched in January of ‘19. The positive daily feedback we experienced, combined with the support of evidence-based research, allowed us to radically redefine moments of resistance with our kids as essential opportunities for growth, connection and positive change. The RESIST approach to discipline began to take shape!
A little explanation on that. Where conventional parenting practices aim to shape a kid’s “BEST SELF” according to mainstream societal norms, we pieced together a progressive approach that respects kids’ daily resistance and prioritizes nurturing their TRUE SELF. This allows them, first and foremost, to authentically become aligned and enlightened humans. Which then gives them the ability and wherewithall to kick some serious ass as responsible agents of social change. Where our kids’ resistance began as the obstacle to the dream, it has magically become the way to it.
Nowadays, we work hard to celebrate our mini activists as inspiring humans who vulnerably speak their truths, unapologetically demand respect and relentlessly challenge authority. It hasn’t been easy, but raising humans never was supposed to be. We’re here to empower you to join us in using powers beyond control -- respectful tools that protect our kids’ personal freedoms, support their skill-building and nurture their authentic self. We hold the power and the privilege- it’s high time we use it to revolutionize our parenting and enact some change from the ground up!
Let’s raise & resist!
Integrating our personal values with our parenting practices is not for the faint of heart. Growing up alongside our kids demands we parent beyond instinct and relinquish the day-to-day “wingin’ it” that so often feels a hell of a lot simpler. We believe that beyond making us feel totally awesome and fulfilled as parents, kids should also challenge us to bravely look within, ask the hard questions and connect with like-minded folks thrive, not just survive, this incredible experience.
When it comes down to it, parenting today shouldn’t just be about the kids or even the individual family; we believe it can spark collective liberation. Parenting with awareness and alignment can inspire a movement that dismantles an inherited legacy of control— reinforced over centuries to silence fundamental rights like self-expression and self-determination. Though that statement may sound totally cray, we are totally serious.
When you think about it, supporting our kids’ resistance doesn’t just build their growing brains and hearts. Upbringing also grants us permission to resist something even greater: a historical paradigm of control that disempowers the kids we hope to raise and disconnects us from the people we aspire to be. We like to think that when we choose trust over fear, connection over control and progress over perfection, we ALL resist — raising our kids and ourselves in the process. Let’s show up and grow up!
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THE RESIST APPROACH
Explore six simple steps to embrace when in a disagreement or conflict with your kids (or others)!
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