I couldn’t be more thrilled to share some thoughts from two wonderfully kind, thoughtful, bright, and funny sisters who, quite frankly, seem to have life figured out. (But not in an annoying way!) Hannah and Kelty of UpBringing, a podcast and video series that seeks to empower parents, were kind enough to join us as this month’s feature in our Friend of ARQ series. Scroll through for the heartfelt interview and some images straight out of a literal pastoral landscape. We know you’ll love this one as much as we do!
Tell us a little bit about Upbringing!
We are twins, mothers and works-in-progress. Upbringing represents our journey to learn more about ourselves as we grow up alongside the kids we’re raising! Our aim is not just to reconcile but celebrate the ways our kids drive us freaking crazy. As counter-intuitive as that might sound, we really believe that the most challenging moments as parents are actually golden opportunities -- building blocks for skill-building, family-bonding and self-understanding. We’re finding that when we can engage with and get comfortable in the most UNcomfortable moments of parenting, we ALL grow. Beyond that, we’re able to consciously rewrite an inherited legacy of beliefs we’ve been unconsciously given about who a parent and a child can be, how each of us can learn and what a family and a community can look like. We’re here to empower like-minded parents to rise up and find their own authentic, intentional way through these early years with their kids.
Can you give us some insight into the RIE philosophy?
RIE stands for “Resources for Infant Educarers”- an approach and philosophy begun over 60 years ago by trailblazing Hungarians Magda Gerber and Dr. Emmi Pikler. RIE looks and means something different to every person, but generally speaking, it’s a respectful (and now evidence-based) way of caring for babies, children and even teens that acknowledges their inherent humanity, individuality and capability- an approach that controls less and trusts more. One of the first resources we stumbled upon as new mothers, RIE helped us get clear and pare down to the essentials: what’s our job, what’s our kids’ job? How can we nurture our connection and honor our kid’s spirit while ALSO fostering resilience, inner-directedness and critical life skills? RIE was the first blog/book we read that focused more on US than on our kids as the key to thriving this whole parenting gig, and it opened up a new world of resources that have changed our lives. All this sounds kinda fluffy and woo-woo, but RIE isn’t a dogma or a cult- it’s a way of moving through the world with awareness, empathy, curiosity and focus that can cultivate the very same attributes in our kids.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out Janet Lansbury’s blog for a brief overview of RIE:
We love your willingness to talk frankly about the hard stuff, and that when you do, you seem to be able to laugh at our (collective) imperfections without losing the earnestness we need to continue growing and improving as parents, families, community members etc. “Show up and Grow Up!” Can you tell us a bit about the reception you’ve had and the community that is building around it?
Talking about “parenting” is crazy-complicated, not to mention sensitive and, at times, even divisive. We wonder, though, how the hell we can all feel better about our parenting beliefs and practices if we don’t talk about them! Upbringing is on a mission to do just that- to normalize the negative so we can more easily lean into scary things like discipline, big feelings, resistance, fear, shame, etc. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from listeners that reinforces the idea that when the hard stuff feels more approachable and valuable, we can pay attention long enough to elevate our game and grow up alongside our kids. What has really resonated for us as mothers is hearing others speak vulnerably and humorously about their struggles and how they’re growing through them. We want to do the same as we explore our triggers and learn about our kids’ development, hoping to rewrite the limiting beliefs we’ve grown up with in our family and culture. Parenting, we’re starting to see, is a balancing act between laughing/letting go and grunting/leaning in. This gray area is where we’re interested in spending time -- it’s where some big growth has happened for us, at least! The community we’re finding is also less interested in quick fixes for behavioral challenges and more interested in deeper, long-term growth in how we feel and show up in the world as parents. The more we explore the research, look within and lean on one another, the higher we go and the better we and our kids feel.
I am really in love with your dynamic as working mothers of young children and sisters who live right near each other. Tell us about your routines!
Somehow we ended up on a working farm together, sending the kids across the fields from house to house, sharing playtime and meals before separating everyone when the shit hits the fan or when we crave time back in our smaller families with our partners. The kids (2, 3, 4 & 5) go to Montessori four days a week for six hours which has allowed us to start Upbringing this year! Our new “work day” usually consists of coffee/tea after drop off, a long nature walk / brainstorm of upcoming episodes, workshops, writing, etc. followed by laptop time at a bookstore or coffee shop before we pick up the kids. We record our podcast episodes in a small shed on the farm once a week or on random evenings when the kids are down. It honestly felt AMAZING to forgo the typical routine to wander the fields with the lambs in our skivvies- we lost track of time and reconnected to a childlike sense of ourselves! Thank you for the opportunity to feel so comfortable in our bodies, so inspired by our surroundings and so connected to our spirits.