Neve and Keane, co-founders of We The Parents
Neve and Keane are the self-proclaimed "nerds" behind WeTheParents. This unique resource provides evidence based information by the couple who are obsessed with researching the good, bad and ugly of parenting. By adding personal stories and humor to honest experiences- Neve and Keane have successfully created a community that can easily relate. We hope you enjoy this heartwarming interview as much as we do!
Neve and Keane, why quit teaching and project management to start a parenting website?
Okay, so that’s not strictly true. Not unless having less money was the goal.
But here’s the thing:
We now have more control over our time, our location, and, well, our lives. It’s a blessing and we’re grateful every day. Additionally, we get to spend our time doing what we love, getting nerdy researching and writing about parenting issues that we have unusually strong opinions about.
So this is how we got here...
Originally a professional oboist, I wanted to teach kids music. What followed was a rude awakening that lasted seven years! While I loved working with children, and I loved the music, I discovered that systemic forces were constantly trying to squeeze music and arts out in favor of Maths and English. Class budgets were being cut, class times were getting slashed, and then there was the ever-growing admin burden that I took home with me. To cut a long story short - it began to suck. It became clear to me that I wanted to take more control of my time and the way I worked. Keane came to a similar place in his career.
In short: time for a change.
We both wanted to get away from the big smoke and had a vision of building our own home in the country. But what the hell would we do for work in the middle of the sticks?
That’s when providence moved and this crazy thing happened…
Keane was sitting in a coffee bar writing up a report. There’s this guy at the table next to him also working away on his laptop. They get talking and hit it off straight away. It turns out that this guy is an incredibly successful online entrepreneur. He showed Keane exactly what he was doing and kindly agreed to offer some mentorship.
A week later, we’d handed in our resignations and were preparing to move to the country. WeTheParents took off soon after. Now, why a parenting blog, you may ask? Who needs another one of those? To put it simply, if you are interested in well-researched, evidence-based parenting advice when actually there aren’t too many places you can go to. This is an area of passion for both of us and so it naturally became the theme of our first website.
Your mission is to save other parents time and confusion in order to spend more time with their kids, because “time is precious”. However, did you find that starting this business has done the opposite for you two? If so, how do you overcome it?
It’s exactly because time is precious that we made the leap into running an online business in the first place. Having an online business has several important benefits:
We’re not tied to location which allowed us to up-sticks and move to the country where living costs are less.
It also means we can work from home, or rather a separate office space in the garden. This means that our daily commute is literally five seconds! So we were saving time any money straight away.
Then there is the flexibility. We work hard and we put in the hours, but we can choose when we work. We can also be fluid in the way we delegate tasks between ourselves. All combined, we see more of each other and the kids than ever before.
What about working together? Can you share some of the difficulties that have tested your relationship and your best practice to rise above? What about all of the positives that come along with it?
I’m sorry to report that we actually get along really well - so no juicy stories here!
I think we’ve been lucky in that the division of labor split naturally along lines of strengths. This prevented us from going at loggerheads. Keane loves all the techy side of websites, analytics, and data-driven strategy, whereas I love research, writing, and marketing. Then we come together pretty seamlessly with top-level strategy. Also, we’re never actually working at the same time. One of us looks after children while the other works.
Positive aspects of running the business together are that we can always share our work anxieties and triumphs. This helps our relationship as we’ve got a pretty clear idea of what is going on for each other, this is especially helpful in times of stress.
Something to watch for, though, is to not bring work-talk back into family life. We’ve had to ban ourselves from ‘talking shop’ at the family dinner table. No child deserves an in-depth, jargon-filled post-mortem of their parent's working day.
Through all of your research, from Doulas and breastfeeding to art education and internet safety, what are some of the findings that have really stuck with you that you’d like to share with our community?
Okay, so firstly a cautionary note…
Now we are content creators who deep-dive into the science behind topics, we’ve come to see how science gets abused on the internet. The truth is that the largest proportion of the internet is driven by profit. This means that, if it will get traffic, then people will say almost anything and take any stance on a topic. They will also cherry-pick or misrepresent the science to back up their position.
Nowadays, all of us and our children live more and more of our lives online, it is crucial that we as parents become are much savvier at identifying real evidence-based facts and claims, and filter out the BS. We need to strengthen our critical filters, becoming much stricter at disregarding the noise of conflicting opinions and hearsay. It is also crucial that we teach our kids about this. We must become highly sophisticated diners at the smorgasbord of digital information.
Don’t accept “facts” until you have fact-checked, and don’t accept that, “the science says so,” until you actually check the scientific source directly. It takes a little practice, but it’s much less intimidating than it sounds.
And now to something more positive…
There are beacons of hope within each niche. These are truthful content creators with integrity. They are few and far between but seek them out and when you find them, follow them and support them. Not everyone online is putting money before morals and integrity. And finally, a few specific nuggets that struck us during our own research (only don’t accept our word for this, do your own research!):
Doulas significantly improve birthing outcomes, and not just for middle-class crunchy moms! Multiple studies even in poor, public run hospitals have shown that when women are supported by doulas, their birthing experience tends to be better, they cope better and feel less pain, and there are fewer complications
Breastfeeding inequality is a big issue. For example, in the poor state of Louisiana (US) only 56% of mothers ever breastfeed, but in the relatively wealthy state of California, 93% do. Also, 38% of mothers living below the poverty threshold breastfeed at 6-months, while 68% of mothers in top-earning families do. Crazy, right!? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Arts education rocks! It has a ton of benefits for children, socially, emotionally and cognitively. So be happy that your kid likes the arts and don’t buy it if you’re told they need to drop it for more Maths and English. Balance is best.
Internet and kids… Do your research. There is a ton for you to know about and you really shouldn’t bury your head in the sand! Get savvy because savvy parents are empowered parents who can best support and safeguard their kids. We did a whole 101 guide to internet safety, start there. You’ll need 30-mins but the time investment will be worth it.
What can we expect next from We The Parents?
We’re going to continue to expand and do more science-based reviews of super important parenting topics. There will also be some exciting marketing campaign coming up which means you should all see us around a lot more.
Ooh, also, we are going to be focusing on fun a lot more! We’re getting into family games and children’s play in a big way. Expect GoPros strapped to kids so we can get a first-person view of the mayhem that happens when a bunch of six-year-olds hit the park together!
What about you, Neve and Keane, and your family? What can we expect next on a personal level from you?
Baby number three... Aaaargh!! I mean… we can’t wait… *nervous laugh*
Interviewed by Emily 👋