Offbeat Mama is becoming Offbeat Families #Announcements#branding#illustrations#offbeat families November 19 | Ariel Meadow Stallings offbeatariel Header illustrations by Ellen Forney, with Blondie's transition managed by Brett Wiseman. This weekend we're flipping the switch: Offbeat Mama will become Offbeat Families. The title of the site will change, the URL will be switch to offbeatfamilies.com (although all the old offbeatmama.com links will still work), and one of the header characters has undergone a transition from "blonde soccer mom" to "blonde soccer butch/stay-at-home-dad/transdad/fey uncle/gender-queer auntie/tomboy daycare provider/whatever ze wants to be." (Oh hey, and as long as we're talking about the header illustrations, did you know that the artist who drew them, Ellen Forney, has an amazing new book that just came out? Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir just hit the NYTimes bestseller list! Yay, Ellen!) This re-brand has been under consideration for a long-ass time, and we're super excited about what it means for the site… More inclusive This has always been an issue. Here's how the naming of Offbeat Mama came to be: Offbeat Mama was named to match Offbeat Bride Offbeat Bride's brand was based on my book My book was published by a women's press… so of course the title is targeted to brides. So yeah, I originally named Offbeat Mama to be parallel with the Offbeat Bride brand: Offbeat [Female Identity]. It made sense, back in 2009. Ultimately, however, the name has never been inclusive… especially as the site's mission grew to include all of those who are interesting in children and families, whether they be parents (of any gender), child-free family friends, or daycare providers. As our mission statement says: When Geeky Met Dapper: the first ever Offbeat Bride fanfic When we got a probably-joking comment about shipping fanfic written about Offbeat Bride's header illustrations, you KNOW we were all over that shit. Behold now,... [more] We like supporting and inspiring parents and caregivers who are moving beyond mainstream visions of parenting. We welcome anyone who's interested in families, whether you're pre-parental, in the process of becoming a parent, or choosing to live childfree. Offbeat Families feels like it finally aligns our name with that mission. Less mommy-bloggy When that "Beautiful" post went viral last week, we got emails from a few people who were confused and thought that Offbeat Mama was one woman's personal blog. This confusion makes sense, since there are a ton of personal mommy blogs out there with names like The Redneck Mommy, Punditmom, Scary Mommy, Design Mom, etc x a bajillion. By reframing the site's name around families, it makes it immediately clear to new readers that this is not a personal blog, but rather a publication catered to nontraditional families. The downside: non-parallel branding Ok, this probably only matters to me. See, Offbeat Bride is a singular identity. "I am an Offbeat Bride." Offbeat Home and Offbeat Empire are both singular objects. "I have an Offbeat Home. I love the Offbeat Empire." And then there's Offbeat Families, which is a plural object. "I am Offbeat Families." Nope, doesn't work. "I have Offbeat Families." STILL DOES NOT WORK. It would have been awesome if I'd been able to get Offbeat Family (singular object), but someone's already using that for their personal blog… so oh well. Plural object it is! Ultimately, inclusivity is the top priority with this rebrand, and so I'm willing to introduce a little wobble into the offbeat brand in the name of ensuring that more of the site's readers feel welcome and acknowledged. Hoorah! We'll be flipping all the switches this weekend while most of y'all are still recovering from your tryptophan hangovers, so hopefully you won't even notice. The RSS feed will stay the same, and the old offbeatmama.com URL will still work, so readers shouldn't have to change anything. That said, there may be some lingering weirdness early next week — we'll keep you posted! UPDATE NOV. 24, 2012: The transition is now complete. If you have any technical issues, please report them here. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Meadow Stallings Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. @offbeatariel @offbeatbride PREVIOUS Best comments of the week: poop, pee, and identities vs. labels NEXT GRATITUDE: why we're thankful for YOU today Toggle comments [ 45 ] Comment navigation Newer Comments → Yay! I like this a lot. As someone several years away from having children, I always felt a bit odd sending Offbeat Mama links to my boyfriend… ("I swear, this is not a hint!") What happened to the Offbeat Kin idea that was suggested at the beginning, Ariel? That's singular. 12 agree Offbeat Kin was one of dozens of suggestions over the years, but it never felt like a fit. 0 agree I remember having the conversation with you about Offbeat Mama vs Offbeat Family or Offbeat Parent way back in the day before OBM launched. Im stoked you decided to embrace the change because now I feel I can forward the articles to my non Mama parents! 4 agree It's funny that just the other day I was thinking, "Offbeat Mama . . . but what about Offbeat Papa? Or Auntie? Or . . ." I think Offbeat Families sounds just fine; it sounds more like a community, I think. And I can still say, "I have an Offbeat Family, and here are some other Offbeat Families. Aren't we cool." :-3 24 agree "I was an Offbeat Bride. I have an Offbeat Home. I love the Offbeat Empire. I read Offbeat Families." BLAMMO. 33 agree This news has made me so very happy! 4 agree How exciting! I love this change! 4 agree As someone who never totally identified as a Mom, Mama, or Mother, but still felt like a Parent and a person who created a family, I wholeheartedly endorse this change. Even though the symmetry gets thrown off a tiny bit, I think it's totally worth it! 9 agree I will pipe up to say I love Offbeat Families, and it feels much warmier and fuzzier to me than Offbeat Family. 'Families' suggests a community of like-souled and different-minded people who come together in overlapping circles of support, discovery and sharing. 'Family' is lonely. I'm glad your hand was forced 45 agree I was an OB, I have an OH, and I'm a conglomeration of many OFs. News of the switch makes me very happy to hear! Especially since I'm constantly sending links to my husband (who will be a stay-at-home dad). Just seems more inclusive! 4 agree SO Happy about this!!! ROCK ON! 1 agrees I like Offbeat Families. Sounds like a community – supportive, advising, helping, inspiring, working together. Offbeat Family sounds like a small group against the world. Families is much more inclusive – we are all Offbeat Families 10 agree Awesome! My husband and I were discussing this the other day, when I suggested he write a guest post about something or other. He didn't feel like he should because of the name. Guess that excuse is gone now! 2 agree What I appreciated about Offbeat Mama, especially toward the beginning of the site, was how the name highlighted what many of us are attempting in terms of identity integration – how do I integrate being offbeat with becoming a parent? More and more, for me, the answer to that question is not an individual person's answer. It's an answer that includes the many families that I belong to, support, and am supported by. The longer I'm a mama the more my parental identity is a family identity – in part because of the ways in which my family is offbeat. So I love this shift. A good, brave choice from good brave people. 5 agree Is it strange that it took me a minute to realize why the change was even needed? It was kinda like when you stare at a word so long that it looks like its spelled wrong; I've thought of Offbeat Mama as all-encompassing for so long now that I quit noticing the "Mama" part a while back. So reading today's post I was like, "Why would they…Oh. OHHHH…of course." That might say more about my doofus nature than I intend, but what I mean is, YAY! Now new people will know what we've known all along!! 5 agree Yeah, that's how I've always felt about it too — Offbeat Papas are right there in the nav bar of the site, and I hope the content speaks for itself… but it also makes sense to get the title better aligned with the content. That said, the switch does include a significant amount of work behind the scenes (DNS redirects, search engine settings so we don't lose our pagerank, server set-ups, header redesign, lots of text changes, tons of administrative shifts in our content management tool, etc etc etc), so it wasn't a change I took lightly… 0 agree Thank you!! Being a queer dad in a culture that only recognizes moms is so frustrating. Even though Offbeat Mama has always felt inclusive in practice, the exclusive name often has made me feel slightly uncomfortable commenting or otherwise participating. I belong to so many online "mama/mothering" groups simply because there's no alternative. I must admit that it's hard to not internalize the message that sends. Thank you for creating a space that doesn't just have an asterisk after "mama" with fine print that says "dads and other caregivers welcome, too". I hope that other sites will follow the lead! 28 agree Ariel, if it makes you feel better, as a daughter of divorced parents, whose father embraces more of a created family than his family of adoption, not knowing his family of origin, and with multiple step-parent/commited spousal families – I have Offbeat Families! Totally works for me! 7 agree I. AM. SO. EXCITED. FOR. THIS. 2 agree Count me among those who are crazy happy about the change. 4 agree Not quite as catch as "Offbeat Mama", but "Offbeat Families" is a more accurate description of the site and seems more inviting to non-mamas and that is worth a little loss in catchiness. Good job. 2 agree I think this is fabulous! As a childless (right now) offbeat Auntie, the name change is much appreciated. Not that I didn't avidly follow Offbeat Mama before, but I always felt a little weird when I would tell someone I found a really great article on a site that sounds like it caters only to moms. I get a lot of weird looks… 7 agree I am SUPER excited about this change! As a transgender dad pregnant with our first child, the name offbeat mama didn't stop me from reading this awesome site/blog, but I do feel more included now! Thanks 8 agree I totally concur, especially as the queer-identified, non-gestational mama of the aforementioned child-to-be! 4 agree this is AWESOME. 0 agree Yay! I love this! My husband always gave me odd looks when I told him about cool articles I read on Offbeat Mama, and I always ended up trying to clarify that I was NOT actually trying to convince him to procreate RIGHT THIS SECOND. Love "Offbeat Families." 4 agree I also think this is great. "Family" is one of my favourite word ever, so this is a great change. And also, as a foreigner (french) point of view, mama isn't really a word you like to refer as for yourself. I think that families also opens up to an international (not english speaking countries) audience. 0 agree Hooray!!! I love posting OBM stories on our org's facebook site, but since we're all about families, it always felt a little disingenuous. No longer!! 0 agree will i need to update my rss reader? 1 agrees Nope. 0 agree sweeeet 0 agree Comment navigation Newer Comments → Comments are closed.