Offbeat Mama is becoming Offbeat Families

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 (although all the old 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:

  1. Offbeat Mama was named to match Offbeat Bride
  2. Offbeat Bride's brand was based on my book
  3. 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:

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 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.