What the heck is this site about? Founded by Ariel Meadow Stallings, the author who brought you Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides and offbeatbride.com, Offbeat Families seeks to celebrate and empower families as they navigate the realities of parenting. Formerly known as Offbeat Mama, we believe in 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. We believe that while children change your life forever, being around children doesn't necessitate abandoning your identity. Offbeat Families continues the driving theme of Offbeat Bride: encouraging women to integrate their identities into situations that tell them they should drop it all and follow the template. We believe each parent has the right to make their own educated decisions about what works for them and their family. Our only shoulds are loving your children and caring for them with educated intent. Offbeat Families doesn't subscribe to any particular parenting philosophy or dogma, as we believe that every family and situation is unique, and what works for one Offbeat Families in one situation may not work for another. While we address parenting hot-topics, we do so in the context of lighthearted and proactive inspiration — never condemnation. As part of the Offbeat Empire family of sites, we're committed to furthering the company's cause of constructive, civil online communities and conversation. In September 2013, Offbeat Families stopped publishing new posts, but our archive of 2000 existing posts will stay online forever! You can follow Offbeat Families on Facebook to get a steady stream of our most popular archived posts, and you can still find NEW family-related posts on our sister site, Offbeat Home & Life. Our values We believe that… Families come in many forms other than the heterosexual nuclear family model, and we support parenting of all sorts, including biological, adoptive, step, and foster. Becoming a parent doesn't mean completely abandoning your pre-kid lifestyle and aesthetics. Every parent has the right to choose what's best for themselves and their child, within reason of responsibility and not causing harm to others. It's critically important for mothers to maintain an element of autonomy and identity separate from their partners and children. We believe you can love being a mother and still take time for yourself and your other interests. Every parent, every kid, and every situation is different. We do not believe in dogmatic parenting philosophies or judging those who make different decisions. As long as you're making well educated, truly conscious decisions, there are very few wrong choices. Being proactive is more powerful than being reactive. We are not parenting rebels — we chose what we feel is best for ourselves and our children. Subcultures and nontraditional families are awesome, although we provide support unconditionally across the full range of the normative/non-normative spectrum. Offbeat shouldn't be confused with laissez faire or anarchistic. We're not here to argue and we don't waste our time debating over the parenting roads we choose not to travel. Women's online communities have been taken over by acronyms that can be alienating and confusing. Rather than use shorthand to describe our ideas (EC, CD, BF, WTF?) we chose real language so that all readers can understand us. Non-binary parenting philosophies are our favorites. We don't believe that any idea needs to be all or nothing, and binary philosophies only manage to scare away curious folks who might benefit from dabbling.