Offbeat Home & Life: new family, new header, new Tugboat (…wait, what?)

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The sad news for today is that Offbeat Families will be ceasing publication, but the silver lining is that Offbeat Home & Life will be producing weekly-ish family-related guestposts, probably stuff like this, or this, or even this… although as always it’s up to you guys, since it’s based on YOUR submissions.

There’s always been some editorial cross-over between Families and Home & Life, and we’ve always struggled with stuff like where should we post the kid rooms? What about the amazing Radiohead birthday parties? And what about those posts about adult family relationship dynamics like dealing estranged parents or adult siblings? Seriously, sometimes we forget which site posted which articles! In many ways, rolling Families into Offbeat Home & Life makes things much easier… although we respect that we may lose some Offbeat Families readers in the shift. We’ll miss you. Thanks for a wonderful four years together.

Notice anything new up there in the header?

Painting by Ursula X. Young
Painting by Ursula X. Young
Nine months ago, we changed our name to Offbeat Home & Life. While we added “& Life” to our logo, we never changed the header graphics, which meant that even though we shifted to talking about a lot of LIFE stuff, the header still said we were all about housing and decor.

So we secured the rights from Ursula X Young to use one of her other gorgeous paintings in our header, in the hopes of better conveying our focus on not just offbeat homes… but also offbeat OCCUPANTS. Obviously, like Offbeat Bride, there’s no way any one character could ever represent even the tiniest sliver of our readership’s diversity — but we do appreciate that our new Offbeat Home & Life cover girl is blue, green, orange, and purple, hinting at the tip of the offbeat iceberg when it comes to reader identities. If you like our header, we hiiiighly recommend purchasing prints from Ursula. Her work is amazing, and she’s a remarkable woman.

What is Tugboat Yards and why should you care?

tugboat_offer_w320Ok now wait: wtf is this about Tugboats? Well, here’s the deal: after our post about all the ways readers can support the Offbeat Empire, we continued to get feedback from readers that they wished there were other ways to show their support… ways that maybe were a bit easier to understand.

One person was like, “You’re willing to take money from readers to buy whiskey for OTHER PEOPLE, but not for yourselves? That’s weird!” To which Megan responded with, “cheers to that!” and raised her glass full of self-bought whiskey.

We have our reasons for not accepting donations, but ok, fine, yes, we hear you: you want a direct way to support the site. That’s why we’ve decided to team up with a service called Tugboat Yards to make it easy for Offbeat Home & Life readers to support the site. Unlike the Offbeat Bride Tribe, we’ve got no premium features to offer — basically, if you want to get some warm fuzzies, you can do so. If you don’t have the budget (and believe us, WE GET IT), there’s no pressure. We have offerings ranging from a one-time $5 tip to buy an editor a drink, all the way up to a $200/mo patron level where you get to sit in on our editorial advisory board. If this turns into something sustainable, we can look into getting rid of our more invasive advertising, like the floaty mobile banners that everyone hates, and the animated banners at the top of each Offbeat Home & Life page. If you’re curious about Tugboat Yards, clicky zee button:

 Become a supporter

Ok. Holy fuck. That was a lot to take in. Who has questions? Who has feels? Operators are standing by!

Comments on Offbeat Home & Life: new family, new header, new Tugboat (…wait, what?)

  1. So sorry to see the ending of offbeat families (especially as I finally see myself as a parent reader/contributor) but looking forward to seeing the shared content of family life on offbeat home.
    And I’m excited that Stephanie is working together with Megan. Between crap cooking and ugly diy it should be some fun posts!

  2. Wow, that IS a lot to take in! Initially I was very sad about Families’ demise, because I was looking forward to trying to get pregnant in the future and having it all become super relevant to me. But now that I’ve read this, I am totally excited because merging the Families content into Home & Life makes a lot of sense. 🙂

    • Also I did notice the new header (before reading this) and was confused for a moment – had I always just missed the pretty blue lady? Had I been blind? Was I going crazy? But now it’s all explained, yay! 🙂

      • Yeah, given all the stuff our developer had to deal with today with Families’ shut down, I gave her the go-ahead to switch up the Home header a couple days early. I was waiting to see if anyone said anything! 😛

    • That was my immediate reaction: makes total sense to me!!!

      Also – it would be great to have more “family” (really, really broadly defined) or relationship profiles that don’t necessarily involve a wedding or marriage!

      • Agreed- I didn’t read Families because I don’t have or want children, but occasionally I’d miss a really good post over there that actually would’ve been relevant to me- glad to see they’ll all be here now 🙂

  3. Wait a second! I was totally SAD that Families was shutting down but when I came to the site, the article directly below this was “Budget Hacks for when you are broke as a joke” and now I am totally psyched that OFFBEAT is going to be directing me in ALL aspects of my life (not just parenting!) – FIST PUMP!

  4. Oh man. Feels. I’m a little sad about Offbeat Families, even though I totally understand why it had to be let go. I was a Tribesmaid and dreamed about maybe someday sharing my birth story on Offbeat Families or something else badass. Then again, I haven’t even submitted the profile of our Batman/Blues Brothers Fiesta wedding a year later (get it together, Kathleen), so I was probably just kidding myself.

    Anywho, I’m excited to see those family related concepts come into Offbeat Home & Life.

    Come payday, I’m totally buying an Offbeat Editor a drink.

  5. as someone w/ out kids, I sometimes notice offbeat family posts on my tumblr dashboard, and I think “wow, Harry Potter conventions!” (for example), and then I am slightly disappointed when I find out the “Harry Potter conventions” post is in families and not h&l. So, yay, I can’t wait to read more about Harry Potter conventions and the like, whether children are involved or not!

    • Yeah, there were always some interesting issues with Offbeat Families inclusiveness, even after we moved away from the Offbeat Mama name… here’s to it all being here on Offbeat Home & Life!

  6. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords!


    I’m actually kind of excited about this change. I always felt a little weird reading and commenting on Offbeat Families posts, being unmarried and childfree (yes, yes, you did a very good job being inclusive of all kinds of families, but I wanted to read it ALL and didn’t want to justify to other people why I was reading posts about childbirth and breastfeeding (for the record, it’s because all that shit is really really interesting even if it might never apply to me)). Now I can get all the non-wedding content in one place! Yay!

    • Ah, also a little sad to be losing some of the more intensely parenting-focused content. But also excited again for more Stephanie here! Stephanie + Megan 4eva!

      …yeah, roller coaster of emotions for everyone.

    • Yeah, I sometimes felt weird about reading Families not having kids myself yet (undecided). But the “how families work” posts apply to everyone. And the book round ups are great for people who need gifts for kids. And I know I lot of people feel differently, but I will not miss the birth stories. ( The ones I read were great submissions, just not my cup of tea.)

      • Totally understand on the birth stories! Some of them left me really squirmy, but I guess I’m glad I have the knowledge anyway, if that makes sense? I’m leaning towards no kids myself, but if I ever did it’s been really interesting to hear about all the home births, since I don’t think I’d ever go that route.

        Actually, my favorite posts were the ones about dealing with family drama, especially among adults. They’ve started bleeding over to Offbeat Home anyway, so I’m glad they’ll all be brought here!

  7. I read both blogs, but as a woman who’s currently pregnant with her first (and OMG anxious!), I’m incredibly sad to hear this, especially an end to birthy/breastfeeding type content. Families really was one of the only sane places on the internet regarding such subjects, and has been keeping me grounded. Bummer! I’m glad there will still be some families content here though. Besides Stephanie’s posts, will the focus of the blog expand to include more kid relationships and parenting type content submissions?

    • Besides Stephanie’s posts, will the focus of the blog expand to include more kid relationships and parenting type content submissions?

      To clarify, the Families posts on Offbeat Home will ALL still be reader submissions, same as they were on Offbeat Families. 🙂 Stephanie produces the posts, but she won’t be writing most of them. (I’ll edit this post to clarify that!)

    • I’m also sad to hear there might be less of or maybe no more of my favorite types of posts. Even as a part of a childless couple, I find birthing stories endlessly fascinating. You might want to check out or its facebook page. They constantly post birth stories. It’s for sure not the same as Offbeat Families (I can’t recall any same-sex couple stories, for example 🙁 Also, they use acronyms!), but overall they do attempt to be open to many types of experiences and discussions.

    • This is me almost exactly. I’m pregnant with my first and have been lurking and reading on offbeatmama and then offbeatfamilies every since I made it through “The Wedding” unscathed (and surprisingly, compared to my non-internet friends, unstressed). I love kids, I’ve always wanted to have kids, and I’m super excited (and let’s face it NERVOUS) about birth, breastfeeding, sleeping, diaper blow-outs, sharing responsibilities fairly with the partner, and all that fun jazz. So I am very sad about losing my very favorite blog on the web. I have been reading offbeathome simultaneously, for over a year and will continue to do so. For me today, this feels like a loss of content, although I absolutely understand that businesses need to be profitable and I respect Ariel’s choices to make her business run. *HUGS* to the offbeat homies.

  8. I do have a content question though. How do you all envision the weekly families post playing out. I saw on the offbeat families post that the more family specific topics (birth stories and extended breast feeding being the ones used in the post) probably won’t get features but the more ‘life’ posts (bed room decor, birthday party decorations and family dynamic posts mentioned above) will.

    I’m not asking to complain, just wondering as a long time (border line compulsive) reader of offbeat families.

    • Totally awesome question! The posts will vary — sometimes they’ll be fun stuff like parties, sometimes they’ll be a little deeper. For example, one of the upcoming posts is by a father who is reflecting back on his own childhood now that he’s a parent. I think we’re all going to be learning what does and doesn’t work a lot this month, and we’ll definitely be welcoming feedback on the process.

      It was important to make sure it’s clear that we probably won’t be running some of the stuff that Families readers are used to, but I also want to make sure it’s clear that it’s not going to ONLY be parties and bedrooms.

      I actually had a conversation with Megan about maybe running this breastfeeding post on Home and framing it as an open discussion about breastfeeding in public — how different people feel/react. I decided to close Families with that post instead, but Megan was open to the topic (it was her idea to frame it that way), so we’ll all be working it out to see what flies and feels right.

      tl;dr: we’re all learning, and we’re going to see how it goes. Ariel might jump in with a more clear answer, but for now that’s what I’ve got! 🙂

  9. I’m so glad we’re not losing Stephanie!! I was already an Offbeat Home & Life reader, but Offbeat Families was my go-to. I totally understand and can’t wait to see the new posts, but I’m a little taken aback by how sad I am. Like, teared up at the computer sad. And I wasn’t even a big commenter!! There’s something wrong with me.

    Can I request a post on, “How to deal with blog-loss, or Why didn’t I buy more things on Offbeat Mama, I did this to myself and it’s all my fault.”

  10. I’m sad about Families but the sadness is small compared to the high level of trust I have in the decisions of Ariel and the editorial staff of the Empire. Looking forward to seeing what happens with Home and Life!! (And SUPER happy that Stephanie isn’t going away!)

  11. I’m a borderline-compulsive reader of Families, and planning to start the whole having-a-kid journey within a soon-ish timeframe, so I’m super bummed to be losing that site. I’m glad to hear you’ll be incorporating some of the kid/family posts into Home & Life, and I love that site too, but I’m sad we’ll be losing the birth stories and more intensely parenting-focused content. Those were some of my favorite posts to read, and it’s kinda hard to find open-minded, non-insane sites dedicated to families and child-rearing.

    Can we have an online (probably drunk) grieving party or something?

  12. This seems so silly to me, but I’m actually tearing up right now. I’ve published some of my own stories on families, and I love it so very much. Didn’t realized how attached I was! I’ll have to update all my “most used” little quick buttons in Chrome to H&L.

    Miss you guys already. 🙁

  13. Bummer city! Would it be inappropriate to ask where other folks go for judgey-free parenting info? As a relatively new step-parent (no bio kids), OBF was my one resource during this process that I could go to. All the other step blogs were either super negative/judgmental or they were all ending with the blogger’s marriage ending (not super inspiring reading).

    • Not inappropro at all. While I hope Offbeat Families readers will give Offbeat Home & Life a chance, I totally respect readers looking elsewhere.

      That said, it’s pretty slim pickins when it comes to constructive, non-judgey parenting websites…

    • I’ve been reading for a few years. The posts are definitely non-judgy over there, but since it’s mainly about birth and postpartum it’s definitely not the same as Offbeat Families.

    • I would very much like suggestions for this. I do read Offbeat Bride and Offbeat Home & Life every day, but I’m currently trying to conceive and haven’t been able to find a web home for that part of my life.

    • I’m so sad to hear about Offbeat Families, but excited to see more content/activity on Home and Life! I will definitely continue to read H&L every day. I’ve been reading Mommyish in addition to Offbeat Families for a while now, and have found it to be pretty awesome – the tone of the website is a little more cynical, but you see people being honest about parenting/pregnancy and most commenters are down-to-earth folk. In particular, I’ve found their Anonymous Mom feed of reader-submitted posts to have a similar vibe to the strikingly-honest-and-amazing Offbeat Families submissions:

      • oh man thanks for sharing the mommyish Anonymous Mom link. I was out sick from work yesterday and read like all of them. That definitly looks like it might come close to filling the offbeatfamilies hole in my life.

        I like Home & Life for the meatier posts and tend to skim through once a week for the non house porn/ cute stuff posts. Actually I think the posts I liked have always been tagged ‘families’ anyways so I don’t expect to my readership to change much. But a good non-judgy parenting blog or forum is seriously needed on the interwebs now.

  14. Being unmarried and childless (FOR NOW), I was probably a little (okay a lot) more upset about Families closing than I should have been, but I am really happy that everything is staying up and archived and that Stephanie will be bouncing her awesome self over to the others Offbeat Sites as an editor. 🙂 NEW ADVENTURES ARE EXCITING. Also, I love the addition to the header and ways to support the sites and the wonderful people behind them! 🙂

  15. This is interesting to me as someone that was never very interested in Offbeat Families but loves Home and Life. My fiance and I are child-free with no real interest in changing that any time in the near future, so aside from the very few CF posts on Families, I never ventured over there much. I’m curious to see how H&L adapts over the next few months.

    Will there be more content generated per day/week now that H&L will have more Families-related content, or will there just be a shift in the type of content without an increase in amount?

    • This summer, Megan’s been producing an average of 12 Offbeat Home posts a week. With Stephanie pitching in, it should be more like 15 posts/week. So yeah, it’ll be up, but probably not quite to Offbeat Bride levels, which averages 18 posts/week.

    • This is what I’m wondering as well. OBH is my ONLY link in bookmarks (shows how much I love you guys!). From there I just click the buttons/tabs to go where I need to go. I’m kinda obsessive over OBH (and need to contribute more, for real), and I’m hoping for more.

      I guess it’s a circle of life thing though. More content = more submitters = more content = more submitters.

      • Yeah, more content = more submitters is part of the equation, but it’s also more advertising = more content. Blogs aren’t like magazines or alt-weeklies where the length of the publication will literally get longer/shorter based on the number of advertisements being purchased, but more ads DO lead to more content.

        Fingers crossed.

  16. I wish I could have donated to keep Families alive. The most valuable content was the sort of personal stories that won’t appear on Home and Life, and can’t be found anywhere else online. 🙁

    • Over the past four years, I’ve tried all sorts of business models to make Offbeat Mama/Offbeat Families sustainable. I did a donation drive for the site back in 2010, and while it staunched the site’s financial hemorrhaging for a few months, it’s just not a sustainable way to run a business. I wish it could have worked out differently, but ultimately I’m really excited about putting all our efforts into Offbeat Home & Life!

  17. Another really sad reader here. I mean, I totally understand, because as someone who has read every single “Families” post and had a couple of things published, I never once bought anything from the site. But still really really sad to see it go.

    Mommyish isn’t quite the same, but there are a wide variety of opinions over there and the commenters aren’t (usually) batshit.

    And I can say that because of course I’ll keep reading H&L.

    • I enjoy reading Mommyish too! I pop over from time to time through STFU Parents, and then click through to other things that look interesting. The comments are generally supportive, and the ones that aren’t do tend to get downvoted, so if you don’t scroll too far you can avoid most of the crazy. Eve’s articles in particular are my favorites.

  18. I might be the only person who is actually happy about this change..sorry! but I think this will make the articles way more interesting to read. I often missed the point of many Offbeat families posts: to me comments were often along the lines of “yay! I do things this way, too” or “No, I do things differently” which is not exactly compelling unless you are making those choices yourself. Plus, not visually stimulating enough for me. I am not one of those readers who cares about the Empire/wants to support the staff/gets emotionally attached/disables adblock before browsing so for me the only reason to come back is good content and I think this will make the content better and more interesting for a larger group of people. It’s interesting how Offbeat Home was the one which looked like it was dying and it’s now taking central stage. I can only say I am excited.

    • I have mixed emotions about this, of course. I’ve loved OBF content. I’ve been a devoted OBE reader and sponsor for years.

      While OBB constitutes 70% of my business, the three times I was featured on OBM/F, I didn’t get a single lead. It just…didn’t happen.

      You gotta do what you gotta do. I applaud you for making the tough choice.

      For people who miss breastfeeding and birth story posts (I’ll miss the birth stories!) perhaps there could be, like, a special TaTas Week- Breastfeeding, body image, piercing tips, surgery stories- (choices to reduce, augment, reconstruct, for cis and trans women?), health and mammogram info guest written by someone who knows about such things, and cancer activism posts for all things boob-related? Or a week of birth stories every year right around Labor Day? That way those two subjects don’t have to go away completely?

      • I really really really love this idea. And it gets me teary-eyed hopeful that there could still be the possibility of having some of the content I’ve loved from OBF at least featured once a year (like Mother’s Day/Father’s, or you say Labor Day, and the tata idea sounds awesome!).

      • Yes, I’d totally be in favour of week specials. it seems sad that the breastfeeding / birth story content that so much of us love will just die completely, and having a week would mean that the Homies wouldn’t get it al the time. Seems like a good compromise to me (and something to look forward to!). Isn’t birth story week something that used to happen on OBF?

  19. Although unmarried (for the next 8 months!) and childless, I loved Offbeat Families (except for the birthing stories, lol, which, call me immature, still weirded me out no matter how tame!). I’m really sorry to see it go!! I hope I’m just as interested in the new OHL (I honestly never really read OHL yet… will have to start trying!)

    Onwards… ! 🙂

  20. I’m a bit sad about this – ‘annoyed’ isn’t the right word, because I’m not MAD at you guys or anything – but I’m just not interested in the birth stories, pregnancy, little kid stuff AT ALL, I just like looking at the home & life content. I really hope there is still a good balance of posts that are relevant to me rather than just mommy stuff, although I have my faith in the empire staff.

    EDIT: Okay I just read all the other comments – basically ignore everything I said. I see there won’t be an influx of birth stories etc. Now I’m excited!

  21. I love both Offbeat Home (& Life!) and Offbeat Families, and I’ve suspected for a while that one was going to be shut down, so this is sort of bittersweet for me – to that end, I will celebrate more family-and-life content on Offbeat Home & Life!

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