Parenthood, Community, and an Invitation

For a little over a month, now, Todd and I have shared with our little corner of the world a random menagerie of writings related to parenting, family, and running a household.   When two fairly private, pretty introverted people find their public voice, life gets more exciting.  And better.

Many of you have sent positive and constructive feedback our way.  We really appreciate that.  It has helped us make decisions about the things we plan to share here and the direction we hope go.

Today, I am going to write a few thoughts about the blog and where we want to take it.  Then I will ask a couple of favors from you, our readers.  Hang in there with me until the end today, will you?  We feel pretty strongly about this, and we hope you will too.

We started Team Made Family because raising our family, and doing it well, is one of our greatest priorities.  We love our kids and we want what is best for them.  We’re pretty certain that is a nearly universal philosophy for moms and dads around the globe.  Just about every parent in the world wants their kids to grow up happy, healthy, safe, and secure.  It does not matter what the family looks like, where they live, or how they were formed, the adults want things to go well for the kids.  It was true for our parents.  It is true for us.  It is probably true for you.

There are many, many places out there where we can find advice on how to do a better job raising children.  Television, magazines, social media, and Google are awash with information about making kids smarter, healthier, and cuter.

And dare I say it?  Perfect.

When I look at Facebook or Pinterest, read an article in a magazine, or follow a how-to blog I often get some really great advice.  Many of us do, right?  But in addition to finding helpful pointers on how to do things better or differently, I often find myself staring at something on a computer screen that makes me feel extremely inadequate.  I do some things really well.  I also do a lot of things poorly, and I habitually compare my own shortcomings with the seemingly perfect parenting of friends, family, and total strangers.

I mop my floor almost every day.  It looks nice.  My windows, though?  They’re downright gross.  It’s embarrassing.  I bake a lot of homemade bread, and it tastes pretty good, but I feel guilty because it’s full of sugar, refined grains, and too many carbs.  I love my kids dearly, and I have sacrificed a lot of myself for their benefit.  I yell at them when I get upset, though.  And my husband?  I love him so much, but all too often, when he comes looking for a hug, I don’t reciprocate the way I should because my mind is going 100 miles an hour and I’m not feeling emotionally present.

That’s real life for me.  And I’m guessing that pretty much all of you also have real life stories of your own.

So here is the Team Made Family soapbox: the world does not need more perfect children with perfect parents living in the most perfect little houses.

Our very real world needs very real families.  Real families that do not all look or behave alike.  People that comfortably own their talents and failures.  Families that eat organically and families who dine at McDonald’s.  Moms who define themselves as parents without having to also apologize to strangers about whether they stay at home, work outside the home, or work at home.  Dads who change diapers, cancel big meetings to pick up sick children from school, and play Candyland.  Kids who do well academically and are easy to raise, and kids who struggle with mental health issues and just can’t seem to catch a break.

Team Made Family was created because the world is filled with imperfect parents raising imperfect kids.  Todd and I need a place to come together, in the community called parenthood, with other moms and dads who have everything or absolutely nothing in common with us.  Not to complain and whine (there are plenty of places where that already occurs).  Not to make anyone feel badly about themselves because of choices they make in regards to food, vaccinations, schooling, family size, credit cards, child care, toys, electronics, or activities.  And definitely not to push our personal agenda and opinions on others.

Instead, we hope to become better parents to our three daughters by gleaning insider information from the industry’s foremost experts–other parents.  We seek to learn from readers and our own hard-fought experiences so we can provide real families with meaningful encouragement and advice while applauding their efforts to work together and thrive in today’s real world.

Here’s how we plan to do it:

  • Consistent, quality blog posts on meaningful family & parenting topics,
  • Interactions with readers through comments, email, & social media (if you contact us, we’ll respond!),
  • References and links to other useful resources and sites,
  • Helpful extras (ebooks, printable items, etc.).

But here’s the thing: the bigger our community is, the more meaningful it will be and the more folks we get to encourage.

And we cannot grow the community on our own.  We really need the help of all of you, our readers, to make that happen.  Will you please help us out?

If you need and want to be a part of a community that supports and encourages other parents without instilling feelings of guilt and inadequacy, will you please subscribe to our site?  The subscribe box is on the right-hand side of our page.  Will you also share with anyone and everyone you can think of that might also want to join in?  And finally, will you contact us with ideas, suggestions, and feedback?  What would really encourage you today?

We are excited to create a place with friends, both new and old, where raising a family can be seen as exciting, rewarding, and fun.  Thanks for being a part of the Team Made Family!