Brandie Weikle is redefining the family relationship
Her 1,000 families project shows non-traditional families living their everyday lives
There is more than one way to define a family.
One woman is trying to find 1,000 different families in an effort to redesign the definition.
Brandie Weikle was married with two children.
When she and her husband divorced, he moved next door.
"It isn't an arrangement for everyone," said Weikle.
She and her ex-husband wanted to make sure their children's lives didn't change drastically.
So they figured out how to make it work without the stress of living far away from each other.
"It's a lot of work packing them up … making sure every library book, permission form and baseball glove, and everything is accounted for," she said.
"The notion of him being a few blocks away was distressing to us."
That experience inspired her to start the 1,000 Families project.
Her website, thenewfamily.com, allows a glimpse into the lives of families who are breaking the stereotypical definition.
"I was very aware that the default voice in much of parenting media is headed by that one mom, dad, couple of kids, maybe a golden retriever. If your family doesn't look like that it can feel a little excluding."
So far, the website has shared 151 first person stories.
"We are promoting tolerance and we are celebrating that you get to choose who is in your family, and that is validating for the readers," said Weikle.
She has shared the stories of a transgender dad who nurses his baby and toddler, and a profile on a family that includes the couple's best friend, who uses a wheelchair and plays the role of uncle to their three-year-old.
"What really is more important than our family is who you have … the people you call family, whether they are related to you or not," she said. "Seeing those validated and accepted is so valuable for those individuals."
Weikle will be starting a podcast that will add voices to the project, interviewing the most compelling stories from the website.