We hear a lot about the “value” of stay-at-home parents in the media. Economists have long tried to calculate the value of what it means to have one domestic engineer in the family acting as chef, chauffeur, personal assistant, cleaner, etc.
Personally, I think the value of a parent staying at home is priceless. To have one parent be ready at a moment’s notice to handle field trips, sick days, and pick up all the reams of slack that can fall around a family is invaluable. My wife and I both work. We scramble to get things done and often crunch the numbers to find out if it would be possible for one of us to give up a career for the kids. Our math doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for many people.
One blogger is trying to make the math work for his family by reaching out to the internet with a Go Fund Me project asking for $50,000 to be a SAHD for a year.
Since starting Fodder 4 Fathers in December of 2010, my goal has been to show the world that dads are not the bubbling buffoons we are made out to be in the media. I cook, I clean, I fold laundry and I am an equal partner when it comes to raising two amazing kids. But it has always been my dream to show what this involved dad is really made of.
I’d like to leave the corporate world behind for a year to take on the role of stay-at-home parent with my kids and prove once and for all that anything moms can do DADS can do equally — one year to chronicle my life doing the hardest, most rewarding job in the world and doing it well. But I’m just not in a position to do this financially, so I could really use your support.
Help me reach my goal and follow me as I prove to myself and society at large that one dad can change the world and prevailing perceptions. Fund me so we can once and for all end this ridiculous idea that dads can’t survive in a “mom’s” world…and watch the fun as I take on my the responsiblity of managing my househould and two small children.
Reaction in the blogging community was instant, and mixed. The majority felt Adam’s request diminished the value of stay at home parents, pointing many “do it for free.” Jim Higley of Bobblehead Dad didn’t have a problem with Dolgin stepping out and trying to crowd fund a project, but did take exception with this specific idea.
“A small, small percentage of North America’s population is either a SAHM or a SAHD. To suggest that one needs to step out of corporate life and be a SAHD is to prove they are equally capable of parenting is nuts,” he wrote. “From my vantage point, there are millions of men who are ‘changing the world and prevailing perceptions’ every day. Some of them are SAHD. Most are not.”
While Nick Downey of Dad With A Blog, countered that “at its core is the problem all stay-at-home parents face: how can I afford not to work? My wife works out of necessity. The few thousand dollars she brings in allow us to pay our bills on time. I don’t know that I would fund it, but if he can make it work, I applaud the commitment.”
Dolgin defended his request by saying it is not to measure the value of stay at home parenting:
“I saw it as what’s a dad blogger worth. I didn’t want people to fund me to stay home, I wanted to see if people would pay for me to put my life on display. As dad bloggers we do it for free everyday. I just wanted to see if it was worth a dollar to people to be, in essence, a reality show for them. If I wasn’t going to post about it, yeah, it would be a handout. But, if I put myself and my kids on greater display for other’s entertainment, what would that be worth? Which is basically what I was trying to get at. Call it a good social media experiment. And it started a great debate!”
I’m a fence sitter on this one. Yes, I run ads on my dad blog, but I “do it for free,” really. For many millions of bloggers, the act of writing about our lives is a way to document our family, an outlet for our ideas, a hobby, or a way to get a little bit of fun money. We all wish we could be bigger, but it doesn’t happen for many (almost all) of us.
I can’t decide if Dolgin is offside for asking for the funds, or if is he just thinking about blogging “outside the box” like many before him. The early days of the blogging web saw Save Karyn hang out an online tip jar to pay off her $20,000 credit card debt. Countless bloggers have openly asked for money to pay for a variety of things in their lives from attending conferences, to adoptions, to funerals, to medical expenses, to finding a home for their children.
The tip jar at a coffee shop often says something like “College Fund” on it — is this so much different?
Is Adam’s request out of bounds? Would you give money to a project like this to fund a SAHD or SAHM?
Image via Go Fund Me