Family life

GoFundMe Dad speaks out

Jennifer Pinarski catches up with Adam Dolgin, the dad behind a controversial plan for becoming a stay-at-home parent.

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Photo: iStockphoto

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children.

You know the children’s game Broken Telephone? The one where one person starts a simple story and, by the time it travels through a chain of other people, the story is so convoluted it no longer resembles the original? You might have started out by saying you liked tacos for supper and next thing you know there’s rumours about you wearing a turtle for a hat and you’re scratching your head because you can’t figure out why your story got so mixed up.

That’s kind of how Adam Dolgin feels. I recently wrote about Dolgin and his social experiment to raise money to blog about being a stay-at-home dad. The media spin quickly caught him off guard.

Here, Dolgin shares his side of the story.

As someone who is not afraid to post controversial topics, I know how easily things can be taken out of content.

The facts? The Gofundme experiment was posted to the Fodder4 Fathers Facebook page on February 27, 2014. It was simply a blogger asking his fans (those who know him quite well) a question: If I were to become a stay-at-home dad and chronicle it (key concept here), would that be worth a dollar? It’s pretty simple really. Some took offence. Others joked with me about it, and it was forgotten about pretty quickly.

Read more: Stay-at-home moms vs. dads: There’s a difference! >

Well, except for the fact that I had pinned it to the top of my page.

I wasn’t asking to be paid a “salary.” I wasn’t asking to be paid to stay home and raise my own kids. I wasn’t even asking “strangers” for money. I was asking my current fans if it was worth one dollar to each of them to watch me try something new. Did I think my fans would go for it? No. Who would pay for something they already get for free? I just thought it was an interesting idea and I ran with it, on my own page, with those who actually know what I am all about (which is involved fatherhood and parental equality). I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I didn’t mean to insinuate that dads are better than moms, or deserving of more attention. I certainly didn’t mean to hurt those who are stay-at-home dads or moms and take away from the great sacrifices they make. I didn’t mean for it to leave the confines of my little page on Facebook.

But, it did. And the media got hold of it. And it become a game of Broken Telephone.

Yes, if you go by the title and the message on the Gofundme page it can certainly be taken out of context. But if you were present on my page the day it was posted and were involved in the conversation you know the true story. There was no campaigning beyond the post, and the Gofundme page would have been taken down had it not been for Babble needing it to run their story. Now, I don’t know if it would have been better received if I had said I needed funding to write a book on it, or if it would have been better received it a mom wrote it? The fact is, people got the wrong impression of what it was really about. It was not a question for the masses. Again, it was just a dad blogger asking his fans a question. It was not about a dad asking the Internet to pay him to be a stay-at-home dad. It was not about asking anyone to pay him to be a stay-at-home dad. It was a blogger starting a discussion about what people would be willing to pay—call it a membership fee.

I know that’s not as newsworthy as a dad “begging” people to pay him to be a SAHD, but it’s the truth. But, this certainly started an interesting conversation, and I shouldn’t be upset about the free publicity. I hope people will visit our site and truly see what we are all about, and see beyond how we were portrayed in the media.

At the end of the day, I’m just a dad blogger who enjoys talking about involved fatherhood and parental equality (i.e. dads doing their fair share, too). I work very hard at sending out a positive message about dads and expect nothing for “free.” I hope people will see that and give me the benefit of the doubt. But, I don’t hold out much hope for that. Everything in the media is always right, right?