I looked up the word 'feckless' in the dictionary this morning because, according to those helpful people at Netmums, us dads are too often unfairly labelled as such. Think peanut-brained Homer Simpson, any hopeless lead character in a soap opera and, my favourite, the wonderfully bemused and put-upon dad in Outnumbered.
Given that couples who share childcare more equally are actually more likely to have happier relationships and are more likely to stay together. We need a broader manifesto about what it ought to mean to be a dad in 21st Century Britain. This would complement - not contradict - the father's rights movement's aims.
As an equal parent in and out of working hours for over five years now, I've realised there's no fairytale quite so engaging, but quite so without actual substance, as the modern fatherhood myth. There's a convincing but untrue story about a huge army of fathers out there across the UK, all merrily doing their fair share of childcare, or maybe even more than their female partners. Just take a look outside. Where are the groups of dads sitting in coffee shops, or joining sing-along at the local library?
I hear all the time that the woman has chosen to stay at home and look after the children, while the man has chosen to go to work. Given all these overt and subtle pressures, I wonder whether these are really free choices at all. The only solution is for men to actively take up the mantle of childcare, right from the very earliest days of our children's life.
As we all inevitably leave our twenties and begrudgingly begin the slow pitiful march towards responsibility and self-loathing, it's important to ask the question - what next? For some it's fulfilling careers and the exciting discovery of our greatly unrecognised adult self, and for some it's children.
One of the best ways to foster creativity in children is to read to them or, better yet, to make up stories with them, and fathers in particular have an important role to play in this: it's long been recognised that the more a dad reads to his children, the greater their verbal intelligence, academic success and emotional wellbeing.
With childcare costs continuing to rise more quickly than wages, parents are having an increasingly difficult time balancing household budgets. The OECD has highlighted that British parents pay some of the highest childcare costs in the world; parents are spending huge proportions of their salaries on childcare costs.
Being a parent is hard. In fact, let's just be honest about it, it's really hard sometimes. We often don't admit it, except to our closest friends and family, but it's probably the most challenging part of our lives. A recent survey by the NSPCC reported that in the first eight weeks after birth around three in five mothers felt isolated with no one to turn to, and two in five mothers even admitted to 'getting angry' with their baby. And this is before they've even started walking and talking!