16/06/2015 06:20 BST | Updated 15/06/2016 06:59 BST

Presents or Presence - What Should a Modern Dad Provide?

If mum can earn more, it makes sense for her to go out to work. And if dad wants to stay home and bring up the children, then that's a big move forward for both men and women. While some social commentators are uncomfortable with this, it's simply equality in action.

If you run a company, you pick the best man - or woman - for the job. And if you run a household, why should it be any different?

The news this week that nine in 10 families think the traditional role of dads is disappearing has caused some controversy. But take a step back and you'll see it why it may actually be the best thing for modern kids.

If mum can earn more, it makes sense for her to go out to work. And if dad wants to stay home and bring up the children, then that's a big move forward for both men and women. While some social commentators are uncomfortable with this, it's simply equality in action.

Tying people down to traditional gender roles is old fashion and outdated. Instead, happy families should be about bringing out the individual's talents and letting each member's skills shine through. As parents we want our children to flourish and find their own way in the world - and what could be better than leading by example?

Women are constantly being told they can achieve more in the world of work, so why should men be denied the same in the domestic arena? One in ten dads now stays home to care for children, so it's not just a trend but is rapidly becoming the new normal.

And with women now the main earners in a third of households, dads no longer need feel under pressure to bring home big bucks. In fact, being the breadwinner is now seen as just the eighth most important role for dads by both men and women. And doing DIY has fallen behind the cooking, cleaning and laundry for men.

But this doesn't mean dad's role has become redundant - far from it. In many ways, as dads become more involved in the family, a father's presence is becoming ever-more important.

Overwhelmingly our Netmums study found mums and dads agree a modern father's most important job is being a good role model - and this is something you can't always achieve if you are out at work for 15 hours a day.

Instead, with mums and dads sharing the responsibility for the family finances, they can also share the responsibility for the family fun like playing games and attending school events, and the not so fun like potty training and nursing sick kids.

Predictably, there have been the usual squeals, with one commentator even claiming working 60 hours a week so he can buy his children Lego makes him a good dad. But children want your presence, not your presents.

And it's also an age-gap issue. While older fathers in their 40s and 50s seem to struggle more with their manliness, younger dads in their 20s and early 30s - who've grown up with women earning well - instinctively understand that good parenting is about sharing.

To be part of your children's memories, you have to be in their lives today - and modern men have the chance to be involved in their families like never before. Having a positive male role model around benefits both boys and girls, teaching a boy how to be a good man and a girl what to expect from one.

Families with an involved father are happiest and mums are actively seeking out a partner who can contribute to every part of childrearing. Just 1.5% of modern mums say they care if their partner is rich or successful - ten times fewer than the number of dads who think it's important.

So instead of telling men to 'man up', perhaps we should be asking them to 'man down' and get in touch with their softer side? In a world where these sweeping social changes are happening fast, it would be great to make Father's Day every day - not just once a year.

Read more about the Netmums study here