First of all, let me clear. This is not a post about parish team ministries, and neither am I about to launch invective at anyone specific.
My little target of choice today is the way that the world is appearing to airbrush dads out of the picture.
In Britain, we are country who normally enjoy a good degree of geographical prowess, yet you will oft be assaulted by the fragrant Stacey Solomon on your evening telly informing you 'That's Why Mum's Shop at Iceland'.
If you manage to find a shop closer than Iceland, you may find reading material in there (I use the term 'reading' in the very loosest of senses), and one such edition met my gaze as I sat and watched my kids play. In it was some outrage about a tanning salon for kids as young as a year old, and people issuing the entirely appropriate outrage were ... yes, you guessed it ... mums.
I read somewhere else about a Battle Royal between Mumsnet (an internet site 'for parents by parents', though this is lost in the name, I think) and its Chinese counterpart in, well, China. The latter extolled the virtues of hard parenting framing the needs for setting boundaries and seeking excellence. The Mumsnet brand of parenting is, apparently, parent-centric and, it is claimed, extol the virtues of placing the needs of the kids after that of the ragged tired parents. I cannot verify the claim of the article that I had read; I simply place its comments here.
In the end, my point is not about where to buy food, whether it is correct to spray-tan a toddler, or indeed the right way to raise a child. My point is that a significant cross-section of parenting society seems ill-placed to have a view these days ....
I couldn't tell you where dads shop (well, I can, because they are all in the same supermarket as me when I shop). Dads are simply relegated to being among topics of discussion. I think that this is all a little imbalanced. Let me be absolutely clear at this point - mums are (typically) wonderful, and perhaps the most important person in our lives before our own kids come along. But dads have a value too. It is funny, in a week when a leader of hundreds of millions of people expresses a view, he is shot down in flames. When a parents of one or two people presume to write a book telling the masses how to raise their children, it gets awards.
I have nothing against Mumsnet or Iceland, or anyone else. Perhaps it is the fault of fathers that we have become under-represented (save for fancy-dress mongers on motorway bridges). We have lost our voice, we seem to not have a case anymore. I would love to see a greater balance. It seems that, once again, the gentleman have opted to passive silence. Why this is I don't know - but our kids needs both of us, ideally.
I don't shop at Iceland because of that advert, by the way.