A father from South Africa has opened up on his Facebook page about his experience with jealousy as a parent. Terence Mentor, from Cape Town, had two sons with his wife – 3-year-old, Liam and 2-year-old Eli.
Alongside a picture he uploaded of himself with Eli on Facebook, he also wrote an honest post to go with it, a message he hoped to help other fathers.
Explaining that his youngest son, Eli, is “totally his mother’s child,” he then went on to express, “I honestly found their immediate and intense connection beautiful, but even more honestly… it made me jealous,” he wrote.
“It is quite a thing to be a dad who can’t comfort his child, who is constantly told ‘No, I go to Mommy,’ who never seems to have a real, relational moment with his own son.”
He added, “I know, I know. It’s silly and childish, but the jealousy was real and disheartening.”
However, with time, Eli started to show more of a connection with his father by warming up to him one night. This moment came when Eli left his usual choice of sleeping on his mother’s chest, to go and cuddle with his father instead.
“This child, who would cry when I so much as looked his way, came to me for his comfort and calm. Not going to lie…I got a little teary eyed,” Mentor wrote.
“Is there a lesson here? Yeah ― being a dad is hard, but every bit of emotional and physically [sic] energy that you use can be repaid to you in an instant,” he added. “So maybe you are a parent going through what I have been going through. Keep going. Keep pushing. It will be worth it.”
Mentor explained that he expressed his honest feelings about the struggles he faced in connecting with his son on his Facebook post, to encourage other dads in the same situation, and let them know it is OK and to keep trying.
He also expressed, “I think it was an eye opener for a lot of moms, actually. Being the only parent your child trusts is tough, but not being able to comfort your child or connect with him over a long period is also distressing.”
Understanding that being a parent can be challenging at times, highlighted his reasoning behind his post.
“I really hope that my post will encourage dads to talk more, and internalize less,” he said. “We seem to be very good at that, but if we want our children to be emotionally healthy adults, we need to start talking!”