Out of the equation
Sara Sadik is founder of Finding The Magic in Mommyhood and has a 22-month old girl with a baby due in August. She believes in silver lining situations and talks about the complex mother-daughter relationship
So much of what we learn in school is never put to use. I really have no idea why learning how to drop an egg from the top of a staircase is part of every elementary school’s curriculum. There are, however, a few things I wish I’d listened more diligently to. Particularly from that one psychology class I took.
Sure, I learned about positive reinforcement, aversion therapy and Pavlov’s dogs – all of which actually proved to be invaluable on the dating scene and later in parenting. Then there was this one lesson in Greek mythology thgat struck a chord as I was playing with my daughter (read: she was pulling my hair as I attempted to check Instagram). The Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Jung, is “a girl’s psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father.”
So that’s basically the core of any mother daughter relation? That’s really an Oprah show on its own. The name derives from the Greek myth of Electra, who wanted to avenge her father’s death by killing her mother, who was responsible for the murder. How very Hollywood melodramatic soap opera. And they wonder why girls are so much more complex than boys?
So, here’s my confession: I have daughter who I’m a tad competitive with. No, not in walking or talking or things I clearly excel at after 33 years of practice, but with my husband’s attention. Here’s how I’m handling it so far:
- Pretend you don’t notice. Ignore that she keeps reaching out for daddy and swatting your arms away when you reach out to her. Fight your way into the hug. Sure, this has resulted in some aggressive behavior from her side, but your scratches and bruises will soon heal.
- Confuse her. Respond to her calling out for “daddy.” I would go so far as to wear his shirt, tie and a spritz of his cologne. Letting you upper lip hair grow out and cancelling those threading appointments may be taking it a bit too far.
- Realize this too shall pass. Keep murmuring, “it’s just a phase, it’s just a phase” to yourself. This has proven efficient when curled up into the foetal position in the back of the room. Rocking is optional.
So, after sobbing and Googling and endlessly calling my Mum only to realise this was “normal,” I decided to focus on the benefits. I can get a manicure (and have my nails fully dry), have my hair fully done and spend the day at the spa before she realizes I’m gone. My husband can barely leave the room to go shower without her bawling hysterically. Perhaps Electra wasn’t so complex after all.