9 Reasons It’s Completely Okay (And Normal) For A Strong Woman To Need A Man

One of my biggest pet peeves as a single mom is when people tell me how strong I am; that I’m so strong, I don’t need a man. When manual labors present themselves, random friends from the “friend choir” will say, “You can do it yourself! I do it myself. I don’t need a man.”

Don’t get me wrong. I can do plenty myself. I’m very independent and I run a household alone and have for almost four years. I consider myself a feminist too, but since when was needing someone so terrible?

Okay, so “needing” someone in a needy, clingy way is a turn-off. Codependency is a turn-off. Needing someone in your life to partner with you is not. It’s really more about wanting a strong partner.

Why does being a feminist or a strong woman have to translate as not needing a man (or woman, depending on your preference)? There are many reasons why strong women need men and why it’s normal. She should never have to apologize for it. Here’s why.

1. Teamwork makes the dream work.

A strong woman has a great foundation in which a partnership can build something even more fabulous. There’s nothing wrong with going solo, but wanting a partner to carry out big dreams and ideas is great.

Sorry haters, but it takes two to row a boat. There’s no shame of wanting someone on board the ship.

Read More: 9 Reasons It’s Completely Okay (And Normal) For A Strong Woman To Need A Man

The Power of Two,

Laura

Why Having a Bossy Girl is a Good Thing

We all know that it’s annoying when someone constantly bosses us around. We also all know that sometimes girls can be bossy. This is discussed, hashed out and paraded around like all the other stereotypes about girls and hey, it’s a pretty true stereotype.

But it’s also an unfair stereotype.

We love to drag girls through the mud for being bossy and b*tchy at a young age, but we find it heroic, amazing, sexy, and “part of the job” when a man or boy is bossy.

He’s being a leader.

Our girls are being bossy little tyrants.

Enough already.

As a grown woman with a bit of bossiness to her, I am the mom of a girl who is also bossy. Sometimes, it’s absolutely annoying. Through action, example, and discussion, my daughter and I go over the importance of leading and taking turns. Giving other people a chance to take charge and why we should try playing other people’s games, etc. She sees my happy and strong friendships and I try to model by example as best I can.

 

Read More: Why Having a Bossy Girl is a Good Thing

Praise our Strong Girls,

Laura

What It’s Like to Be an Evil Jewish Divorcee

When I started writing about my divorce, I did not realize how heated readers would be over my essays and I am writing about a pretty amicable divorce. I actually have to hold back from hugging my ex-husband sometimes. Sure, we fight, but I care about the guy and I’m a squishy and sweet person. Call me naïve (that goes back to my squishiness) and perhaps this is due to me being raised by married parents, but the amount of hate, bitterness and ugliness that comes out of total strangers after reading a one-thousand word essay from me on divorce was shocking.

Read more: What It’s Like to Be an Evil Jewish Divorcee

Has No Time For Ignorance Or Women Haters,

Laura

My Daughter’s Love For Princesses Is Battling My Inner Feminist

It’s hard for me as a mom getting a divorce and learning to fend for herself financially and otherwise to hear my daughter say as she plays, “The prince has to save me!” I have to bite my feminist tongue from saying, “You can save yourself, woman,” and OK, let’s be real here: it does come out sometimes. She looks at me like I’m crazy and just watched Cinderella in Japanese, not English.

Read “My Daughter’s Love For Princesses Is Battling My Inner Feminist

Wonder Woman Is Way Cooler Anyway,

Laura

You Can’t Have it All: Why Women Feel Like They’re Failing

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When I was growing up, I heard that women could have it all.

We could have careers, raise children, and make a good living, maybe even better than the men in our lives.

Damn, it sounded peachy. It sounded easy.

I always imagined myself working and as a success.

I never pictured myself as a timid wallflower, and so far that has been more than true, but for the first time in my life I am realizing that the old 70’s-80’s feminism lied to me.

I can’t have it all.

And while many of you probably feel like you’re a success and probably are, I happen to think that a bunch of you probably feel like you are failing to some degree or another, in managing that career and kids our generation said we’d have no problem managing.

I commute a long distance from my job. I’m working on changing that, but I end up clocking in a 64 hour work week.

I love my job, but I never see my kid.

I don’t mean that my time with her is cut down. I mean I don’t know what she will be eating for lunch most of the time.

I mean I am gone so much that I never eat a single meal with her all week, until Saturday.

I mean, I don’t drop her off at her grandparents or school. Or pick her up.

I mean, I get to put her to bed 3 weeknights a week, sometimes 4.

I make use of the time I have with her on the weekend, and the few nights a week I get to bathe her and put her to bed, but do I have it all?

Hell no.

This is not the image of a balanced life I was sold as a kid.

I feel like I am not a mother, but merely a walk-on who gets to play mother on the weekends.

And of course, when I have to leave early because my kid is sick or I take off to attend a school function, I shove in my work within a short time frame, and leave early, watching others working hard, feeling guilty that I am not clocking in the exact same hours that they are.

Do I have it all?

No.

I can’t have it all. I can’t always be at the office, and I can’t always be home.

I work hard and parent well, but inside I am feeling like a failure.

When I get to work, I am in the zone, enjoying what I do, but when I got a call the other day that my kid was sick and I couldn’t get her until hours later because I live far from my job, the bus schedules blow, and traffic was terrible, I got home feeling like crap.

I couldn’t stay the full day at work. I couldn’t be there for my kid.

How am I doing a good job at all, as a parent, I wonder?

Even if you’re just dropping off and picking up your kid, you’re clocking in parenting time. You’re part of the daily routine.

I went from being in charge of my kid’s day and mostly at home, to becoming a mom-spector. Do I exist? Do I matter anymore?

You’ll tell me I do, but I don’t believe I do.

Am I saying you shouldn’t have a career? Absolutely not.

Go out and get one. Do it! I love what I do…

But find a life balance.

Make sure you’re with someone who sees things as you do, and then both of your prepare a plan for when you have kids how duties will be shared, especially finances. If you can, save ahead of time so you can go down to part-time work, or telecommute if you are able. If you want to work full-time, that’s great, but be sure that your situation will enable you to stay in the picture. Trust me.

My kid is 2.5. Her moments mean more than a paycheck.

We can’t have it all. We cannot be perfect. We will have to leave early. We will have to miss out on moments with our kids that will hurt. We will feel hopeless at times, and even feel as if we are doing nothing right.

But most importantly, at least we know the truth: we cannot have it all, but we can have what we need, and that’s what matters. Figuring out what you need will make you a happy working mom.

My identity through the eyes of men: Female Otherness

As a woman who grew up in a predominately female household, I didn’t learn that we were inferior or incapable of doing things that society indicated was otherwise.

But as I left my home and became integrated into society–school,  work, college, etc, I learned differently.

To admit this is maybe weak but, for a long majority of my life I have defined myself by Men. By their standards, judgments, and beliefs about me. Or about my otherness in relation to them. My wanting access to the circle that only men belong to. Forget about the glass ceiling. I didn’t want to be the most successful female. I wanted to be the most successful person, period. I wanted the men to lay in their tears while I threw tissues to them on the ground, walking away in triumph.

One thing I have hated since I was as  young as seven years old, was the feeling that the male circle was impenetrable. I hated when boys gathered to talk and gossip or dominated classroom conversations. I wasn’t considering that these little men might just want to be around other little men, but that because I was female I couldn’t join in. It didn’t matter that I was smarter than most of them or as equal to them, or that the same jokes they liked, I did too. I just had to merely squeak by the circle, and lean in to hear what these XY’s were saying.

Then I got older, and then the circle got even tighter. When I was younger, an occasional boy would let me in, and even let me play sports with the kids on the block. As I got older though, the message was clear: If you don’t have a cock,  keep out. Having good looks occasionally meant entering into the circle, but usually then for other reasons such as, one man or a few men’s sexual needs. Maybe one or two might have found me clever and smart. Most were not considering me beyond what my appearance had to offer.

I imagine my experience is no different than many other women, however the thoughts, rejections, and acceptances from men really whittled me down. For the majority of my  early twenties, I found male attention and approval intoxicating on the level of addicting, and their rejection, painful and harsh.

When I entered stand-up, I found men to be either wonderful and helpful, or absolute toxic creatures who liked to shut me out of conversations with not just looks, but with words. Telling me I wasn’t smart  and wasn’t funny. These were the same men of course, who wanted to sleep with me.

Let’s not let the cute one succeed. Instead, let’s take her for all of her good parts, and throw the rest of her to the wolves.

The one moment of fresh air came when I entered college. While my former educational experiences taught me that the boys are more cherished and nurtured intellectually, college was a bit more fair and egalitarian. I felt like my intellect and potential mattered.

There have been many times in my life pre-30’s in which I let men decide where I would be allowed to go both personally, and professionally. I cowed to their toxic comments. I backed away at times when I wanted to be treated as an intellectual and artistic equal, yet I always had a bit of a fight in me, like a scrappy dog who refuses to get beaten down by a shinier, larger full-breed.  The same girl who wanted to beat every boy competitively, not physically, in elementary school has always been alive and well.

After spending a long time–years–working on my memoir, I realize that claiming my identity and refusing to let it be defined by anyone, especially men was my big hurdle to cross.

After six years departing from comedy, I went back last night. I went back because I will not let men tell me what I can do or who I can be. I am not 25 anymore. I am not someone’s plaything or some stupid blonde.

I am me, and after taking the time to do other important things–reproduce, finish college, get my head together–I decided I wanted to share my story in more than just the printed word again, and I won’t shut up until someone enjoys me. Until someone figures out that my story is much like many other women and people.

And if anyone doesn’t like it, F-off.

I am woman. Hear me roar.

Now? The 30’s have told me

Princess Coma: How to survive as a feminist when your day is dictated by Disney Princesses

My name is Laura and I am a feminist.

That could mean anything.

What it doesn’t mean is that I am a man hater, because I don’t hate men. You people piss me off sometimes, but I love men. Seriously. A member of the I love men club.

Feminism is a broad movement with many little subdivisions.

I happen to be the type of feminist who was raised knowing women can do it all, but I’m not against hiring someone for manual labor, as I couldn’t put my arm back on if it were attached with velcro. If I were good at manual labor, I wouldn’t, but I’m not. I will say that in the past few months I have attempted gardening and landscaping, which hasn’t gotten too awful or too great, so I’m not lazy.

I’m the type of feminist who believes in owning our own sexuality–and not being subjugated by it. I believe that the sex industry perpetuates our dilemmas, but I also believe women have the right to choose their own destiny both sexually and as a person.

I am both Madonna and whore, and yet neither.

However, once I realized I was having a girl, I made sure to tell everyone: don’t indoctrinate my child with Disney princesses.

News Flash: There is no Prince Charming. There is just Prince “okay for you.” He may be Prince Charming for a little while, but no one can stand up to that type of idealization.  There is  also no need to stand like an idiot trapped in a castle, hoping someone will climb up your hair weave, a la Rapunzel, and save your skinny ass. If your stepmother hates you and poisons you with an apple, you will probably end up suffering. The chances of some guy riding up on a horse and saying, “Look at that–some cute chick is in a coma because she was poisoned. I better kiss her and make her better,” is about 0 in five billion.

I didn’t mind my kid reading fairy tales as it’s nice to enjoy the world and be altruistic as little kids often are, but I didn’t want her to get wrapped up in the romantic notion that women need to be saved by a more capable individual, i.e, a man, and that once you meet someone and fall in love, paradise awaits you.

Mother in-laws exist to banish that sort of fable anyway.

I digress.

I always liked the animals in Cinderella, and Snow White, but I was more of a Dorothy, Alice, or Laura Ingalls type of girl. That’s who I imagined I would be until Madonna came around, and then I wanted to prance around in lace outfits and crucifixes (who cares that I was raised Jewish. Have you seen how pretty those prayer beads are? Serious stuff man. I begged my Catholic friend to let me wear her rosaries. She said no. Party Pooper. Would have gone awesome with my denim jumper, huge clip-on hair bow, wigwam socks, and purple mascara.) Of course, let’s not even delve into the fact that Madonna was not exactly the most proper role model for me.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to hump a dog and go on a gondola in Italy with a lion, while I’m half-dressed.

Don’t worry, there were plenty of good influences in my life–I did want to be Pee-Wee Herman for most of my childhood–not that it helped, but damnit, I did not want to indoctrinate my kid into Disney.

Nope. Minnie Mouse? Sure–just don’t make me listen to Mickey for more than five minutes. That creature has the most annoying voice on the planet. Sadly, I do a good Mickey.  Going to Disneyland and seeing some of the classic movies? Sure. I’m not a totally nazi over the topic. I can imitate a Disney character and sing the songs with the best of them, but I just didn’t want my kid to idolize dimwitted princesses who probably were barefoot, pregnant, and living over a stove once the fairy tale lights were out.

Guess what? It doesn’t matter. Everyone else has introduced her to princesses as she’s a girl, so they think she’ll love them, and golly gee, would you know what?

She loves them.

She doesn’t think to herself that Cinderella probably prostituted herself out that night to get in to the upper echelons of society. She just loves the songs, mice, and dress.

And damnit, all day long in my head is the song, ‘We can Do it, We can do it, gonna help our Cinder-elle–ee, there’s really nothing to it. We’ll tie a sash around it. Put some ribbon to it.”

I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with Sleeping Beauty, Tiana, Snow White, Ariel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Belle. I give them their vitamins, brush their teeth, and make sure they’re in the proper spot at meal time (to the left of my daughter’s high chair tray on our dining table.)

They join us in the potty.

They join us in the car.

I even have the dolls with the magic clip-on dresses.

My mom bought her a Cinderella Barbie, which I have yet to give to her.

When any other kid goes near the princesses, fire and brimstone erupt. I swear my child plots the death of these poor kids.

Note, she’s two and doesn’t want to share yet. Totally normal, but not as funny as she wails while trying to holding every damn doll in her hands.

All day long, my mind whirs of “Feed child, walk dog, where’s Cinderella did I lose her again?, wash dishes, write, apply for jobs, wipe kid’s butt, was Sleeping Beauty a narcoleptic or drug addict?, eat a snack, wash my hands, wash her hands, and don’t forget to wash Snow White’s too.”

Our day ends and begins with these little dolls, in which my child reenacts the most intricate and sometimes rather imaginative conversations with these dolls.

The other day, desperate for my kid to chill out, stop chatting, and start eating, I made Cinderella tell her, “Less Talking, More Eating.”

I knew having the ability to switch my voice would work to my advantage one day.

As “Cinderella” disciplined my daughter, she wanted nothing of it.

She turned to the Cinderella doll and said, “No Cinderella. I don’t like you anymore. Go back to your video. I’m not gonna to be your friend.”

Freaking 2 and she’s already pulling that “not gonna be your friend” business.

I told her that wasn’t very nice…and later on I heard her tell Cinderella:

“Let me give you a hug. I’m sorry I made a bad choice. I’m sorry I said I won’t be your friend.”

And then, to prove the apple is part of my tree, she dons a Cinderella voice and says, “I was disappointed in you. You made a bad choice.”

The “two” hug and make up.

When my daughter sees princess bikes, towels, shirts, toys, or dolls, she hovers over these items whether they belong to her or not, and is entranced.

I guess whether I want them or not, I am stuck with these princesses, and hell, I’ve even started to sing her some of the songs from my childhood.

Why not? Hopefully I won’t get my feminist card revoked.

What I really fear, more than being forced to watch Snow White or Cinderella twenty times, is the fear that my daughter will make men count more than herself.

That she will want so badly to matter to the opposite sex, that she will forget who she is. That she might end up bowing down to someone thinking, “he knows better.”

These fears are all from me. She’s only two. She is still smart enough to boss boys around and know that it works.

And being subjugated or bowing down to a man doesn’t just require a female with a bad self-image, but a male with a poor view of himself.

We need to be conscious of how we socialize both young men and young women. The conversation is not one-sided. It’s multifaceted and starts at home, continues at school, plays out in the media, and is then enacted in society.

My role as her mom is to expose her to many different goals, activities, people, and viewpoints, with the reassurance that who she is is wonderful, no matter what, as long as she respects herself and others.

This means that for now, I get to wear tiaras, and watch her reenact fairy tales that while they may hold no real bounds in life, they are wonderful, fanciful, and simple for her and her world.

If only we could capture that joy in the simple that children have, we would all be much happier.

Excuse me now…one of the princesses needs a bath and the other, a dress repair.

All in the day of the Queen.

Be a Good Girl

Women are told from the time we pop out of our mother’s uterus and become the keeper of our own that we should be “good.”

Be a “good girl.”

Be nice. Nice girls don’t do that.

Little girls are polite. Be polite.

Be nice.

Be nice.

Be nice.

Maybe I don’t want to be nice. Maybe I don’t want to be good either. Did anyone else get the memo that being good kind of sucks? That being nice all the time makes one a doormat? That taking shit from everyone and smiling and saying, “It’s okay,” makes you one miserable good girl. Plus, no one looks cute with a shit-stained smile.

I feel like sometimes I’m just compelled to say the nice thing or right thing because I know that if I don’t, I will be seen in a negative manner. I really hate that about myself.

I also hate that I am brought up in a world that tells me women aren’t funny, that we’re undersexed (such a bunch of BS folks), and that we’re all supposed to be nice and polite.

Don’t rock the boat darling.

There are so many times in my life that I just let people be their douchey selves while I laid down and said, “Sure, walk all over me. Go ahead. I hope you enjoy the walk.”

I should have handed these individuals a complementary water bottle and chocolate, sunglasses, map, and towel while they enjoyed taking a walk all over me.

That was what I got for being a “good girl” and being nice.

Sometimes, I was a bad girl in society’s eyes, yet to the person begging me to be bad, I was being submissive: translation: a good girl to an even bigger asshole. A good girl is submissive.

A good girl forgets who she is and what she wants so that others can be happy.

A bad girl does what she wants and shapes her life in ways that are meaningful to her.

I’ve let negative comments, conversations, and interactions ruin my day either because I was being too nice or polite to walk away…or too “good” to say what I wanted to, or even worse, I said exactly what I wanted to and was now reaping the guilt that my assertiveness had spun on me.

I’ve had men tell me I am stupid or that I’m not funny…or that my writing is stupid. I even had one guy tell me I couldn’t graduate college…that I was that dumb.

Apparently, he hasn’t seen my degree from Columbia, but I digress.

I have silenced myself with women too when they have hurt my feelings, by not saying what I wanted to say.

Sometimes, I said too much or just enough to feel like an ass for being so direct.

I just wish I never felt that conflict between who I am and who I should be according to the unspoken rules of society.

I am sometimes good, sometimes bad, but never awful.

To those that took a walk down the length of my heart and soul at my expense, you are all filthy animals, but I will never lie down in the mud with you, and you never stole my true self completely. Even in my darkest times I have always had an energy, a spring in my step, and an inner desire to move forward. No one will squelch that.

Let every day in my 30’s be a testament to living my life fully as who I truly am at all points and times, as along as I am not hurtful to others.

Let my daily activities show the things that matter to me, and reap work that matters to me.

I cannot worry about being good when there is so much time to be spent on making my mark on this world lest I be forgotten.

If we’re not here to be remembered for something that impacts others in a positive way, then why bother?