The Man in Manny by Amy Lane – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Love as she tours with her latest book Manny Get Your Guy.

The Man in Manny

On second thought, with three books written, two released, and one more to go, I might—might mind you, be not the greatest person to write books about mannies.

I mean, other than the word itself, I don’t find them particularly funny.

When my parents split up, my father asked me who I wanted to stay with. (I was seven.) I said “You, Daddy.” There was no question. My mom was not a suitable parent, and my dad was. He couldn’t cook, he knew nothing about child rearing and less about little girls—but he knew the basics.

Food is good.

School is good.

Being on time is good.

Clothing is good.

Bathing is good.

Kids aren’t stupid.

Do your best.

He did his best. It got better after he met my stepmom, but he understood how things worked. He could run a vacuum cleaner and do dishes. He didn’t destroy clothes in the laundry. Sure, he forgot when picture day was, but he remembered health insurance. In short, he was competent.

I really don’t like the media image that men are incompetent parents.

My oldest kid is twenty-four. Even way back then, a quarter of a century ago, when I left my son with my husband, it was not babysitting, it was parenting. And my husband felt the same way. He was capable of parenting chores—food, clean diapers, baths, car seats. He was capable of playing with the baby and acknowledging a schedule. If he was helpless, I wouldn’t have married him.

Now, it’s true that some men don’t always get glitter, princess dresses, or long hair. They weren’t socialized or taught how to braid hair or why a princess dress is important, so sometimes they get things wrong. It’s no more boneheaded than my “hunh” when my son and daughter are explaining Overwatch. It’s quite simply a test not studied for—not proof that the test taker is an idiot. That doesn’t mean that a good dad won’t try, and if princess dresses aren’t his thing, and soccer or softball aren’t his kids’ thing, odds are good they’ll find a happy medium. It’s just like living with any other human being—shared interests can be found.

So I don’t buy it. I don’t buy the “men are idiots about childcare” myth. I don’t buy women being hypercritical because a guy can’t match his daughter’s outfit, and I don’t get men’s time is more important than his wife’s time so she should be the one dressing the kids, so a guy with a job of “manny” is funny. It does not compute.

So seriously—I’m not going to be the one writing the hapless inept manny story. My guy is never going to be covered in baby powder with this morning’s breakfast in his hair holding a despondent toddler who lost her doll unless, of course, we’ve seen a woman be that parent, and the woman is willing to share the story.

But I have had my share of mishaps as a parent—so some of those will probably be part of the mix.

When I show guys in childcare, I’m not going to go for the slapstick angle. I’m going to go for the real angle. The guy who cooks pancakes for the masses and eats a breakfast bar himself because he needs to go to the grocery store. The guy who makes jokes that the kids don’t get and then laughs at the ones they tell him. The guy who’s more interested in how the kids are doing in classes and activities than in what people think of him being involved. That guy.

To me, that’s a childcare provider. That’s my father and my husband. That’s my sons, as they grow older and make children their first priority at a family gathering, and hopefully, someday, in their families.

If I’m going to write a manny, I’m going to make man the operative word and let that man do his job with resourcefulness, dignity, and the same panic that women have been experiencing for years and years and years.

So is some of it going to be funny? You betcha. Kids are a laugh riot. They are small human beings with struggling perceptions and they are gonna do things that give your sense of humor whiplash.

But is the guy going to be a total loser I wouldn’t trust near my own kids without a preschool teacher and a behavior management professor as supervisors?

No. The guy who can’t watch kids isn’t sexy to me. Why would he be sexy to my readers? I’m going to show a guy who can plan the crap out of a family outing, and schedule the kids like a champ, and knows when to give them all a break in the cool of the house with a cartoon.

That’s my kind of guy. That’s the kind of guy Tino was in The Virgin Manny, and it’s the kind of guy Taylor is in Manny Get Your Guy. It’s Cooper and Sammy in Stand by Your Manny, and it’s going to be Quinlan in A Fool and His Manny—someone you can trust with kids is someone you can trust with your heart.

We’re gonna trust these guys to fall in love.


The Mannies

Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

About the Author:Amy Lane has two kids who are mostly grown, two kids who aren’t, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

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Buy the book at Amazon or Dreamspinner Press.

Comments

  1. Astilbe says:

    Good for you! The world needs more books like this one. My dad was actually the stay-at-home parent for part of my childhood, and he did a wonderful job at looking after his kids.

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