Janet Manley

Senior Features Editor at Romper. Australian. Published by ELLE, the New Yorker, CNN, Buzzfeed, Gawker, Racked, The Hairpin, The Toast, The Millions, Glamour, The Billfold, Sydney Morning Herald, McSweeney's. Mom to two adorable muffins.

The Picture Books That Defined 2018 & What They Say About Us

Presented in partnership with The Longest Shortest Time podcast. For a short 24 pages, I sure have no clue how most picture books will end. Truly, if you thought Ulysses was esoteric, let me introduce you Secret Pizza Party, in which a raccoon goes…
By Janet Manley

The Sexiest Thing Your Partner Can Do Is Buy You This Hilare Book Of Fake Erotica

After baby, the things you find sexy definably change. Where once you fantasized about a strong man opening a jam jar then tossing you over their shoulder, or a woman hacking a log in two with her homemade axe then interlacing her hands behind your…
By Janet Manley

I Used An App That Doesn’t Let You Show Off & Here’s How My Life Looked

My favorite debate among moms this year has been what "real" motherhood looks like. Is real motherhood a diaper explosion in the ladies' lounge at Macy's, or is it holding your baby up to the sky as the sun flares behind you — this is roughly the…
By Janet Manley

When The Umbilical Stump Won't Fall Off

I have it on good authority that placentas are a beautiful work of architecture that should be admired upon exit. I wouldn’t personally know because mine was ladled into a plastic bowl and tipped into an orange garbage can along with all the sodden…
By Janet Manley

Believe It Or Not, Millennials Actually Like Being Parents

I think people are mostly just okay, but when I see a baby strapped to her mom’s chest or reclined in a stroller, staring at the world from behind shiny cheeks and surprised baby eyebrows, I am overcome by feelings of goodwill. I project that joy at…
By Janet Manley

We Only Get 18 Halloweens

Decorative gourd season is upon us, and I have so much I want to show my kids, and so many costumes I want to put them in (young Harrison Ford; the guy from The Darkness; Carrie Fisher looking unimpressed by her salad at Tavern On The Green). But…
By Janet Manley

The Well-Meaning Myths We Tell Our Children

As soon as we become parents, we begin the re-tellings. The rushed Uber ride. The wait, maternity ward mixups, the stitches, the "on the day you were born" clichés SNL sent up this Mother's Day. The story of my birth suffers a blank of a few hours…
By Janet Manley

The Book Written For Moms Who Fake Their Heart Emojis In Group Texts

If you were to write a book, the be-all end-all of everything you've learned so far in this life, what would you call it? I Don't Bloody Know, perhaps, or I Thought *This* Was the Point Of Everything But It Might Be This Other Thing, I'm Not…
By Janet Manley

When The Person In Your Backseat Is About To Give Birth

If I yelled too much, I'm sorry. I had told my husband to call an Uber shortly after I passed into active labor halfway down my block. I reached our front door, heaving, and dragged myself upstairs to grab the go bag. "We need. To go." I winced.…
By Janet Manley

When We Give Our Kids Too Much, And Not Enough

The bounce house palace is hidden in a flat array of hangar-like industrial lots just off the Parkway. You might not even know it was there if not for the goofy red and yellow shingle announcing "Bounce Palace!" in lopsided writing against a…
By Janet Manley

Arming Teachers Is "Patently Ridiculous," & Yet Here We Are

My two half-Australian children, who are 1 and 3, attend a daycare in Brooklyn, New York — a state with comparatively strict gun laws in a country with lax gun laws and tens of thousands of gun fatalities annually — and every day I, like every other…
By Janet Manley

Zoë Foster Blake Wanted A No B.S. Skincare Line For Moms, So She Made One

"HOLY SH*T YOU LOOK AMAZING." This is the unofficial slogan of Go-To skin care, the line of goodies for your face that recently took Sephora by storm, and something that, frankly, we could all do to hear and yell at one another once in a while. The…
By Janet Manley

Busy Philipps On Radical Realness & Why Dads Have It Better

Much of America smelled like a slow-cooking diaper pail when Romper sat down with Busy Philipps in a room scented with that ineffable rich-person perfume that brings to mind peonies and linen shifts and "family offices." We were supposed to meet at…
By Janet Manley

Remember The Saddest Bookworm? You've Got To See Him Now

Back in 2015, a more innocent internet age, you may recall your mom's friend Barb emailing you a Yahoo link to "The saddest bookworm," a viral YouTube video in which a baby would burst into tears every time his mother reached the end of a story. It…
By Janet Manley

A Tight Ten On Demon Babies: 6 Comics On The State Of Mom Comedy

Somewhere in between talking about your fears of giving birth to a "demon baby" and bringing up placentas, you can lose a crowd. Comedians who are mothers have to hone their sense of what will work on stage, as Los Angeles-based comedian and…
By Janet Manley

How To Become A Mom Influencer In 2018 (& Be Real About It)

If you've ever wondered what life is like as an influencer, I can say that the welcome mat is rolled out, fancy canned wine comes free, and the breakfast pastries are teeny, exquisite marvels of engineering. But as I walked into Babypalooza NYC at…
By Janet Manley

The Hardest Part About Being A Mom Is Realizing You’re Not Special

It was 2003, and John Mayer was going to spy us in the crowd, pull us onstage, fall in real love, then travel backroads with us, writing songs about the philosophical depths of our experience at 22, and also about how hot we looked in a low-key…
By Janet Manley

The Children's Book That Takes On Death

Reading a book 200 times is a surefire way to find out whether you love it or want to throw its rhyming llama couplets into the diaper pail. Children's books especially do a tricky dance for an audience of squinty-eyed parents and wide-eyed tots:…
By Janet Manley

Busy Philipps Wants To Hold Your Crying Baby — EXCLUSIVE

"I do love holding babies, even when they're crying in my arms," Busy Philipps, the actor, author, and virtual best friend to one million followers on Instagram — many of them moms — tells Romper by phone. Her fondness for taking the crying babies…
By Janet Manley

Busy Philipps On The Border Separation Policy: We Need To “Do As Much As We Can” To Take Action

The virtual popularity and presence of actor Busy Philipps largely hinges on her ability to emote feelings on your behalf, to find joy in everyday parenting moments, to make certain afflictions (anxiety, ear infections, screaming babies) seem…
By Janet Manley