Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Less Magazine to Make Me Feel Bad About Myself

The internets were atwitter yesterday with the news of the demise of four Conde Nast titles. Most were off my radar, I am already married and shockingly I am not cooking gourmet meals every night, but one of the titles was a magazine I actually subscribe to (albeit for free) I am speaking of course of the Alpha Mom bible Cookie.

I first heard of Cookie through Domino (R.I.P) and thought "How awesome, a modern parenting magazine". When I became pregnant, a friend gifted me a subscription and I awaited it eagerly never guessing that it was going to send me into a crazy nesting state. After just the first issue I became convinced that we needed Dwell bedding, circular cribs, and a six hundred dollar stroller. The husband had to talk me down after every issue.

Finally one day when I was in a breastfeeding stupor holding the magazine in one hand and shoveling chocolate peanut butter chex mix in my maw with the other, I just couldn't take it anymore (sidenote: yes I breastfed hands free, tandem even. I was that good. Too bad wet nurses went out of style or I could be raking it in right now, not to mention be stick skinny. Of course that would seriously interfere with my hard drinking lifestyle. I kid, I kid! I totally drank when I was breastfeeding.).

Where was I? Oh yeah, I think it was the feature on budget family vacations that did me in. It suggested a $350 a night tent in northern California. A resort that I had dreamed of staying at when I lived in SF but deemed far, far out of reach. Only to find out that evidently is a budget place for families.

I think I may have actually said "Fuck you Cookie!" as I flung the magazine across the room. It really is a miracle that the girls are not miniature bullies, swearing and throwing stuff over. Well Calamity Jane does throw stuff and she might be swearing at me in Janespeak but I don't speak her language so let's just go with the idea that I haven't negatively influenced them.

So that was the end of me and Cookie until earlier this year when I got a free subscription somehow. As a two year veteran mom, I am a lot more cynical and was able just to laugh at the features on children's fashion and the families who go live in the woods and frown upon television ("Jasper just loves to make hand shadows on the wall at night!"). Yeah whatever, my TV loving, hand me down wearing kids are totally going to beat up those hipster kids someday. Did I mention Jane has great aim?

As I leafed through it every month chuckling at the must have items ($300 skin cream) and dry clean only kids clothes, I would wonder to myself: why do we read these magazines? I do not live in a world where my daughters swan around in cashmere cardigans and play with their modern PBK kitchen that is far nicer than any kitchen I will ever own. And I do not want to. The few features I did love (food and book related mostly) were not enough to make up for the utter unreality of the rest of it.

We have enough insecurities as parents and glossy features on the perfect modern kids room complete with the perfect children dressed as miniature adults are not helping. A few more doses of honesty mixed in with the glamor might have kept the magazine around. Because I don't want to look at pictures of glossy toys and clothes for my kids; I want to look at glossy pictures of stuff for ME.


  1. Don't even get me started on "budget" vacations with rooms that start at $300+/night - it's one of the reasons I'm seriously pissed at Sunset right now. Yes, I would love to run off to the wilds of British Columbia but not at $2000/person for 4 nights, which apparently, is quite reasonable.

  2. Cookie...I did a focus group for them a few years back and there were 20 of us telling them to take it down a notch. Enough with the fake happy family crap and the ridiculously overpriced cosmetics and vacations. They had nice photography, healthy food, financial articles and design ideas, but it wasn't enough to keep them afloat. Why do we read them? I don't know...to get away for a few minutes?

  3. I just read what will probably be the last issue I ever get (RIP Cookie?) and after looking at the $300+ T's on the kids I about choked on my mocha. Who's fantasy am I living in that THIS is my magazine of choice?