(cross-posted at LauraVanderkam.com)
So it came out yesterday that Conde Nast, after a thorough review by McKinsey, will be shuttering a number of titles. As a magazine junkie, I’m still sore about the closing of Domino earlier this year. But I’m really steamed about the axe falling on “Cookie”, Conde Nast’s parenting title. Indeed, I’ve had to talk myself down from throwing the kind of temper tantrum that my 2-year-old pitches when you take away his toy cars.
This is not to say that Cookie was perfect. Like many titles, I almost always managed to get through it in an hour. I don’t view that as a positive in a magazine designed to give you something to…read.
But the concept was different and intriguing. This was going to be a “stylish” magazine for the “new mom.” More educated and with more disposable income than moms of a generation ago, she had a certain aesthetic sensibility. She owned the Bugaboo stroller, the Bloom high chair, and she had a thing for plain wooden toys or — if they must be branded — Melissa and Doug. She had a certain nostalgia for old-fashioned family activities like apple picking, but she was also up for the adventure of bringing her family to Austria, where she did not want to stay in chain hotels. She liked the idea of cooking dinner — foodie dinners at that — though she had to face the reality of limited time. After all, as part of being in a higher-income household, she most likely had a job. Not just a job. A profession. And so, it was taken for granted that she had interests beyond how often her children were pooping. If she wanted parenting tips, she wanted them in the form of essays written in prose that more closely resembled the New Yorker’s than the short how-tos in most parenting magazines. She wanted essays that acknowledged that men existed and often shared in the care of children.
In other words, this was a magazine so perfectly targeted at yours truly that I tended to read it first from my pile of glossies. Indeed, I liked the concept so much that I was personally offended when Cookie ran a cartoon insulting Sarah Palin (I sent a note reminding the editors that their core readership of married moms tended to vote Republican). As I said, the execution was not perfect. I wanted longer essays, longer stories that touched on parenting but recognized that parents are people, too. But Cookie at least came closer to that than the primary-color spattered pages of other parenting magazines. Like those snapshots of nostalgic moments of toddlers asleep or chasing fireflies Cookie tended to run on the back page, this magazine will be missed.