Turns out people have a LOT of opinions when it comes to names. And they don’t hold back.
It never mattered what my response was to the question. It was always met with some kind of a response longer than: “Ok.” or “That’s a fine choice.”
Sometimes it was a discussion regarding specifically personally problematic boy names: For some reason Evan really had a bad reputation. Who knew? I like that name. Other times there was commentary on weirdness, or length, or all the possible derogatory nicknames that the kid was certain to be called.
Fortunately, Chris and I didn’t disagree about names. We just went with a few potential names and practiced saying them for a few weeks before the baby was born and once he was born, we knew Mackinley was the name we wanted.
Here are a couple of things I might point out regarding the ahem name calling process:
1. You might not want to tell AT ALL. That’s probably a wise idea actually. Just tell everyone you want it to be a surprise or perhaps you and your spouse agreed not to decide until you actually meet the baby.
2. If the person asking is someone very near and dear, or you have problems being less than completely candid, share away. . .but be prepared for an opinion.
3. What if Someone Wants “your” name? Well, that’s a little tricky. You should be flattered. But maybe you’re a little put out?
I think if you are both considering a more common or traditional name, you probably just have to leave well enough alone. If you are choosing a name like Mary or Jonathan, (both fine names, I might add) you should not expect your child to be the only one with that name. If you are hell-bent on Raisin and your co-worker is also planning to call her kid Raisin, well, perhaps you should delicately broach the subject with her if you feel strongly about it.
4. What if You Want “Someone’s” Name? If you are close to that person, Ask! Not too long ago my Sister asked me about a girl name we both liked for a middle name. Not that either of us have girls at the moment. . .Turns out she really liked the name. I had no idea. Of course, I gladly agreed that she should use the name if and when she had the opportunity. It’s a family name. And she had a much closer relationship with this family member than I did. I’m glad she asked.
However, given the fact that our poor Mother misspelled Mac’s name on this adorable little ornament she painted for him, it might not be a bad idea for all of her Grandchildren to actually have the SAME name. Ha!
5. If someone asks your opinion about a name, you should give a tempered but honest opinion. If they don’t ask, then don’t offer them your two cents. Sheesh. This pretty much applies to any aspect of pregnancy, parenting or life.
6. Are you feeling any pressure (to use a family name)? Tricky. Tread lightly. Whatever you decide, make sure you and your spouse are in complete agreement and you are respectful when you discuss the subject. Our son has two middle names – one for each Grandfather. It’s a whopper of a name but we wanted to honor both of our Fathers and who knows if we’ll have more children?
7. Seek comfort in the fact that once the little gal or guy finally arrives, chances are people won’t be giving you flack about his or her name any longer. And if they do, well shame on them!
8. And finally, this should be obvious, but if you’ve ever looked at some of those online baby naming chat forums in the wee hours of the morning because you’re too effing pregnant to sleep, I feel like it needs a mention: try not to be a complete doofus. If your last name is Peters, please reconsider naming your daughter Sharon!