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Category: Navigating Name Problems and Disputes

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Names Your Mom Hates

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A while back we did a blog called Not Your Mother’s Baby Names, about names that fail to bridge the gender gap. That post focused on newly-minted names that the older generations may not get, but those aren’t the only kinds of names that don’t translate across the generations.  

Mom may have liked perky cheerleader names — Kerry, Missy — while you prefer serious Biblical names — Abraham and Lydia.  Time-honored choices such as August and Imogen that sound classic and handsome to you may feel hopelessly dowdy to her.

The fact is, each generation tends to reinvent baby names anew, gravitating to new choices and new tastes in names. It’s how we make our name choices our own — but by definition, that may mean that Mom (and Dad and Grandma and Aunt Sue) fails to like or understand them.

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This Couple Needs A Baby Name Pre-Nup!

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Duana Taha reports that she and her new husband are compatible in every way, until they start talking about baby names.

I recently got married, and we’re very happy. Like a lot of just-married couples, we’re thinking about children in the near future, which is great.

Except we forgot one crucial thing. A baby name pre-nup.

Do most couples work out their baby names before they agree to be tied together forever? Was I unaware? Because there are some issues here we definitely should have discussed…!

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In this perceptive and illuminating guest blog, Zaira Shaal confronts the naming issues facing interfaith parents.

My boyfriend and I have talked about having kids a few times, and the main topic is always what we would name them. He is Muslim, I am Catholic, and while we are both Pakistani, we have very different ideas about the names we like.

We both grew up in North America and now live in London, England so there is added pressure to ensure our children’s names can be pronounced by their friends and colleagues as they grow. Our own names, Waqas (Wuh-kaas) and Zaira (rhymes with Tyra not Sara), have proved difficult for peers to handle over the years so we are sensitive to this.

While he prefers names like Khalil and Omar for boys – and hasn’t really thought about naming a girl – I have always loved names like Audrey and Grace, Adam and Jacob. We came to a compromise and came up with a list of names that work for both religions. This also appeases both sets of parents and ensures our kids all have uniform sounding names. I don’t want one Matthew and one Mohammed.

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Did Your Family Pressure You Over Names?

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It’s one of the biggest problems parents-to-be complain about on the Nameberry forums: family pressure over the choice of a name.

Grandparents want the baby to be Leonard Roger III.  Great-Aunt Matilda always wanted a little girl named Matilda.

If not promoting their own or other relatives’ names, family members might just exercise what they see as their right to voice strong, uh, opinions about names.  Ugh, you can’t name your son Felix: That’s a cat’s name!

Every time you see them, they push their choices — Kaylee!  Kenneth! — and reject yours.

Have you gotten pressure from your family over baby names?  What kind?  How did you deal with it?  How did it make you feel?

Or was your family blessedly pressure-free on the topic of names?  Or maybe you even tried to talk about names with them, and they weren’t interested?

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Name lover Kristin Alexander, creator of the blog What She Said, went crazy over baby girl names.  Her story:

“BRAHNwyn!” he said incredulously. “BRAHNwyn?”

“Well, when you say it like that, it doesn’t sound very pretty,” I pouted.

Granted, Bronwyn was a guilty pleasure. I didn’t really expect my husband to go along with it as the given name for any daughter we might have. But must his voice take on that grating nasal edge when he said it out loud? He sounded like a goose honking.

No more than eight weeks up the duff, I was still newly pregnant when my husband and I began discussing potential baby names for our unborn child. I had just informed him that I really liked the name Bronwyn Rose for a girl, but admitted that with the last name of Alexander, I was worried about her initials spelling “bra.”

“That’s your only concern about the name Bronwyn?!” my husband asked in amazement.

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