Question of the Week: Baby Name Decisions– Who rules?

The Question of the Week:

Who makes the ultimate baby name decisions in your family?

Does Mom run around gathering baby name ideas, while Dad makes the ultimate judgment (as it sometimes seems from the discussion of this topic on our forums)?

Or do both partners discuss, but Mom gets the ultimate say?

Do you truly decide as a team, with both partners’ opinions weighted equally?

Or is it complicated….in which case you’ve got to give us all the details!

First, take the poll below.

And now, discuss!

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37 Responses to “Question of the Week: Baby Name Decisions– Who rules?”

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rowangreeneyes Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 12:56 am

I chose Mom does. My husband and I have very similar taste in names so it’s easy to come to an agreement, but I have final say because I’m way more picky and I change my mind a lot. I had my girl’s name picked out before we even met so it’s a good thing he liked it, because she would have been Rowan no matter what. =) It might be a lot harder next time though because I don’t have “the” name already. I’ll probably spend the entire pregnancy arguing with myself about names.

afmastro Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 6:21 am

Oh, in my house I did all the work, coming up with lists of names while my husband vetoed every single one!

The problem was that if I had never heard the name on someone I knew that was a bonus, while to my husband if he never knew someone with the name, the name was automatically dismissed as “horrible.”

Once out of frustration I asked him to come up with names. He thought for a moment and then asked, “What is that Russian name that’s hard to pronounce?”

I said, “Why would you want to give out kid a name that’s hard to pronounce? I don’t know. Is it Natasha?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” he replied.

A couple of weeks later when he told me Cecily, Daphne, Louisa, Silvia, and Nora (a popularity compromise for me) were all “horrible” I told him he better come up with more suggestions than just Natasha because I thought Natasha was “horrible.”

He then said, “Huh? I never suggested Natasha.”

Needless to say, I wasn’t sure how to answer the poll.

vanessaaball Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 7:44 am

I was the worker bee. I made 99% of the suggestions and my husband vetoed giving the occasional explanation. Once I figured out what my husband’s name criteria was, my suggestions weren’t met with such disdain. Afriend actually suggested our first son’s name. We agreed on our second son’s name long before I was pregnant. My husband suggested only a handful of names, so I was determined to use 1. When he came home and said, “How a bout Don?” I searched for a full name alternative to Donald. I made the final commentment to each name.

MeganElaine Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 7:57 am

afmastro, that story cracked me up! Our story is quite similar. I make extra long lists. And he vetoes pretty much all of them– then resorts to his top 3 names and suggests one of those.

caymangirl Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 8:07 am

My husband vetoed most of the names I came up with. Then one day he emailed me a name that he liked but thought I would hate. I love it and we are using it! Turns out it’s a variation of a name I had suggested long ago that he had not liked …. But I’m not telling him that 😉

Danni Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 8:17 am

afmastro, you are too funny! I can completely relate. I put in a ton of work coming up with lists and matching first names with middle names. For three years, Mr. J rejected EVERY single name I suggested. I wanted to choose the names together, so I let go of some of my favorites (Hazel, Rose, Ruby). He told me Hazel was frumpy, Rose was too plain, and Ruby wasn’t a grown up name. We eventually decided not to talk about names for awhile because his total lack of interest was upsetting me so much.

After a solid 8 months of not talking about names at all, I mentioned my favorites to Mr. J again…He said Hazel, Rose, and Ruby were his favorites, too. I couldn’t slapped him if I wasn’t so excited! Now he even suggests names that I like, such as Matilda.

I guess I just had to mention what I liked and give him time to like them, too.

tarynkay Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 9:23 am

We found this easier to deal with not face to face. I made a google document with all of the names I liked, boys and girls since we didn’t know. He could add names or cross names out, so could I. If either of us crossed out a name, we would add a short explanation like, “stripper name” or “this means ‘born in a ditch'” or “please imagine how people would pronounce this here in the South” which helped when it came to adding more names. We could both access the document at our leisure, which I did probably every day and he did every few months. I then made a concerted effort to never bring up names when we were talking in person, which was difficult. This helped balance out the fact that I could easily talk about names every day while my husband could easily never talk about names ever again. Boys names were a lot harder than girls for us. We ended up naming our son the only two boys names that we agreed on, so I don’t know what we’ll do next time.

linda Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 9:39 am

@tarynkay: Using a google doc is a great idea!

Maerad Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 9:46 am

Danni, haha! I had exactly the same issue! If a slightly different scenario.

I gave him my favourite boys – Simon, Tobias and James and my fabourite girls names – Angela, Felicity and Eliza.
He dismissed all of them! Months later I mentioned names again – he came out with ‘Oh, I heard Eliza and Simon somewhere… I like them, do you?’ I could have killed him!

pam Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 9:47 am

Yes, Linda and I often use Google Docs to construct our lists, comment on each other’s choices. Though we are extraordinary compatible in terms of names. If my husband and I did this, I would definitely be adding dozens or even hundreds of names and he would be crossing them all out.

meogan Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 9:50 am

We come to a decision equally. We believe that since we are both equals in our relationship and parenting that it’s just as much his decision as mine.

That being said. I do more of the ‘work,’ but I enjoy it. We talk about names very regularly and I let him know what’s on my radar and he responds.

When I was pregnant he read through a whole baby book, and marked everything he liked with a green highlighter. I used an orange one, and then we compiled a list from there. Next time though, I don’t think that will be necessary as we’re already on the same page and have a running list.

Flick Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 11:53 am

See, we’re a mixed family, so “we” didn’t name any of them together. He choose his girl’s names, their ones he planned on using for a long time, I guess. He really doesn’t like boy’s names, so he only suggested one middle name for his son, which they ended up using.

With my son, I was just trying to please my SO, so I let him have the first name he wanted and I really regret it because it’s not my normal style at all. I think it’s a great name – for someone elses kid. The middle names were all me – their after my father, brother and grandfather.

If we have a child together, he’s told me that I should choose what I love because he’s already been able to pick names, and I didn’t really stand up for myself last time, so I deserve to indulge myself, especially since I love names. He says it’s “my thing”. I will definitely not be using something he dislikes, though and for boy’s he basically has no opinion, lol.

junemama Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

My husband and I just had a fight about how to name babies, even though our only little one just turned two (and we are both happy with her name). Basically, we both proposed names to an ever-growing list while pregnant, then narrowed it down to favorites together as the end drew near. We didn’t know boy/girl, and even for each gender we had more than one name that was a finalist, and we agreed not to decide until we met the baby.

Well, when she came out he declared her name — which I also probably would have picked, but I was a little miffed not to be included in the “final” decision, although all the names on the final list were ones I liked. He is claiming that he thought that was the plan, but I have no recollection of this agreement and if we have more kids, I’m not sure that’s how I want it to go!

thelifespark Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I am currently in the process of TTc but I will be a SMBC so there is no SO to bounce names off of. It’s all me. I guess that means mom decides?

jpruitt76 Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 1:48 pm

With our daughters, we both had equal say in the first name but I was able to choose the middle names from my side of the family. With our son, I also chose the middle name from my side of the family but let my husband make the final call on the boy name (from a short list of names we both agreed upon).

libermama Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

We have 11 kids, with #12 on the way– it is so fun! (And not just the naming part. ;-D)

Anyhoo, *I* am the major Name Nerd, who makes lists and lists and lists. Early in our marriage, we decided on a theme, and that has been very helpful, since I tend to like everything and can never narrow down my lists without some restrictions in place.

I have reintroduced names that my husband has vetoed in the past, and that has worked in my favor quite often. 😉 (Sounds like it’s is a “husband thing…”)

After child #6, we started taking turns on who gets to name the baby, with the other spouse holding complete veto power. It’s worked well! Before then, we just came to a consensus.

So with this pregnancy (I’m 24 weeks along), I’ve been working on my Nameberry list, throwing out a favorite now and then, all the while knowing that he’ll only do any real considering just before the baby arrives and then again after we see what he looks like. (Yes, we’ve changed kids’ names before– told you I was a Name Nerd!)

Luckily, we’ve each been able to use our favorites (He got an Eryn, and I got an Avalon), so the options are endless! 😀

Fun post!

augusta_lee Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I wish the focus of this post could have been less myopic. There are gay families, partnered but unmarried families, single parent families, co-operative parenting families…you get the picture. I know my parenting unit doesn’t consist of a husband and a wife, and I’m guessing a lot of your readers have different arrangements as well.

Poppy528 Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

We really do agree on names equally, but it’s only b/c we’re so very similar. It’s never Clementine v. Kayleigh with us. I feel lucky to have a guy that loves names like Beatrice, Harriet, & Edith and Arthur, Wallace, & Ulysses just as much as I do. I suggest yupster/fusty/classic names incessantly, and he usually likes them. He dislikes my fascination w/ new-age word names like Prarie and Starling … but he likes Olive and August so there remains love and peace in our house 😉

Saracita00 Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

afmastro – hilarious!

tarynkay – What a fantastic idea.

I’m the name nerd but I really try to find a name my husband also likes. Our styles are vastly different so it’s a challenge.

With our last baby, I found it helpful to print out a list and have him cross off the names he didn’t like. A couple of weeks later, I presented a new printout of the very same list. Sometimes he liked names he had crossed off before, and for the ones he still hated he was better able to discuss why. He also appreciated seeing the spelling, rather than just hearing the name spoken in discussion. We went through a lot of lists narrowing down the options and adding in new ideas, but we came to an agreement in the end.

Sassy Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I put that we decide together equally, because it seemed to fit the best. I’m the name nerd so I’m always looking up meanings and going through lists of names. We are often suggesting names to each other and usually vetoing the other’s choice, lol. We are due in November and so far we’ve agreed on both a girls name and a boys name. I want to have others though for back up. I’m always worried that the baby won’t look like the name we’ve picked. I’m usually suggesting more than he does but he still suggests ones he reads in a book or something he hears out and about.
I don’t like the idea of just one or the other picking the name. You are having the baby together you should be picking the name together.
I’ve also suggested a name in the past that hubby has vetoed then come back later on and suggested. You sometimes just have to plant the seed, lol.

Flick Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

AugustaLee- I agree, I know a lot of families who aren’t a man and woman or even two parents at all.

mamachicken2009 Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I’m single this time around so it’s 100% my choice. Although I do get a lot of input from friends and family but it will be me making the ultimate decision.

With my first I named her the name I had picked out years before meeting her father. He didn’t love it at first but I didn’t love any other name as much. We ended up giving her two middle names, one after one of my family members and one was his favorite name. Her name is long but it’s beautiful.

miloowen Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I had my eldest child’s name for years before I married and became pregnant. Luckily for me, he liked the name — all three of them. Eventually we agreed to drop one of the two middles because we’d agreed on a hyphenated surname. The baby I lost I’d named in my head and didn’t mention until after I lost her. My son was born while my husband was singing a concert in Halifax (literally) and when I called him after the concert, he said I could name him completely on my own. However, he then proceeded to veto every name I chose for our son’s middle except one, and that’s the one we used….

pam Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 9:35 pm

AugustaLee, point taken. We certainly didn’t mean to cause offense and agree that these answers are narrow and limited, which does not reflect our view on the possibilities of parentage and families. When there ARE two parents of two genders, the patterns of her role in baby naming vs. his role do get interesting and often all too predictable. But lots of parents transcend expectations and pigeon-holing of all kinds.

amandaberry Says:

June 13th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Its more complicated. I pick out the names I like then run it through my husband. If he doesn’t like it it’s not in contention but I’d say eventhough we discuss it, it’s not 50/50, I have more say than him in what the final outcome will be. Not that I’m dictatorial about it, just that my husband is more flexible than I am b/c I have very specific opinions and preferences for the names. I certianly make the final decision, but hubby still has veto power on names he doesn’t like. As far as what name is used for the first or middle, my husband doesn’t have as much of an opinion.

dancingwithdad Says:

June 14th, 2012 at 1:58 am

I’m curious as to what are the names of all of Libermama’s children. I admire big families. When I first started my named list, in junior high I think, I said I wanted to have 12 kids and give them all double middle names, because there were so many names I like. Now that I’m married and have a last name to pair with the names my choices have been narrowed down (not all names sound good with our last name). We will be TTC at the end of summer and have started discussing names. So far we have two girls names that we both like (though I don’t think they go well together) and three or four boys names.

Mego0801 Says:

June 14th, 2012 at 7:15 am

I’m the crazy lady that isn’t even pregnant that is obsessed with my future children’s names, he is the sweet, patient man that listens to me go on and on even though he probably won’t care until about a month before any of his children are born! My mom rolls her eyes and reminds me that I’m ‘not even pregnant yet’ (thanks, mom!), my sister just asks me to name my kids after her (and she’s being serious, that’s why I decided not to do it, even though I was going to before she asked!). My sis-in-law just thinks I’m crazy because I want crazy obscure names that have Meanings, and she just picks pretty names from the top lists. Makes me grind my teeth! Lol!

That is why I’ve turned to the Nameberry forums, y’all understand me!

libermama Says:

June 14th, 2012 at 10:11 am

@dancingwithdad: Thank you for asking; I am more than happy to share! 🙂

We have:
Morganne Natalia
Brennan Geoffrey
Lliam Donal
Bonny Dianne
Gavin Xavier
Dierdre Marie
Ronan Wainwright
MacKenna Elyse
Grayse Dawn
Avalon Noelle
Eryn Mildred

All the middle names are either family names, or have a seasonal significance. (Both Natalia and Noelle come from being born in December.)

If I were naming my new baby myself right now (It’s a boy!), he would be Emrys Pike. (The middle name is my husband’s mother’s maiden name.)

I love reading all these great comments! 🙂

kittyx2 Says:

June 14th, 2012 at 11:20 am

Cool names Libermama! You’re one busy lady chasing after all of them!

I’m ttc as a SMBC so no one can veto my choices. 🙂 Of course family & friends have their own tastes in names & may not like my ideas but so be it (I tend to go for names that are more classic & elegant & not too outrageous).

dancingwithdad Says:

June 14th, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for sharing Libermama…your names are great!

I’m curious…what does SMBC stand for?

sharonkay Says:

June 25th, 2012 at 10:56 am

just googled it–Single Mom By Choice:)

Melusine Says:

July 3rd, 2012 at 5:59 am

Agree with augusta_lee, well said.

Anyway, my husband and I have a 6-month-old daughter we named together. We’ve had the name for a long time, even before we decided we definitely wanted children. We’ve already got a boys’ and a girl’s name picked out for a possible second child too.

So I ticked that we made the decision together because that’s really how it worked for us.

nicoleb519 Says:

July 30th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I chose the last one- it’s more complicated.

I have pretty much the same problem as afmastro. (Made me crack up, btw!) I pick out a bunch of names that I love and a few that I’m okay with. He says no to almost all. He offers a couple that he thinks of right on the spot that are horrible or are wayyyyy too common for my taste.

We don’t have children yet, so I’m thinking & hoping that he’ll more into this when it’s a reality.

TheFutureMrsB Says:

September 3rd, 2012 at 9:14 am

I wouldn’t say it’s 50/50 between me and my fiance and it probably won’t be even once I’m pregnant.
With the name we have picked out for our first son I suggested Isaiah the said Zachary. We compromised on Isaac with the nn Zac. His middle, as of this moment is Dante after the video game character. But normally I suggest a name and it’s generally vetoed.
Girls’ name are harder for both of us. I suggest a name, he doesn’t like it all. He suggests a name 90% of the time I don’t like it. Right now we’ve decided on a middle name for our daughter. Her first name’s up in the air and probably will be until she’s here.

Mama_K Says:

September 20th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

We really do decide together, I usually gather ideas, my husband weeds out ones he truly dislikes, and we work over the options. I did let him pick the middle name for our first son as I knew he wanted to find an English name to honor his Chinese father.

KKFisher Says:

February 13th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

In the end we want it to be and equal thing where we both like the name. With our son we automatically used my hubs middle name because it is a name that has been in his family for years and thankfully I liked the name too but now that we are having a second child I feel like if we use any sort of family name it should be from my side and my side doesn’t leave many options. I wanted to use my sister’s middle name but my hubs is afraid it will offend his sister. plus to make matters worse we both have very different styles when it comes to names and my hubs does NOT like discussing it. Any more than a five minute conversation about names and he immediately gets frustrated and doesn’t want to talk about it or he will want to think really hard about a name and not discuss it for several days which sends my impatientness out the roof haha. We had the same trouble picking out a first name for our son but eventually we found the perfect name and I know the same will happen with this one I just really don’t want to be in labor and still not have any idea what we are doing.

sugnim Says:

April 26th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

In our house, the baby’s Mom will definitely have the final say on the name. But, our baby has 2 Moms, so Mom deciding is a given for our little one. 🙂

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