We are naming Max’s baby sister and I couldn’t resist reaching out for your thoughts.
My heart has always been set on a sweet -ie nickname for a girl. I’ve read your Sadie’s sisters list so many times!
Mamie is probably my favorite but my husband doesn’t like it. I also like Lottie and Nellie – you get the idea.
Here’s our current list:
FRANCES, nn FRANNIE
It’s a very old family name for me and I love that it’s classic without being super popular. It also doesn’t feel tied to one particular era. Finally, I like that it’s one of the few classic gender neutral names.
I’m really loving Frannie. Is this too out there? Too old lady? We also like Frankie but it feels a little trendy, and Francie sounds too fussy for my ear.
But I’m having a bit of a crisis of confidence, because I made the mistake of mentioning Frances/Frannie to a family member at Thanksgiving and, well, you know how that goes!
MARGARET, nn MARGOT or MAE
I’ve gone way too deep into popularity analyses. Is Margot just the next Peggy?
Also, I feel a little self conscious picking another M name – I don’t want to give the impression that both kids are named for me in some way.
Plus, Max and Mae – too close? Mae is a special family name and is checking a lot of my boxes.
ROSE or ROSEMARY, nn ROSIE
Rose/Rosie is rock solid but just seems very done to me, probably because of ALL the middle names.
AMELIA, nn MILLIE
Obviously Amelia is ridiculously popular, but Millie is on a stratospheric rise, too.
Her middle name will probably be Rosemary. Other family names are Nancy and Edith.
I’d like to avoid a name too tied to her generation, if possible. I’m open to thoughts and suggestions.
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your new daughter!
Let’s begin with a few general thoughts:
- I’m so sorry you had a top name tarnished by a loved one’s comments! It’s possible you won’t be able to brush it off, but I do want to say this: when our parents (or aunts, grandmothers, other older relatives) dislike a name, it’s often a signal that we’re on the right track for OUR generation. This isn’t just me being disrespectful. It’s an honest acknowledgement that names are subject to trends. Stephanie, Lauren, Chelsea, and Jasmine were big in the late 1980s/early 90s, while Frances, Margot, and the other names on your list were stuck in style limbo. Today it’s the opposite. So if you’re asking 60-something relatives for input? Chances are they’d approve of a name like Erica, but balk at Hazel … even though Hazel would be the name that fits in today, and Erica the rarity.
- Whether or not Mae and Max are too close comes down to two factors: potential family size, and personal preference. Family size first: if you are confident that this child completes your family, then Max and Mae are close, but in a sweetly storybook way. On the other hand, if you can imagine adding a third child to your family in the future? You might not need another three-letter M name. But surely you’d feel far more pressure to match at least some aspect of your older children’s names. Max, Mae, and … Mel? Moe? Nel? While it’s rather unfair to ask parents to think about future children when they’re focused on their current pregnancy, the fact remains – Max and Mae are charming together, but naming a sibling for Max and Mae could prove challenging.
Let me suggest a few possible additions to your list:
ANNA, ANNABELLE, ANNABETH, ANTONIA, nn ANNIE
If Frannie is close, but not quite, could an Annie name work? This list is packed with Annie options, from the obvious – and fairly common – Anna – to some far less expected possibilities.
HARRIET, nn HATTIE
Lottie makes me think of Hattie. Hattie could be short for other names – I’ve always toyed with the idea of Catharine called Hattie – but Harriet is the original, and most traditional, source.
HELEN, nn NELLIE or NELL
Nell can be short for lots of name, including the very popular Eleanor. But if avoiding a too-common name matters, then perhaps Helen called Nellie or Nell is the perfect alternative?
MARGARET, nn MAISIE
I know, I know. What’s the possible difference? Maisie opens the door to two things: first, it’s longer. Max and Maisie are sweet together, but not so matched that they couldn’t have a future sibling called Arlo or Hattie or Jake. But secondly, you could still call her Mae as a nickname, without being locked in to Max and Mae. Oh, and it nudges just a little bit closer to Mamie, too!
Overall, I’m still stuck on Max and Frannie. I think it’s endlessly sweet, but with formal names that grow up nicely.
But if Frances feels like it’s off the table, I do think Mae is a tempting nickname – though Margaret/Maisie/Mae might be my choice, to create just a little bit of space between Max and his sister’s nickname. Unless, of course, you’re fairly confident that this child completes your family, in which I’d be all for leaning in to the similarities of Max + Mae.