Sunday Summary 3.26.17When I’m asked about the rules of baby naming, my brain always goes to the same place: use the name you love. Yes, even if it is in the Top Ten. Even if it is a non-conventional spelling, a boy name for a girl, or a really, really rare choice.

So why is it so difficult?

I’m just starting to really think this through, but here’s my initial list of reasons:

  • We worry about others will think. It’s easy to be dismissive of this. But when we’re naming a separate human being, I think the worry is valid, and comes from a place of kindness and love. So when our coworker calls our favorite name “weird,” we instantly imagine our future child on the playground, hearing another kid make the same accusation.
  • We don’t trust our instincts. This is true in so much of parenting! But when I was pregnant and a new parent, I often found it difficult to listen to my instincts.
  • We don’t know how to talk about style disagreements with our partners. This feels like a really big issue, right? And yet people who love each other disagree on style matters all the time. For some families, compromise names solve the problem. But in other cases, one parent ends up giving in to the other parent’s much stronger preferences. It’s an interesting dynamic, and it’s tough to address because, well, every couple is different.
  • We involve too many people in the decision. And yet, it’s often not helpful to tell people that they should ignore their loved ones. If you took your two sisters shopping for your wedding dress, why wouldn’t you text them about names?
  • We worry about imaginary rules. This one surprises me, and yet I get it. We think that we cannot possibly use a one-syllable first name with a short last name. Or that we need to stick with a family tradition. The list goes on and on, and it can be frustrating!
  • We don’t have any guidelines. On the other hand, it’s equally frustrating to select names based on what we just plain like. Because that can end up with a long list, and no real direction about how to get from a dozen maybe names to The One.

What else stops us from using our favorite names? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In other name related news:

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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