Swistle quoteEvery expectant parent needs to hear this Swistle quote.

If your mom dislikes your baby names, that is completely normal. We should expect our parents to find the names we love less than appealing.

I was eleven when my youngest sibling was born, and so I vividly remember my parents’ discussion of baby naming. Maybe they encouraged us to be involved because it seemed like the thing to do; maybe I inserted myself in the process because I was name-obsessed even then.

But what stands out is this: many years later, they were using the same 1970s-era book they’d used when they were expecting me. And many of the names that surfaced in those discussions in 1984 remain on my mom’s favorites list as her children have children, three decades later.

So even though my mom has been incredibly excited for every grandchild and endlessly helpful on their arrivals, when it comes to names? She’s usually not on board.

Why does our taste in names get so stuck in a particular era? We trade out our avocado appliances and our faux wood-grain television cabinets. Few of us keep the same hairstyles decade to decade. Clothing changes. But somehow names are often exempt.

Maybe it’s because we perceive them as exempt from style trends – though that’s obviously untrue.

Tell me: has your naming style changed over the years? If your children are old enough to have favorite names of their own, do they surprise you?

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That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a fantastic 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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What do you think?


  1. My friend and I have discussed this and came to the conclusion that Scout is the perfect sibling name for Boomer, especially for a little girl. Scout and Boomer!! Scout Phelps!

    1. And if there was a third I think Buddy would work, for a boy. Buddy Phelps. But I wouldn’t like it for a second, because (To ME anyway), Boomer and Buddy sounds a bit much. But Boomer, Scout, and Buddy Phelps isn’t bad. (Scout is still my #1 for them.)

  2. My oldest teenager recently told me that although she loves her name, if she HAD to change it, she would pick Meryl.

    My first thought was, “Meryl? Like Streep?! How old-fashioned!”

    Then I laughed aloud at myself and told her she would be an excellent namer.

    Yes, styles change a LOT. I had begged my husband to name that daughter Agnes, but he said it was too “old”. Now? He admits it would have been totally cool. *Laughing*

    My goal is to not be “that non-understanding Nana” when my kids are naming my darling grandchildren. (To be fair, they’ve all been taught that naming out of the Top 10 is no bueno in this family).

  3. My family is actually pretty good when it comes to naming babies. Our policy is don’t ask don’t tell. We never ask or expect anyone who is pregnant to discuss baby names with the rest of the family, if anyone wants to throw around a few names we only point out technical issues like what the initials might stand for or that in our area it isn’t commonly pronounced how they expect. But if you can tell the parents really love it or are seriously considering it you never ever venture a negative opinion. When the baby is born the name is announced and we all decide to like the name. It’s much easier when it belongs to a real person, and that’s that. I think my great grandma is the person who always enforced this approach and it stuck. We’ve had a lot of kids born into the family who had names that were kinda unusual at the time but boomed 5 -10 years later.

  4. Some names I love and my mum thinks are weird:
    Pamona, Paloma
    And one of my favourites for a boy, Allegro-would love to see this as a name of the day