When I was younger, this involved flipping through my mom’s (single) baking-focused cookbook.
Today, that same process could easily take hours. Longer! Google, Pinterest, Insta, searching through the archives of sites I love. And then there are more questions: can I get lemon pie filling/Butterfinger bits/almond extract at my usual grocery store, or will it require a special trip?
And friends, this is for a cookie.
Naming a child is a Big Life Decision.
No wonder the search can consume us.
If it’s a joyful process of discovery, then that’s wonderful! Scrolling baby name websites can be a welcome diversion from Everything Else That Is Always Happening.
But when it turns into more of the Altogether Too Much?
It’s time to embrace Critical Ignoring.
This works for life in general. But when it comes to naming, know that you do NOT have to consider every possible name ever in order to know that your child has been welcomed into the world with love.
Attention is a finite resource.
It’s perfectly reasonable to say, “Okay, we want a fairly mainstream, traditional name that isn’t shared by anyone in our immediate family/friends circle, sounds good with our last name, and isn’t hard to spell or pronounce.”
That’s still a DEEP pool with lots of names to consider. But it’s a solid start, too, because it means you can focus on looking at the current US Top 500, while (probably) ignoring more modern names like Oakley and Ryker, or antique picks like Dolores and Albert.
And if you settle on Simon for a boy, Fiona for a girl? Then it’s time to deliberately ignore anyone telling you that Simon is a chipmunk and Fiona is an ogre.
Did choosing your child’s name mean ignoring lots of well-meaning (or not-so-kind and thoughtful) advice?
Now, Next, Future lists fascinate me. Love this one from British Baby Names for boys. It’s always interesting to see which names haven’t quite arrived in England, but are already well-established here. (Nolan, River, Zion leap out at me.) Or which names are definitely “now” there, but haven’t arrived here yet – and maybe never will. (Though I am ready for Wilfred, Kit, and Hugo to make their mark state-side!)
BabyCenter released their Top 100 names of 2022. While this list is based on user data, not actual registered births, it’s often a bellwether for what parents really are naming their children. Check out Luna in the girls’ Top Ten, and River in the boys’ Top 100. I suspect both will be realities when we see the official US data in May 2023.
Wait, why are Skyla Storm and Scotland Rain considered horrible names? I mean … they’re not going to be everyone’s taste – no name ever is. And I’ll grant that they’re a little meteorological. But I’d say they’re pretty normal names for children born circa 2022.
I’m lowkey obsessed with Ballerina Farm, but somehow I forgot to mention that they welcomed baby seven and named her … Mabel! Mabel joins Henry, Charles, George, Frances, Lois, and Martha. It’s also one of the names on my list of Best Girl Names for 2023. It’s been on the verge for a while, but I think this could be Mabel’s year …
I’m dying laughing over this one …
My sister always said she was going to name her baby Cindy Lou Who, right up until she had a baby girl on Christmas morning. It’s like the universe went out of its way to call her bluff. 😂
— Ned Trevean (@NedTrevean) November 30, 2022
We practiced critical ignoring when naming our daughter. We made the decision to stick to Behind the Name as the only list we would consult. It worked out great and made the process a lot smoother than it might have been.
Mabel is also the name of Selena Gomez’s character on Only Murders in the Building. That might give it a boost!