Sunday Summary 2.25.18Why do we think that compromise is a bad thing?

I’m not talking about current events – though I could be.

Nope, I’m just thinking about naming. We tend to hear “compromise” as “sacrifice” or “defeat.” But when it comes to naming children, compromise signals that we’re willing to consider other perspectives. That we can respect the wishes of our loved ones. That we acknowledge the impossibility of predicting the future, even as we prepare for the best possible one.

Compromise means seeing ourselves as part of a bigger story, rather than the star.

Actually, wait. I think I am talking about life in general.

Back to babies.

You’ll hear women laughingly say, “Hey, if he had to carry this baby for nine months, then he could choose the name.” I get it. I mean – I totally, swollen-ankles and sleepless-nights and crushing-postpartum-depression get it. Growing a little human is a big deal.

And yet, none of us intend to go it alone. We’re all part of our communities, and we all draw strength from our friends and loved ones. When there’s another parent in the picture, no question that person is absolutely vital to our child’s well-being.

So why wouldn’t we assume that choosing our child’s name is a shared project? And that, difficult as it can be, compromise can make for the best possible choice?

I’m curious: did you compromise when naming your child? Do you think it made for a better name? Or is naming one of those moments when you should dig in your heels?

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That’s all for now. As always, thanks 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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  1. My husband and I agreed on a boy’s name almost painlessly (he shot down my first choice, but loved my second, and after years of struggling to name animals with him, I was thrilled by how easy this was).

    And then it turned out we were having twins, a boy *and* a girl, so we had to go back to the drawing board.

    The problem isn’t just that I care more, although I do- if I cared more but he cared *some*, I would have been open to compromise. It’s that he isn’t willing to do *any* of the work of naming- he comes up with no ideas, he only shuts down mine. He came up with two girl suggestions total in all the months we discussed it- and they were my own first and middle names. Flattering, but I did not want a baby named after me.

    I have a favorite girl’s name that I had loved since I was little, that is also a family name, that has about half a dozen nicknames in different styles, and that goes well with the boy name we had already settled on. After he had shot down all of my top ten girl suggestions, including that one, but had contributed nothing other than “What about [My First] or [My Middle]?” I told him “Look, I”m willing to revisit this conversation if you come up with a name (other than my own first and middle names, which are off the table for me) that you actively like, but I’m not going to spend any more mental or emotional energy trying to find a name I like more than this one on my own because there isn’t one; I’ve been thinking about this for a quarter of a century and this is the one I like best. If you come up with an alternative, we can discuss it, but until then, I’m working under the assumption that our daughter will be a [Favorite Name]. Let me know if you come up with any other ideas.”

    Two weeks later he said “I’ve been thinking about it and [Favorite Name] is growing on me.”

    She’s a [Favorite Name].

    I think a lot of non-name-obsessed people really mostly like what they’re already familiar with, and my husband is an extreme case of that. I’m glad I didn’t compromise my way out of the name I’ve always loved and that has so much personal meaning when it was really just a matter of him needing to warm up to the idea of ANY name that wasn’t already a part of his daily life.

    1. Emmy- I’m glad you got to keep the name that meant so much to you!! I never had just one name that meant that much to me, (I usually have a long list of favorite names) so I never felt I needed to put my foot down. I wish I did have that one special name in mind bc maybe choosing a name would have been a tad easier… or maybe not. 😉 It sounds like the compromise here may have been your hubby letting go of your name(s) as an option and then realizing your favorite was good for him too. Btw- My hubby loves to suggest familiar names too (sigh)… What can I say, he’s just not into names as much as I am. We did compromise on our kids names, but as I read your post I thought he (my hubby) would have come around on a name if I had one that meant that much to me, that I was decisively sure was THE name…
      Naming is truly something that should come more from the heart than the head, so it’s great you found one that has so much personal significance to you for your daughter- it makes it that much more special.
      Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I totally needed to read this today Abby! After following your blog for almost 7 years (alone, my husband does not read name blogs) I never really considered the compromise. Don’t I get to have the last say because I care more?

    But it’s happening! Baby boy is due in May and my husband is on board with my favorite boy name for the first name (which I’m counting as a win!) but I am *compromising* on the middle name and more importantly the spelling of it so that my husband can use the spelling of the namesake that made him like the name. (MN will be Alister after Alister McKenzie the famous golf course designer). As a Caitlin who has taken pride in my name’s “original” spelling – whatever that means – I’m having a hard time with Alister when there are so many other, prettier, spelling choices but he is adamant that the -er spelling stays. Thank you for pointing out that my non-name-nerd husband’s wishes are important and valid and that it’s an act of love to embrace the compromise!

  3. Totally “compromised” on all 5 of my kids names! My husband and I have somewhat different tastes in names, and for the most part we never had an “ah-ha!” name moment at the exact same time… I love names in general so my list is long, haha, and I like names from nature to word, classic to new- so often I would mention a name to my hubby and he would say something like “huh I’ve never heard that before”or “that’s interesting”… and by the time he would be on board with that name, I would have moved on to another name. Often I felt like I was waiting for lightning to strike at the same moment for both of us. Then there are the times I would have the baby and at first want to name it something, he would not be feeling that name at all, so we would delve into our list and find one or two that we both loved and that was how we narrowed it down to our ultimate choice. It means a lot to us that we both like the baby’s name. Did I feel like I gave up on a name that I loved from time to time? Yes. Did I grow to love the names we chose together as much if not more? Yes!! And in some cases I am so grateful that my initial gut reaction names were not the ones we chose, because someone else later chose it, or I can’t even see the name on that child anymore at all!!
    Compromise is good and says- we did this together, two different people found a common love and gave that piece of both of us in our choice for a name.
    I totally understand putting your foot down and the argument “I carried this baby, I’m naming it”. For us compromise was the deciding factor, and it has worked out every time. 😉

  4. I have obsessed about names for a long time so when it came to us having our two my Husband decided to let me have the ultimate choice (within reason of course! ) I’ve always gravitated towards names with great meaning and history, Endless Nickname possibilities and characters my children can grow up loving for themselves.